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Game 42 Thread. May 18, 2021, 8:40 CDT. Astros @ A’s

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The winner of this series will wind up in first place in the AL West.

MLB: Texas Rangers at Houston Astros
Houston Astros left fielder Yordan Alvarez (44) sits with his daughter Mia after defeating the Texas Rangers at Minute Maid Park.
Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

The Astros started the season in Oakland with a four-game sweep and come back to Oakland tonight for three more in a series that will determine first place in the AL West.

The Astros come into the game near the top in MLB in hitting, second only to the White Sox with a 118 wRC+. The A’s are middling in hitting at 103. (100 is normally average).

The best hitters on the A’s so far this season are Matt Olson and Mark Canha, with the A’s superstar, Matt Olson, having a subpar year so far, hitting only .715 OPS.

And even though the A’s lead the Astros in the standings by one-half game, their team ERA, like team wRC+, trails that of Houston, 3.78 to 4.11.

Their best starting pitcher this year has been Cole Irvin, (ERA 3.02) whom the Astros shall see Thursday. Tonight it’s Sean Manaea (ERA 4.40) and tomorrow Frankie Montas (ERA 4.93)

The Astros counter with Cristian Javier tonight, (3.08 ERA) Zack Greinke tomorrow, (4.18 ERA), and Luis Garcia Thursday afternoon. (3.34 ERA). The Oakland bullpen has a slight edge over Houston’s with a team ERA of 3.75, compared to the Astros’ 18th ranked (MLB) 4.01.

Here’s the lineups.