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2022 Series Preview: Oakland Athletics @ Houston Astros

The Astros (72-41, 1st in AL West) will try to play better baseball against the A’s (41-71, 5th in AL West), who took five of their last six matchups.

MLB: Houston Astros at Oakland Athletics D. Ross Cameron-USA TODAY Sports

The Narrative

The worst team in the American League is set to visit the Astros at Minute Maid Park. With a 41-71 record (.366), the Athletics and the Astros face one another in a three-game series. Oakland has lost five games in a row while Houston is 5-5 in August, but it’s still comfortably heading to the postseason.

Surprisingly, the A’s won five of their last six games against the ‘Stros after dropping also five of their first six contests in 2022. But still, their present is just horrendous: they’re ranked 15th in the American League in attendance (barely above 500 thousand per game), just trade one of their best pitchers (Frankie Montas to Yankees), and are in a rebuilding process after shipping out several of their veterans in recent months (Montas, Matt Chapman, Matt Olson, Sean Manaea, Lou Trivino, among others).

This series will mark the 2022 well-awaited debut of Lance McCullers Jr. after his rehab program in the Minors. Lance is slated to start the second game of the series, right after Luis García gets the series opener and before Cristian Javier for the third contest. The 28-year-old has a 6-3, 3.55 lifetime record against Oakland in 12 career starts.

This three-game matchup also represents a collision of extremes. While the A’s have the second-worst OPS of the Majors (.620) and are one of the seven MLB clubs that have yet to reach 100 home runs, the Astros rank third in four-baggers (156) in the Bigs and are third in OPS (.738) in the American League.

Last 10 Games: 2-8 Record, 1 Series Won, 3 Series Lost, -15 Run Differential (27 scored, 42 allowed)

W/L Splits: 17-38 at Home, 24-33 on the Road, 22-41 against teams over .500

Injured List

The Offense

Even though the Athletics are navigating through a rough patch, their offense has been slightly better in the second half, featuring an OPS that’s 102-point higher (.705) than in the first half (.603). Besides, they’ve been also a bit more productive on the road: .592 OPS at home against a .646 OPS playing away.

Except for Seth Brown, finding a hot hitter in the A’s roster can be tough. The first baseman Brown is 11-for-32 (.344) with a double, five home runs, seven RBI’s, seven walks, and a 1.306 over his last 10 games. If the Astros want to reduce their opponents’ chances in this series, they better hold Brown off.

Regarding Houston, José Altuve, Alex Bregman, Aledmys Díaz, and Martín Maldonado (yes, you just read Maldonado) are the hottest hitters in the last two weeks.

The Bullpen

The success in A’s bullpen is based on four relievers: Righties Domingo Acevedo and Zach Jackson plus lefties AJ Puk and Sam Moll. Those four men have combined for 176.2 relief innings and a 2.60 ERA, along with 192 strikeouts.

Oakland has relied on Dany Jiménez to be its closer, but he’s struggled with his control with a 5.0 BB/9 ratio. He’s good at avoiding home runs as the 28-year-old has only surrendered only one long ball in 28 2/3 innings. The Dominican-born is carrying a good streak of 6 2/3 innings without an earned run, a period in which he’s struck out 10 hitters.

On the other side, the Astros bullpen ranks first in opponent batting average (.205), ERA (2.78), and third in WHIP (1.13) in the Major Leagues.

The Starters

Game 1: Adam Oller (RHP, 1-5, 7.63 ERA, 29 K’s) vs Luis García (RHP, 8-8, 3.93 ERA, 117 K’s)

In his rookie season, Oller keeps getting chances to start despite being smashed by the opposition. As a starter, the 27-year-old carries an 8.66 ERA over 35 1/3 innings with 12 home runs allowed and 17 bases on balls. García will try to vindicate himself after three rough outings and a 5.30 ERA since July 26.

Game 2: TBD (—) vs Lance McCullers Jr. (RHP, 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 0 K)

After a long rehab, McCullers Jr. is ready to help the Astros with his 2022 debut. Lance did not look sharp in his rehab assignment, but feels a hundred percent to come back to action and give the Astros the flexibility of a six-man rotation that will give some rest to the other starters. This will be an ideal opponent to make his first appearance of 2022.

Game 3: Cole Irvin (LHP, 6-9, 2.92 ERA, 84 K’s) vs Cristian Javier (RHP, 6-8, 3.14 ERA, 132 K’s)

Irvin’s been the best starter for Oakland this year. Despite lacking strikeouts, he’s figured things out to put up a 2.92 ERA and a 3.84 FIP across 20 starts and 123 1/3 innings. Regarding Javier, the Dominican righty has a 1.88 ERA in 48 innings and seven starts since July 4.

For Your Viewing and Listening Pleasure

Game 1: Friday, August 12th @ 7:10 pm CDT

Listen: Athletics – A’s Cast, Bloomberg 960 AM // Astros – KBME 790 AM/94.5 FM HD-2, KTRH 740 AM/99.1 FM HD-2, TUDN 93.3 / KLAT 1010

Watch: Athletics – NBCSCA // Astros – ATT SportsNet-SW

Game 2: Saturday, August 13th @ 6:10 pm CDT

Listen: Athletics – A’s Cast, Bloomberg 960 AM // Astros – KBME 790 AM/94.5 FM HD-2, KTRH 740 AM/99.1 FM HD-2, TUDN 93.3 / KLAT 1010

Watch: Athletics – NBCSCA // Astros – ATT SportsNet-SW

Game 3: Sunday, August 14th @ 1:10 pm CDT

Listen: Athletics – A’s Cast, Bloomberg 960 AM // Astros – KBME 790 AM/94.5 FM HD-2, TUDN 93.3 / KLAT 1010

Watch: Athletics – NBCSCA // Astros – ATT SportsNet-SW


Who wins this series?

This poll is closed

  • 38%
    Astros Sweep 3-0
    (15 votes)
  • 43%
    Astros Win 2-1
    (17 votes)
  • 2%
    Split Series
    (1 vote)
  • 5%
    Athletics Win 2-1
    (2 votes)
  • 10%
    Athletics Sweep 3-0
    (4 votes)
39 votes total Vote Now