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Astros Look to Turn the Tables on Athletics

Inside The Astros on FanNation logo Inside The Astros on FanNation 8/12/2022 Dylan Shick

The Houston Astros look to take advantage of fresh, new faces and turn the tables on the Oakland Athletics, who swept the series the last time the two met.

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The Houston Astros and Oakland Athletics are deadlocked at six wins apiece against each other this season. The A's swept the Astros at the end of July, but Houston has a new look this time around and will seek to use that to their advantage.

The AL West leaders added Trey Mancini, Christian Vásquez, and Will Smith before the August trade deadline. All three are assets that Oakland has not seen much of this season.

Mancini has given the Astros a spark at the plate, slugging .609 and launching 3 home runs in his first eight games. Vasquez has provided much needed relief in the catching position as he has boasted a perfect fielding percentage and a range factor of 9.96.

Smith has appeared four times, allowing just one run and striking out four in four innings pitched. The former Atlanta Brave adds even more strength to one of the best pitching staffs in the league.

Not to mention, Lance McCullers Jr. is scheduled to make his return in game 2 on Saturday.

Houston Astros pitcher Lance McCullers Jr. © Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports © Provided by Inside The Astros on FanNation Houston Astros pitcher Lance McCullers Jr. © Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

The Houston offense continues to produce in the second half of the season and is slashing .246/.307/.423 as a team. Alex Bregman is leading the way, hitting .324/.393/.527 and racking up 39 total bases since the break.

The new-look Astros are proving to be a title-contender after passing the New York Yankees for the top spot in the American League this week, and they have a chance to further that lead against the Athletics.

The A's started off the second half strong, but are currently on a five-game losing streak after getting swept by the Los Angeles Angels. Oakland has the worst batting average (.214) in the league at the moment, and they are in last place in the division.

Their pitching staff has been fine as of late, ranking ninth in baseball since the All-Star break with a 3.68 ERA. The underlying numbers, however, are much less promising. It doesn’t help that the A's dealt away their ace, Frankie Montas, to the Yankees last week.

Game One:

Astros Starter: Luis Garcia (8-8, 3.93 ERA)

Athletics Starter: Adam Oller (1-5, 7.63 ERA)

Luis Garcia is scheduled to get the start Friday. Garcia will be on five days rest after his last outing against the Cleveland Guardians. The righty went six innings, giving up four runs on nine hits and striking out five. Garcia is 0-1 against Oakland on the season.

Adam Oller will take the mound for the A's. Oller's lone win of the season came against Houston on July 25. The Conroe, Texas native went five innings, allowing four runs on four hits and striking out just as many.

First Pitch: Friday, 7:10 p.m. CST

Where to Watch: AT&T SportsNet-SW

Game 2:

Astros Starter: Lance McCullers Jr. (First start of the season)

Athletics Starter: TBD

Lance McCullers Jr. will toe the rubber in a major league stadium on Saturday for the first time since the 2021 postseason. The right-hander has been recovering from a right forearm strain for the last 10 months and most recently made four rehab starts in Double-A and Triple-A. McCullers threw 86 pitches and held a 6.75 ERA in that stretch.

Although the A's have not announced a starter for Saturday, one possibility is Adrian Martinez. The rookie is 2-3 on the season, and his last start was Sunday against the San Francisco Giants. Martinez allowed just two runs on four hits and struck out five in 4 1/3 innings pitched.

First Pitch: Saturday, 6:10 p.m. CST 

Where to Watch: AT&T SportsNet-SW

Game Three:

Astros Starter: Cristian Javier (6-8, 3.14 ERA)

Athletics Starter: Cole Irvin (6-9, 2.92 ERA)

Cristian Javier will close out the series for Houston. The right hander will be on one week of rest after starting at Cleveland last Sunday. Javier went six innings in that start, allowing just one run on six hits and punching out four.

Cole Irvin is slated to start for Oakland on Sunday. The lefty picked up the win against the Astros in their last meeting, giving up just two runs on four hits through seven innings pitched.

First Pitch: Sunday, 1:10 p.m. CST

Where to Watch: AT&T SportsNet-SW

Players to Watch:

Astros: Kyle Tucker

Tucker is coming off of a great offensive series against the Texas Rangers. The right fielder totalled five hits, three runs scored, three RBIs, and a home run during the three games. The outfielder is very comfortable at home, as he leads the Astros in at-bats (181) at Minute Maid Park this season.

Houston Astros Kyle Tucker rounds first after blasting a home run. © Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports © Provided by Inside The Astros on FanNation Houston Astros Kyle Tucker rounds first after blasting a home run. © Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Athletics: Ramon Laureano

Laureano went 4-for-12 against the Angels this week and is one of the A's most powerful hitters. The right fielder is hitting .225/.304/.403 this season with 12 home runs. Laureano is the only Athletic that has faced the Astros more than 40 times this year.

Oakland Athletics outfielder Ramon Laureano. © Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports © Provided by Inside The Astros on FanNation Oakland Athletics outfielder Ramon Laureano. © Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

More From SI's Inside The Astros:

  1. Astros Prospect Murray Scheduled for System Debut
  2. Report: McCullers to Start Saturday against Athletics
  3. Astros Pass New York Yankees as Best Team in the American League
  4. Díaz Goes Boom; Astros Plate Seven Runs Off All-Star Pérez
  5. Astros Release Barreto, Send Dubin on Minor League Rehab Assignment
  6. Report: Manger Baker Hopes to Return to Astros Before Weekend
  7. Report: Former Astros Pitcher Fiers' Contract Terminated By CPBL Club
  8. McCullers Set to Make the Best Rotation in Baseball Even Better
  9. Astros Are Close to Claiming the Title of 'Best in the AL'
  10. Seven Astros' Draftees Receive Affiliated Assignments

Make sure to follow Inside the Astros on Twitter @InsideAstrosSI!

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