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Series Preview: Houston Astros at Oakland Athletics, August 6-9, 2015

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How the tables have turned

Bob Stanton-USA TODAY Sports

Series Preview: Houston Astros at Oakland Athletics, August 6-9, 2015

How the tables have turns for these two teams. The A's have been at the top of the American League West for the past few seasons and even looked like the best team in baseball at one time last year. Now they are sellers and 12 games out of first place in the West.

On the other side, the upstart Astros took to pieces from the A's success the past few seasons and added them to their roster -- Jed Lowrie and Scott Kazmir. For this season, the A's and Astros are joined at the hip in a way with the Scott Kazmir trade. The Astros got the Houston-native in return for the Jacob Nottingham and Daniel Mengden.

Houston needs to find a way to end it's slide on the road as they have lost 11 of their last 12 away from Minute Maid. The Astros have been swept four times in its last 10 road series.The A's are 4-6 in their last 10 games, and 3-4 in this current homestand. The Astros are 6-3 thus far in 2015 against the A's.

Pitchers

Thursday: RHP Scott Feldman (4-5, 4.58 ERA, 1.33 WHIP) vs. RHP Aaron Brooks (1-0, 3.09 ERA, 0.94 WHIP)
Friday: LHP Dallas Keuchel (13-5, 2.35 ERA, 0.99 WHIP) vs. RHP Sonny Gray (11-4, 2.12 ERA, 0.98 WHIP)
Saturday: RHP Collin McHugh (13-5, 4.27 ERA, 1.32 WHIP) vs. RHP Jesse Chavez (5-11, 3.88 ERA, 1.31 WHIP)
Sunday: RHP Mike Fiers (5-9, 4.17 ERA, 1.38 WHIP) vs. RHP Chris Bassitt (1-4, 2.64 ERA, 1.09 WHIP)

Scott Feldman is 0-1 with 3.86 ERA in his three starts since returning from the disabled list with one quality start. He is 2-6 with a 7.20 ERA in 14 career apperances at O.co stadium. Starting for the A's is former Rockets guard Aaron Brooks, only kidding. Brooks is piece in the Ben Zobrist trade with the Royals. He allowed just one run over 7 1/3 innings in his first start with the A's.

Game two features arguably the best pitching match up in the American League, Keuchel vs. Gray. Both are in the top five across the board in pitching stats this season. Keuchel is 3-5 with a 3.66 ERA on the road. Gray is 3-3 with a 2.69 ERA in starts at home.

Collin McHugh appeared to have found his magic again against the Diamondbacks in his last start -- allowing just one run over seven inning on August 2. His breaking pitches were devastating as they were in 2014 in that start. Jesse Chavez struggled mightily in his last start, giving up six earned runs in 3 2/3 innings against the Orioles on Monday.

Mike Fiers makes his first 'real' start for the Astros on Sunday after making an emergency appearance for Lance McCullers who couldn't get out of the first inning in Arlington. Chris Bassitt picked up his first career win on Tuesday, pitching seven scoreless inning against the O's.

Hitting

The Astros come into this series struggling mightily at the plate, going 6-for-27 with runners in scoring position in Arlington. Marwin Gonzalez, Preston Tucker, Luis Valbuena are all batting over .300 with 13-plus at-bats in last six games.

Marcus Semien is batting .250 with two home runs and six RBIs in his last seven games.

Prediction

Astros split the series, and improvement on their recent road record.

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