The Oakland Athletics will look to stave off elimination for one more day here against the Houston Astros following their thrilling Game 3 victory on Wednesday. Frankie Montas will start for Oakland, while Houston is waiting until Thursday to announce theirs.
A's Force Game 3The Oakland Athletics were a few innings away from packing up and going home when their bats suddenly caught fire toward the end of Game 3. They emerged with a 9-7 win at Dodger Stadium, and will look to keep that momentum going on Thursday with Frankie Montas on the mound. Unfortunately for A's fans, Montas is in the midst of a really down year. After looking like a potential ace at times last year he's been terrible so far, racking up a 5.60 ERA in 11 regular season starts. In five of his last seven starts, he gave up at least four earned runs.
He has only two innings of postseason experience under his belt, so I'm not sure he'll be able to handle the pressure of an elimination game here. He'll likely be on a short leash. Normally that wouldn't be much of an issue, since the A's have had one of the best bullpens in the league this season. Unfortunately they've burned a good amount of that bullpen just to get to this point, as top reliever Liam Hendriks pitched three innings on Wednesday and likely won't be available to go here. Through six postseason game Oakland is hitting just .206 with a team OPS of only .645, and with the way this Astros lineup is hitting, that's simply not enough.
Astros Slip UpThe Houston Astros are on a revenge march, and it'll be very easy to see how far they can go. Everybody counted them out after they got off to a very slow start to 2020 following the exposure of their cheating scandal, but they've sure come back in a hurry. They're now 4-1 in the playoffs, and their bats are starting to come alive. The whole lineup struggled during the regular season but they're shaking it off now, as Carlos Correa is 6-14 and George Springer is 7-18. The Astros are undecided on who their starter will be, but Zack Greinke and Cristian Javier are reportedly both options.
Greinke is dealing with an injury but if he's able to go he'd be the perfect man for the job, as he's got plenty of big game experience. He looked good against the Twins in the wild card round, giving up only two hits and one run in four innings. Javier is young but he was great down the stretch this season, with a 2.64 ERA in September and October. The Astros are running quite thin in the bullpen as well, so whoever gets the start it's imperative they're able to go relatively deep into the game. Allowing a Game 5 to happen would give Oakland all the momentum in the world, and Houston really needs to close it out here.