Houston Astros (70-62) vs. Oakland Athletics (57-75), August 31, 2016, 1:10 PM CT
Radio: KBME 790 AM, La Nueva 94.1 FM
Athletics SBNation Blog: Athletics Nation
RHP Mike Fiers (9-6, 4.40 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 4.19 xFIP) vs. LHP Ross Detwiler (1-3, 5.74 ERA, 1.58 WHIP, 5.01 xFIP)
And so it begins. The Astros enter their final 30 games of the 2016 season as September looms just one day away. After taking 2 of 3 against the Rays and winning the first 2 against Oakland, the Astros send Mike Fiers to the mound in hopes of completing a series sweep and going 5-1 on the home stand.
Fiers began the home stand this past Friday, giving up 3 ER over 6.1 IP against the Rays in a game that ended in dramatic walk-off fashion with back-to-back homers.
While he didn't give up any home runs in that game, the long ball has been an issue for Fiers this year (1.49 HR/9). Fiers has made 2 starts against Oakland this season, but this will be his first start against them at MMP. His first start came on 4/29 and he had great results (7 IP, 2 ER). His second start against Oakland was on 7/18 and was not so great (3.2 IP, 6 ER).
Ross Detwiler gets the start for Oakland, in what will be his 5th start this season. Detwiler is a veteran who has bounced back and forth between the minors and majors, and between the bullpen and starting rotation throughout his career. He began the season in Cleveland's bullpen, but only appeared in the Majors in April. After being traded to Oakland in July, he has made 4 starts in August for the A's. He threw 8 scoreless innings against Baltimore in his first start with Oakland, but it's been all downhill since then.
The Astros will look to end the home stand on a high note as they head into a day off tomorrow, followed by a pretty daunting 13-game stretch against division leaders (Rangers, Indians, Cubs, and Rangers again). A win today would put the Astros at 9 games over .500 (71-62) and guarantee that they remain within 3 games of the top AL Wild Card spot and 2 games of the second spot.