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Game No. 86 Preview: Houston Astros vs. Oakland Athletics

Astros face the Athletics in the first of a four-game series to close out the first half of the season.

Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Houston Astros (46-39) vs. Oakland Athletics (43-41), July 7, 2016, 7:10 PM CDT

TV: Root Sports SW
Online: MLB.TV
Radio: KBME SportsTalk 790 AM, La Nueva 94.1 FM (En Español) 
Athletics SB Nation Blog: Athletics Nation

Pitching Matchup

RHP Doug Fister (8-5, 3.66 ERA, 1.28 WHIP) vs. LHP Rich Hill (8-3, 2.31 ERA, 1.11 WHIP)

Preview

The Astros and Athletics are two teams heading in opposite directions. The Astros have clawed their way back into the Wild Card race and A.L. West standing with solid pitching and timely hitting. The Athletics have had a losing record month after month since posting a winning record in April (13-12) -- the A's have started July out with a 1-5 record.

The Astros hope to take game one with Doug Fister on the mound. Fister has been arguably the best pitcher on staff in 2016. He was 4-1 with a 2.45 ERA in five June starts. But he is coming off a start against t the White Sox on July 2 in which he looked averaged -- he allowed five runs on nine hits over 4 2/3 innings. Chicago worked the count against Fister, it will be interesting to see what happens in the follow-up start and see Fister's adjustments.

Fister is 7-6 with a 3.17 ERA in 15 career start against the A's. Current A's are batting .295 (44x149) against Fister with a .328 BABIP, 3.09 FIP, 11.9 K%, and a 4.4 BB%.

OAKLAND ATHLETICS CAREER STATISTICS VS. DOUG FISTER
BATTER AB H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO AVG OBP SLG OPS
Yonder Alonso 5 2 1 0 0 0 1 0 0.400 0.500 0.600 1.100
Billy Burns 6 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000
Billy Butler 37 11 0 0 0 5 2 4 0.297 0.317 0.297 0.614
Coco Crisp 20 7 0 2 0 1 0 2 0.350 0.350 0.550 0.900
Khris Davis 7 3 0 0 0 0 0 1 0.429 0.429 0.429 0.857
Sam Fuld 9 4 1 0 0 0 1 2 0.444 0.500 0.556 1.056
Jed Lowrie 21 6 3 0 0 0 0 2 0.286 0.286 0.429 0.714
Josh Phegley 6 1 0 0 0 1 0 2 0.167 0.167 0.167 0.333
Josh Reddick 11 3 0 0 0 1 0 2 0.273 0.273 0.273 0.545
Marcus Semien 4 1 0 0 0 1 1 0 0.250 0.400 0.250 0.650
Jake Smolinski 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000
Eric Sogard 10 3 0 0 0 3 0 3 0.300 0.300 0.300 0.600
Danny Valencia 10 1 0 0 0 0 0 3 0.100 0.182 0.100 0.282
Stephen Vogt 5 1 1 0 0 0 1 0 0.200 0.333 0.400 0.733

Rich Hill was stretched from an earlier start against Houston with a groin strain. He returned from the disabled list to make a start on July 2, he allowed two earned runs on four hits over six innings in a no-decision against the Pirates. He allowed just two runs on two hits over six innings in one start against Houston on May 1.

Hill is 2-1 with a 2.88 ERA in nine appearances (five starts) against Houston in his career. Current Astros are batting .158 (3x19) against Hill with a .133 BABIP, 7.12 FIP, 15.4 K%, and a 19.2 BB%.

HOUSTON ASTROS CAREER STATISTICS VS. RICH HILL
BATTER AB H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO AVG OBP SLG OPS
Jose Altuve 2 1 0 0 1 1 1 1 0.500 0.667 2.000 2.667
Jason Castro 4 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.500 0.500 0.500 1.000
Carlos Correa 1 0 0 0 0 0 2 1 0.000 0.667 0.000 0.667
Evan Gattis 2 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 0.000 0.333 0.000 0.333
Carlos Gomez 3 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 0.333 0.333 0.333 0.667
Marwin Gonzalez 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.000 0.500 0.000 0.500
Jake Marisnick 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000
Colby Rasmus 5 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 0.000 0.143 0.000 0.143
Jon Singleton 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0.000 1.000 0.000 1.000
George Springer 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000
Preston Tucker 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000
Tyler White 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000