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Series Preview: Houston Astros vs. Oakland Athletics, September 18-20, 2015

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Astros hope to pull themselves out of the fire and back into the win column against the Athletics.

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Series Preview: Houston Astros vs. Oakland Athletics, September 18-20, 2015

Well, last few weeks sucked. Plain and simple, everything sucked. The Astros hope to get back on track against the Athletics. Oakland is currently occupying last place in the American League West, 16.5 games behind the division-leading Rangers (it hurts to write that).

The A's are playing for pride, while the Astros still have chance at the division crown and currently hold the second Wild Card spot. Oakland is 5-5 in their last 10 games, 30-42 on the road, and 8-8 against the Astros this season.

Houston at home has a 48-24 (.667) record, the best winning percentage of any American League team, trailing only the Dodgers (.690), Cardinals (.676) -- they are tied with the Pirates.

If the Astros have any chance of catching the Rangers, it has to start right, right now. They have to take care of business against a team that has nothing to play except pride.

Pitchers

Friday: RHP Mike Fiers (7-10, 3.67 ERA, 1.28 WHIP) vs. LHP Felix Doubront (3-2, 4.99 ERA, 1.53 WHIP)
Saturday: LHP Scott Kazmir (7-10, 2.63 ERA, 1.13 WHIP) vs. RHP Sonny Gray (13-7, 2.56 ERA, 1.05 WHIP) 
Sunday: RHP Collin McHugh (16-7, 4.05 ERA, 1.31 WHIP) vs. RHP Aaron Brooks (2-3, 7.68 ERA, 1.63 WHIP)

The Astros pitching has had a rough month of September -- pretty much every did for the Astros but the pitching was rough. Mike Fiers is 0-1 with 5.25 ERA in two starts this month. He gave up four runs over five inning against Oakland on Sept. 7. Felix Doubront has given up 15 runs over his last three starts (16 IP), including four runs over six inning against the Astros on Sept. 7.

Scott Kazmir again faces Sonny Gray in game like they did last time around on Sept. 8. Last time Kazmir was outdueled by gray, giving up four runs over six innings. Gray pitched seven scoreless innings that game. In their most recent outings, Gray gave up seven runs over three innings against the White Sox. Kazmir allowed two earned runs over seven innings in Arlington.

To complete the same pitching matchup as Sept. 7-9, Collin Mchugh faces Aaron Brooks. McHugh gave up five runs over 5 1/3 inning in Oakland, and Brooks gave up five over four innings. In their most recent outings, Brooks gave up six runs over six innings against Chicago. McHugh allowed four runs in the first innings, lasting only 3 2/3 innings.

Batting

For what it's worth, Christ Carter is 3-for-9 in his last three games with two RBIs. Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa, and Colby Rasmus round out the players batting over .300 in their last seven games. Altuve has 5 extra bats hits in his last 29 at-bats.

Eric Sogard, professional Astros killer, is batting .333 in his last 12-at-bats with a triple and two RBIs. Josh Reddick and Brett Lawrie are batting .296 (8x27) and .292 (7x24) respectively -- with seven combined extra-bats hits in the team's last seven games. Billy Butler has nine RBIs in his last 29 at-bats.

Prediction

The Astros get back on the horse, and take two of three from the A's. Not helpful for the division crown but helps hold the Wild Card lead.

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