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Game Recap: A’s Whip Devo. Another Bullpen Meltdown, Astros lose 6-4

Red Hot A’s take 3 of 4 from Astros at home.

MLB: Oakland Athletics at Houston Astros
A’s take the Series at Minute Maid against the Astros 3-1
Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports

The Oakland A’s are a team that should not be taken lightly. Offensively they battle on every pitch and wear a pitcher down. Then they strike like a snake and their bullpen squeezes you tight.

Charlie Morton had his good stuff today, and after four innings the A’s only had two hits. And yet, as he started the fifth inning, his pitch count was already near 90, and then the A’s struck. Getting four hits and three runs in the fifth, they knocked Morton out at 104 pitches before he could even close the fifth inning, and exposed what has been for the last week or so the soft underbelly of the Astros.

Morton gave the ball to Collin McHugh who put out the flames, and preserved the tenuous 4-3 lead he inherited. For a while.

The Astros had gotten their lead on an Alex Bregman two run double in the third, and a highly improbable 334 foot two run opposite field home run by Tony Kemp in the fourth.

But after McHugh le deluge.

Tonight a new bullpen culprit. Normally redoubtable Chris Devenski, the Dragon, who came into today’s game with a 1.73 ERA and a 2.88 FIP, was sent into the eighth inning to set up the save. He has had recent difficulties. In his last three appearances before today he had surrendered two runs, with a 7.71 ERA.

Today he gave up a single to Khris Davis, followed by a single to Matt Olson, followed by an RBI double to Matt Chapman which tied the score. Following a line drive fly out by Chad Pinder to Josh Reddick, the killer strike was a Mark Canha two run single into the left field corner, giving the A’s the 6-4 lead that would stand as the final score.

After the game Devenski’s ERA rose to 2.45. It was his second loss and third blown save of the year.

The A’s relief constrictors did the rest, allowing only one Astros hit after the Kemp home run. Ryan Buchter got the hold with a perfect eighth inning, and Lou Trivino shut down the Astros in the ninth, getting his fourth save. The A’s didn’t even need their ace all star closer, Blake Treinen.

No doubt the A’s leave Houston feeling pretty good about themselves. They have now won 13 of their last 16 games, and 19 of their last 24, and if not for one extremely lucky play in game two of this series, they may have swept the World Champions. Are they the Astros, circa 2015, peaking a little ahead of schedule? Definitely a team to watch.

Tomorrow the Astros confront the AL Central third place Detroit Tigers at Minute Maid Park. Dallas Keuchel, (6-8, 3.95 ERA) faces our old friend Mike Fiers (6-5 3.65 ERA). Good to see Mike having a good season. Just not tomorrow. Game time 7:10 CDT.

Box score and videos here.


Are the A’s for real?

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  • 63%
    Yes, they are the 2015 Astros
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  • 36%
    No, they are just on a streak and caught the Astros flat.
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