|7:05 PM PT8:05 PM MT9:05 PM CT10:05 PM ET22:05 ET2:05 GMT10:05 7:05 PM MST9:05 PM EST9:35 PM VEN6:05 UAE (+1)9:05 PM CT, August 17, 2018
Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, Oakland, California Attendance: 23,535
A's prepare to challenge Astros for AL West lead
Houston Astros at Oakland Athletics
- The Astros have outscored the A's 50-16 in winning all six matchups in Oakland this season. That plus-34 run differential is the franchise's highest in a six-game span against any single opponent on the road in a single season.
- The Astros have a MLB-best .695 road winning percentage (41-18) and a .532 winning percentage at home (33-29). The .163 difference in winning percentage from road to home is the biggest by any team since the 1998 Royals had a .168 difference (.531 winning percentage on the road to .363 at home).
- Alex Bregman, who has .283/.400/.565 slash line with three homers, four doubles and nine RBI in 12 games against Oakland this year, has a 1.138 OPS with runners in scoring position on the season. That's the highest by an Astro in such situations since Lance Berkman had a 1.290 OPS in 2006.
- In 14 games since July 30, Oakland starters lead the majors in ERA (1.84) and opponent slugging percentage (.309) and have surrendered the fewest homers (four). On the season, Astros starters lead all of MLB in ERA (3.06) and are tied for first in opponent slugging (.355).
- Edwin Jackson tossed 7.1 shutout innings against the Angels on Saturday, extending his scoreless inning streak to 12.2 -- his longest since a 14.0-inning streak in 2012. In nine starts in 2018, he has a 2.48 ERA -- his lowest over a nine-start stretch in a single season since he had a 2.45 ERA from May 31-July 19, 2009.
- Matt Chapman has reached base in 29 straight games, during which he's slashing .348/.423/679 with six homers, 17 RBI and 29 runs. The last A's player to reach base in 29 straight games was Josh Donaldson in 2014, and no Oakland player has had a longer streak since Mark Ellis reached in 32 in a row in 2007.
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OAKLAND, Calif. -- The Oakland Athletics have a chance to overtake the Houston Astros in the American League West when the division's top two teams go head-to-head in a three-game series that begins Friday night.
Veteran right-handers Charlie Morton of the Astros (74-47) and Edwin Jackson of the A's (72-49) will duel in the opener.
After finishing 26 games behind the Astros last season, the A's found themselves in fourth place, 11 1/2 back, on June 24 before running off 32 wins in 42 games to get within one at the start of play Wednesday.
Houston's 12-1 home win Wednesday over Colorado, coupled with Oakland's 2-0, 12-inning home loss to Seattle, allowed the Astros to increase the margin to two games before heading west for the showdown.
The A's begin the series in the second AL wild-card position, 2 1/2 games up on the Mariners (70-52).
Oakland's 32-11 run in the past two months included winning three of four at Houston in July. Morton (14-7, 3.62 ERA) pitched in that series, getting a no-decision in a 6-4 loss in which he allowed three runs and six hits in 4 1/3 innings.
The 34-year-old has wins at 22 different major-league ballparks in his career but never in Oakland, where he has pitched just once, taking the loss in an 11-1 rout last September.
He has started three times against the A's in his career, going 1-1 with a 4.96 ERA.
The Astros are expected to get George Springer back in the lineup for the series opener. He suffered a sprained left thumb on Aug. 5 and hasn't played since, a stretch during which the Astros have gone just 3-5.
"He's almost certain to return," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said before the club left Houston for a nine-game Western swing that includes three games at Seattle before three in Los Angeles against the Angels.
Hinch also expects star second baseman Jose Altuve back from a sore right knee at some point during the trip, but not likely at the start of it. The reigning AL Most Valuable Player hasn't played since July 25.
"Everyone wants to know a timeline," Hinch reported. "I do, too."
When healthier, the Astros beat the A's eight of nine in April, May and June.
After this series, they will meet just one more time -- Aug. 27-29 in Houston -- before going separate ways in September.
Jackson (4-2, 2.48) hasn't seen the Astros this season, and hasn't beaten them since 2005.
He was on the losing end of a 6-1 decision last August when Mike Fiers, who has joined forced with Jackson in Oakland, pitched Houston to a 6-1 home win over Washington.
The 34-year-old has gone 2-2 with a 4.17 ERA in eight career games, including seven starts, against the Astros.
Jackson will take the mound as one of baseball's hottest pitchers, having not allowed an earned run in any of his last three starts, limiting Toronto, Detroit and the Los Angeles Angels to 11 hits and one run (unearned) in 19 1/3 innings.
Batterymate Jonathan Lucroy is happy to get a head-to-head crack at taking down the defending World Series champs.
"Winning the division is a huge thing for us," he said. "I'm looking forward to this series. This is where champions are made."
Updated August 17, 2018