The following Game preview was written by our new contributor, Simon Harris, who is an Astros fan living in the San Francisco Bay area. We also look forward to his Game Recap Sunday from Oakland Coliseum and future contributions as well.
Astros fans have been in a near panic lately following back-to-back shutouts at the hands of the Milwaukee Brewers, but the Oakland As should provide the perfect tonic for a team in a mini-offensive slump. Dusty Baker returns to the bay area with his defending champions for a 3-game set, having swept the A’s a week ago at Minute Maid Park.
The aging Coliseum, a source of embarrassment to the league with its feral cats, possums, bad plumbing, and dwindling crowds, will be more like the friendly confines for an Astros team searching for offense. Oakland has the worst pitching in baseball by a mile! The team has a staff ERA of 6.95 and has given up a whopping 364 runs. Pitching is a major reason the club has a historically bad win percentage of .196 at 10-42. And Oakland just sent opening-day starter Kyle Muller down to AAA Las Vegas.
All of this should have the Astros’ scuffling hitters salivating, including Jose Altuve, who Houston hopes to have returned for the start of this series today. However, it is worth noting that while Oakland gives up almost 7 runs a game, the signs of Houston’s offensive struggles were evident a week ago, when they scored 5, 3, and 2 runs while sweeping Oakland.
The Athletics will send James Kaprielian (0-4, 8.68 ERA) to the mound in game 1. The Astros counter with Hunter Brown (4-1, 3.20 ERA).