Astros look to continue mastery of A's
According to STATSAccording to STATS
Houston Astros at Oakland Athletics
- The Astros are on a five-game winning streak after sweeping the Rangers in a four-game road series. Houston leads MLB with a 23-11 (.676) record on the road as well as leading the AL with a 2.79 ERA on the road.
- The A's won three of four against the Royals at home, to go 5-2 against Kansas City this season. Oakland's pitching has been among the best in MLB in the last three and a half weeks. Its 1.03 WHIP since May 18 leads MLB and 2.88 ERA ranks third.
- The Astros have won five straight against the A's after losing their first matchup this season, including a three-game series sweep in Oakland. Houston outscored Oakland 24-5 in the three-game sweep, hitting six home runs and limiting Oakland to zero.
- Lance McCullers Jr. has allowed two earned runs in 12.0 innings in his two starts against the A's this season. He has a 6.61 (12/16.1) ERA in his last three starts allowing five home runs, which is two more than he allowed in his first 10 outings.
- Daniel Mengden allowed a career-high four home runs and a season-high six earned runs in 4.0 innings in his last start against Texas. This will be his third time facing the Astros this season and seventh of his career. He is 0-4 against Houston with a 6.23 ERA (21/30.1) in his career.
- This matchup will feature two of MLB's best offensive second-basemen. Jose Altuve leads MLB with 93 hits and Jed Lowrie's 72 hits are tied for third among second basemen this season.
Notes Applicable For Series Dates: 6/12/2018 thru 6/14/2018
OAKLAND, Calif. -- Two pitchers who figure to have big rooting audiences are scheduled to go head-to-head Wednesday night when the Houston Astros and Oakland Athletics continue their three-game series.
The Astros got the jump on the A's in the series opener Tuesday, winning 6-3 on the strength of Evan Gattis' career-best five RBIs and Lance McCullers Jr.'s strong seven-inning outing.
In an attempt to beat the A's for the seventh time in eight meetings this season, the Astros will send right-hander Gerrit Cole (7-1, 2.16 ERA) to face Oakland righty Paul Blackburn (1-0, 1.50).
Cole, a native of Newport Beach, Calif., near Los Angeles, has pitched brilliantly in his home state in his major league career. The UCLA product, who spent his first five seasons pitching for the Pittsburgh Pirates before getting dealt to the Astros over the winter, has gone 9-2 when pitching in San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Oakland.
He's 14-6 overall against the five California teams.
The 27-year-old joined the San Francisco Bay Area family on Nov. 12, 2016, when he married Amy Crawford, the sister of Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford. Both Amy and Brandon attended Amador Valley High in Pleasanton, Calif., an Oakland suburb.
Cole didn't disappoint his new fans when he pitched six strong innings, allowing one run and four hits, in a 4-1 win at Oakland on May 9. It improved his career record to 1-1 with a 2.75 ERA in three starts against the A's.
Cole once again will have to deal with A's outfielder Stephen Piscotty, who attended Amador Valley at the same time as the Crawfords. Piscotty has gone 6-for-21 with two doubles in his career against Cole.
Blackburn, meanwhile, starred at Heritage High in Brentwood, Calif., which is about 40 miles northeast of Oakland.
Blackburn, acquired from the Seattle Mariners last season, has made six starts for the A's in Oakland, including one this season.
He pitched brilliantly in that lone 2018 Oakland start Thursday after being promoted from Triple-A, limiting the Kansas City Royals to one run and three hits in six innings in a 4-1 victory.
Blackburn has never lost a home start for the A's, going 2-0 in his six outings.
He has never faced the Astros.
The 24-year-old admitted the season debut coupled with his family and friends in attendance nearly got the better of him in his last start.
"I'm not usually like that," he insisted. "I have nerves coming into every start, but not like this was. I think it was excitement."
Blackburn will have to deal with another A's opponent who still commands a favorable reception in Oakland when he goes against Astros outfielder Josh Reddick.
Reddick, one of the A's clubhouse leaders during his five seasons in Oakland, was dealt to the Los Angeles Dodgers in August 2016 in a deal that brought impressive young right-hander Frankie Montas to the A's.
Reddick had two hits and scored twice Tuesday and is 4-for-11 versus the A's in Oakland this season.
Updated June 13, 2018