Baseball & MNF Bettors:
OAKLAND, Calif. — The hot-hitting Oakland Athletics will attempt to continue their torrid pace in front of the home fans when they open a three-game series against the Houston Astros on Monday.
When last seen in Oakland, the A’s were totaling just 26 runs in a nine-game homestand, losing six of the nine contests.
When they take the Oakland field again Monday night, they will do so as one of the hottest teams in baseball.
The A’s scored 43 runs in a four-game sweep at Kansas City to start last week, then added 22 more in taking two of three at Texas.
“That was a great trip,” A’s manager Bob Melvin gushed Sunday after Oakland’s 5-2 win over the Rangers. “Beating Kansas City four in a row, losing just a really, really tough game (7-6 at Texas on Friday) and responding the next two games …
“I can’t say enough about the desire and commitment these guys still have to finishing out the season strong. You want to play for your team, you want to play for your job, and all these things combined. We have a lot of hungry guys.”
Outfielder Khris Davis became the first member of the A’s to reach 40 home runs in a season since 2000 (Jason Giambi) when he smacked a pair Sunday.
Davis will take his cracks Monday at Astros right-hander Brad Peacock, against whom he has batted just one time in his career and struck out.
Peacock (0-0, 2.70 ERA) pitched the final two innings of the Astros’ 6-0 home win over the A’s on Aug. 29, the only time he faced Oakland this season.
Peacock has a miserable overall history against the A’s, having gone 1-4 with a 4.97 ERA in nine outings (eight starts). But that must seem like a different lifetime.
He has allowed just one hit to a current member of the A’s (Stephen Vogt) in 18 at-bats.
The A’s will counter with Jharel Cotton, who unlike A’s hitters, will attempt to duplicate what he did during the club’s last homestand.
Cotton (1-0, 1.50 ERA) won his major league debut at home on Sept. 7, allowing just two hits and one run in 6 1/3 innings against the Los Angeles Angels.
He followed that up with a no-decision on the road in a 5-4 win at Kansas City on Tuesday, when he yielded three runs (one earned) in 5 2/3 innings.
Cotton will be facing an Astros team that enters the final two weeks of the regular season three games out of the final playoff spot in the American League.
Houston helped itself by winning two of three at Seattle, and it now looks to take advantage of an Oakland team that has struggled at home.
“Every series is huge now,” Astros designated hitter Tyler White said after his team clinched the series win over Seattle on Saturday night. “We go out every day, try to take care of the task at hand, and we’ll see where we stand at the end.”
The Astros have a 10-6 lead in the season series over the A’s but have lost four of six in Oakland.
The schedule surely gives Houston an opportunity to move up in the wild-card standings. The Astros finish the regular season with 10 of their final 13 against the bottom two in the AL West, including seven against the last-place Angels.
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Tommy Mac Posted Monday 09-19-16 @ 4:04p.m. EST