The Houston Astros and Oakland A’s continue their Home Run Derby on Wednesday as they play Game Three of the American League Division Series. The Astros, who were the visiting team on the scoreboard in the first two games, will now be the home team, as they go for the series sweep. The two teams have combined for 11 home runs (six for Houston, five for Oakland) in the first two games. The Astros have won the first two games of the best-of-five series by scores of 10-5 and 5-2. The A’s won seven of the 10 games between these two teams in the regular season.
A’s on the brink of eliminationThe Oakland A’s hit two more home runs, but they lost their second straight game to the Houston Astros on Tuesday. Khris Davis and Chad Pinder both hit solo home runs, but they couldn’t muster any more offense in Game Two. Davis and Marcus Semien both had two hits in the game. The Oakland bullpen pitched pretty well again, giving up just one run in 4.2 innings, but starter Sean Manaea gave up four runs to put the team behind the eight ball.
“We knew coming in this would be a dogfight,” Pinder said on sfchronicle.com. “They have great talent, they’re not going to just roll over. We’ve got to find a way to pull ourselves out of this - one big hit, one big inning. We have to find it somehow within us to do that.”
Davis, who hit just two home runs in the regular season, has hit two home runs in four postseason games, while hitting .400 (6-15). Semien is 7-19 in the playoffs for a .368 batting average. Sean Murphy is tied with Davis with two postseason home runs. The Oakland bullpen, who had the best ERA in the majors in the regular season (2.72), hasn’t pitched as well in the postseason, posting an ERA a full run higher at 3.72.
The A’s have named Jesus Luzardo as starter for Game Three. He was 3-2 with a 4.12 ERA this season. He gave up three runs in 3.1 innings against the Chicago White Sox in his one start during this postseason. He pitched three scoreless innings in relief in last year’s playoffs. Luzardo has faced the Astros three previous times, going 1-0 with a 2.87 ERA.
Springer going off for Astros against A’sGeorge Springer, who batted just .265 in the regular season and .111 in the Wild Card Series, is hitting .667 (6-9) in the Division Series. He followed up a four-hit performance on Tuesday with two home runs and three RBI on Wednesday to put the Houston Astros on the threshold of yet another American League Championship Series. After giving up a couple of solo homers to the A’s early in the game on Wednesday, Framber Valdez settled down to pitch seven innings and get his second win of the postseason. Martin Maldonado also went deep for Houston.
“I’ve been up 2-0 before. You’ve got to put them away when you have a chance,” said Houston manager Dusty Baker on sfchronicle.com. “If you let them off the mat, these guys know how to win. We’d like to win it tomorrow and not get any drama in Game Four or Five. We know it’s not done yet.”
Carlos Correa, who hit just five home runs in the regular season, has three home runs in four postseason games, including two in Game One against Oakland. He is batting .428 in the playoffs and .375 in this series. Correa is tied with Springer with the team lead in postseason RBI with five. Kyle Tucker is also having a good postseason, batting .353 with a four-game hitting streak in their four playoff games.
Jose Urquidy gets the nod for the Astros in Game Three on Wednesday. He was 1-1 in the regular season with a 2.73 ERA. This will be his second start of this postseason, as he pitched 4.1 innings, giving up just one run on two hits to the Minnesota Twins in the Wild Card Series. He has made five total appearances in the postseason in his career, going 1-0 with a 1.49 ERA. Urquidy has faced the A’s twice in his career, going 0-1 with a 2.45 ERA in 11 innings of work.
Trends found on oddsshark.com:
- The Astros are 4-1 in their last five games overall
- The A’s are 3-6 in their last nine games away from Oakland
- The A’s are 1-4 in their last five games versus an American League West opponent