OAKLAND [url=http://www.packerscheapstore.com/montravius-adams-jersey-cheap]Montravius Adams Jersey[/url] , Calif. — The Oakland Athletics will encounter one of their all-time nemeses Thursday afternoon when they face Houston Astros right-hander Justin Verlander in the finale of a three-game series.
The Astros have dominated the first two games of the series between American League West rivals, riding a total of 10 RBIs from Evan Gattis to 6-3 and 13-5 victories.
Houston has won seven of eight from Oakland this season.
The Astros have done it without any help from Verlander (8-2, 1.45 ERA), who has yet to face the A’s this season.
They have seen plenty of each other in the veteran’s 14-year career, including five times in the postseason, when Verlander has gone 4-0 against Oakland.
Included in the four wins were Game 5 clinchers for Detroit in 2012, when Verlander pitched a 6-0 shutout, and 2013, when he threw eight innings of shutout ball in a 3-0 win.
A’s general manager Billy Beane got so fed up losing to Verlander, he attempted to stack the Oakland pitching staff in anticipation of a rematch in 2014, acquiring Jon Lester, Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel at midseason at the costly expense of Addison Russell and Yoenis Cespedes.
The A’s, who already had Sonny Gray and Scott Kazmir anchoring their staff, never got a shot at Verlander in the playoffs that year [url=http://www.packerscheapstore.com/josh-jones-jersey-cheap]Josh Jones Jersey[/url] , losing 9-8 to Kansas City in the American League wild-card game, which Lester started and Hammel finished.
With Lester, Samardzija and Hammel all leaving the team the following season either via trade or free agency, the A’s haven’t been back in the postseason since. In fact, they’ve never finished higher than fourth place the last three seasons.
Verlander has a 10-6 record and 2.61 ERA in 17 starts against the A’s in his career during the regular season. He’s 5-4 with a 2.38 ERA in 10 starts in Oakland.
The A’s will counter with their modern-day version of Verlander, rookie right-hander Frankie Montas (3-0, 1.25), who has been brilliant in three starts this season.
Acquired from the Los Angeles Dodgers in one of Oakland’s many veteran sell-offs since becoming a non-contender in 2015, Montas has allowed a total of three runs in 21 2/3 innings in wins over Arizona and Kansas City (twice).
Montas pitched twice in relief against Houston in 2017, getting shelled in one inning in each appearance.
He gave up three hits and two runs in the ninth inning of a 10-6 loss to the Astros in his 11th career appearance early in the 2017 season, then served up a three-run home run to Marwin Gonzalez in the ninth inning of a 7-2 loss two weeks later.
Gonzalez had one of Houston’s four home runs in Wednesday’s shellacking, but the story of the game for the second consecutive night was Gattis.
The designated hitter, who had recorded four RBIs nine separate times in his career before this series began, enjoyed his second consecutive five-RBI performance in Wednesday’s win [url=http://www.packerscheapstore.com/oren-burks-jersey-cheap]Oren Burks Jersey[/url] , belting two home runs along the way.
Gattis had been just 3-for-12 with no homers and no RBIs in six games against the A’s this season before exploding for four hits, including three homers, in seven at-bats the last two nights.
Houston Astros catcher Brian McCann finally got to a point that something had to be done to try to fix his troublesome right knee.
McCann had arthroscopic surgery Tuesday after going on the disabled list for the second time this season, and the third time in less than a year, because of knee discomfort.
Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow told MLB.com and the Houston Chronicle during a 5-3 win at Texas that the team was optimistic that the surgery would resolve the issue that kept recurring. While not specific about the procedure or a timetable, the GM said he’d expect McCann back in September to get ready for October.
Manager A.J. Hinch said before the Astros’ 5-3 win at Texas that he and McCann had a long conversation about the knee problems when the team played in Tampa last weekend.
”It’s just continually the same issue over and over with his right knee,” Hinch said. ”One of the options is surgery, and he went back to Houston to take care of it.”
Catcher Tim Federowicz, who made two starts earlier this season when McCann was on the DL, was promoted from Triple-A Fresno.
Max Stassi was the Astros’ starting catcher Tuesday night against the Rangers. Hinch said Stassi would get the bulk of the catching during McCann’s absence.
But Stassi never got behind the plate against the Rangers. He was hit by a pitch on his right (throwing) wrist while batting in the first inning. He stayed in the game to run, but Federowicz went to catch when the Astros took the field.
X-rays were negative, but Stassi has a bruised wrist and was considered day to day.
Shortstop Carlos Correa, who has been out since June 26 because of lower back soreness, also was back in Houston. He is eligible to come off the DL as early as Friday [url=http://www.packerscheapstore.com/marquez-valdes-scantling-jersey-cheap]Marquez Valdes-Scantling Jersey[/url] , though Hinch wasn’t sure if Correa would be ready to play then.
”He’s been reporting to Minute Maid (Park) every day and working with our people there,” Hinch said. ”The good news is that everything has been a step forward. The uncertainty is still we haven’t done any baseball activities yet, so we don’t know how that’s going to impact his timeline until we get home.”
McCann missed nine games during his first DL stint this season before being activated June 8, the last time Houston played at the Rangers.
He was also on the DL for 11 days last August because of right knee soreness before the Astros went on to win their first World Series title. McCann played in all seven World Series games.
His latest DL move was retroactive to Monday, a day off for Houston.
McCann has hit .206 with five homers and 17 RBIs in 50 games this season. He was in a 1-for-26 slump before going on the DL for the first time this season on May 29. He hit .171 (7-of-41) with one homer and three RBIs in his 13 games in June after returning from the DL.
Stassi has hit .255 with seven homers and 22 RBIs in 49 games for the Astros. Federowicz hit .328 with six homers and 22 RBIs in 38 games at Fresno.
”I have a lot of confidence in Stassi and Fed, both with major league time,” Hinch said. ”They’re comfortable, they know our pitchers, they know our program, our preparation, all things that make me feel really good about going into each particular game.”