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Oakland Athletics (57-73) at Houston Astros (68-62)
Monday, August 29 - 8:10 PM EST
Minute Maid Park, Houston, Texas
The Oakland Athletics suddenly have the look of a team that might relish playing the spoiler down the stretch. The Athletics will try their hand at another playoff contender when they open a three-game series at the Houston Astros on Monday.
Oakland, which is closing in on its second straight losing season, has taken two of three from American League Central-leading Cleveland and NL wild card hopeful St. Louis in the past week, finishing off the Cardinals with a 7-4 triumph Sunday afternoon. Khris Davis homered for the seventh time in 15 games and Stephen Vogt slugged a three-run shot to pace Oakland, which also won two of three the last time it faced the Astros. Houston had won three in a row and seven of eight before dropping a 10-4 decision against Tampa Bay on Sunday. The loss left the Astros three games back in the race for the AL's second wild card.
TV: 8:10 p.m. ET, CSN California (Oakland), ROOT (Houston)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Athletics LH Sean Manaea (5-8, 4.53 ERA) vs. Astros RH Joe Musgrove (1-2, 5.20)
Manaea shined in a win over Cleveland on Tuesday, allowing one run and a season low-tying three hits while fanning eight over seven innings. The one run came on a home run and the 24-year-old has allowed eight of those in his last six outings. Manaea's major-league debut came against the Astros on April 29 and he allowed four runs in five innings, but the former first-round pick rebounded to spin seven scoreless in a no-decision at Houston on July 10.
After allowing three runs in 18 1/3 innings over his first three career starts, Musgrove has been pounded for 13 runs and 19 hits over 9 1/3 frames in his last two appearances. He also has just four strikeouts in those rocky outings after producing 21 over the course of the first three. The California native has managed to maintain his control with just three walks in 27 2/3 innings overall.
1. Astros 3B Alex Bregman is hitting .353 over his last 12 games.
2. Houston RHP Luke Gregerson (ankle) hasn't pitched since Aug. 18 but could be available in this series, according to manager A.J. Hinch.
3. Oakland is 22-20 in the first game of a series but 35-53 in all other contests.
PREDICTION: Astros 5, Athletics 4