Series Preview: Houston Astros (25-13) vs. Oakland Athletics (13-26), May 18-20, 2015
The Astros are rolling again, winners of five-straight. They pulled off the rare four-game sweep, even rarer against the high power Blue Jays offense. The Astros welcome prospect Lance McCullers to the show today as the Houston farm system begins to bear fruit.
The Athletics on the other hand won just one game their last ten. The tail spin has begun and the question if Oakland is a seller at the deadline.
Previous Season Results
The Astros lost the first two games they played against A's to start the season, in their third series of 2015. The Astros were outscored 12-1 in that series. Houston won 6-1 over Oakland on Jackie Robinson Day. The second series came amid the Astros' 10-game winning streak. Game one was resolved in extra innings, game was a blow out, and game three Evan Gattis ripped a double to the Astros in the lead in the ninth inning.
Game 1: RHP Lance McCullers, Jr. (0-0, 0.00 ERA, 0.00 WHIP) vs. LHP Drew Pomeranz (2-3, 4.42 ERA, 1.22 WHIP)
Game 2: RHP Roberto Hernandez (1-3, 4.12 ERA, 1.21 WHIP) vs. RHP Sonny Gray (4-1, 1.61 ERA, 0.93 WHIP)
Game 3: LHP Dallas Keuchel (5-0, 1.87 ERA, 0.95 WHIP) vs. RHP Jesse Hahn (1-3, 4.42 ERA, 1.27 WHIP)
It's Lance McCullers Day in Houston. McCullers was the Astros' second first-round pick in the 2012 June Amateur Draft, 41st overall. With the Hooks this season, McCullers was 3-1 with a 0.62 ERA in 29 IP. He had 43 strikeouts and just 11 walks during that stretch.
Drew Pomeranz is coming off his second-best performance of the season, holding the Red Sox to two runs (one earned) over seven innings. Pomeranz is already making his third start against the Astros this young season, he is 0-1 with a 6.30 ERA in 10 IP. In his second start of the season, Pomeranz allowed four runs over five innings on April 15 in Houston.
Roberto Hernandez has pitched through six innings in six-straight starts. That someone thing I would have never guessed Hernandez would have been able to do it any point this season. Hernandez allowed four runs over 6 1/3 innings against the Blue Jays in his last start. He has some how missed the A's this season in his first seven starts of the season. Hernandez is 5-7 with 4.84 ERA in 14 career appearances against the A's.
Sonny Gray picked up his first loss of the season, but even that was impressive like the rest of his 2015 campaign. Gray gave up just one run over seven inning on three hits against Boston, in his first loss. Gray comes into his start on Tuesday with five-straight quality starts under his belt. He has allowed only one run or less in six of eight starts. Gray is 2-1 with 2.05 ERA in three career starts against Houston.
Dallas Keuchel has been unworldly this season with a 0.73 ERA in April. The beard has come back down to earth, he has given up four runs each of his last two start. But he has won both starts. Keuchel pitched a nine innings of scoreless baseball against the A's on April 24, Houston won that game in extra innings. Keuchel is 14-13 with a 3.52 ERA in 44 games at Minute Maid Park.
Jesse Hahn started the season strong with a 2.86 ERA in four starts in April. In May, he has given up 12 earned runs over 16 2/3 innings. This is Hahn's first start against the Astros.
Preston Tucker has had a strong start to his major league career, going 6-for-11 with four doubles in his last three games. Luis Valbuena has three home runs in his last six games. Jake Marisnick has struggled since short stint on the bench for rest. He is batting .152 in his last 13 games.
Billy Butler, Marcus Semien, and Josh Reddick lead the way for the Athletics' offense - all three are batting over .333 in the team's last six games. Reddick has six RBIs during that same stretch. Coco Crisp is struggling in his return from the disabled list, batting .080 in his last 25 at-bats.
The Astros take two out of three from the A's, including McCullers' first career start.