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With 32 games left on the schedule
01-18-2019, 06:28 AM,
Post: #1
With 32 games left on the schedule
HOUSTON —  Adam Wainwright Jersey , the Houston Astros are in the throes of the pennant race they avoided last season when they claimed the American League West by 21 games.Their collective resiliency has been taxed during the past two months, with injuries stalling their pursuit of a second consecutive division title and opening the door for the blistering Oakland Athletics to make a serious play for the AL West title.The Astros survived a bit of a test last weekend by salvaging the finale of their three-game series in Oakland, reclaiming their perch atop the division while preventing the Athletics from securing sole possession of first place.Article continues below ...Those two teams will square off for the final time starting Monday night at Minute Maid Park, with the Astros (80-50) fresh off a 6-3 road trip and riding a five-game winning streak into the opener of a three-game series with the Athletics (79-52), who trail by two games in the loss column.Houston has already secured the season series by winning 10 of 16 games, but a series victory would provide a bit of a cushion as the Astros prepare for a challenging stretch run.Aiding the Astros’ cause is their improved health. Second baseman Jose Altuve returned from the 10-day disabled list last Tuesday and Houston hasn’t lost since. Outfielder George Springer is set to rejoin the lineup on Monday after being sidelined for the past week with a sore left quad.“We finished strong on the road trip and that was key,” Astros shortstop Carlos Correa said. “We wanted to go home playing good baseball and we’ve been able to do that. Now we’ve got a good series against the A’s and we’ve got to keep going.”Right-hander Gerrit Cole (11-5, 2.73 ERA) will start for Houston with an extra day of rest. After throwing at least 100 pitches in eight consecutive starts through his final appearance of July Michael Wacha Jersey , Cole has yet to reach the 100-pitch plateau this month, averaging 94.2 in his four starts.Cole has worked at least seven innings only once of his last 11 starts after opening the season with five consecutive such appearances. The Astros are 1-4 in his last five starts.Cole is 2-1 with a 2.84 ERA in five career starts against Oakland, including 2-0 with a 2.92 ERA in four starts this season.Left-hander Brett Anderson (3-3, 3.47 ERA) gets the start for the Athletics. Anderson has produced consecutive scoreless starts, allowing six hits and one walk with eight strikeouts in 14 2/3 innings against the Seattle Mariners and the Texas Rangers. He is 1-0 with a 0.68 ERA this month.Anderson is 1-2 with a 5.50 ERA in four career outings (three starts) against the Astros. He has faced Houston once this season, allowing nine runs (seven earned), 10 hits and three walks in three innings in a 16-2 home loss on May 7 that qualifies as his worst start of 2018.Oakland took three of four weekend games in Minnesota to keep pace with the Astros. Matt Chapman slammed two homers in Sunday’s 6-2 win and has 10 homers and a .348 batting average since the All-Star break.“He’s really quickly adapted to laying off some balls away, and I think some of those strike threes you’re seeing called on him are balls , too, which are frustrating,” Oakland manager Bob Melvin told “But that’s allowing him to move the ball over a little bit and get good pitches to hit. He’s taken to it pretty quickly at the big league level.”Oakland is 7-0-1 in its last eight series but will arrive in Houston with ace left-hander Sean Manaea on the 10-day disabled list with a shoulder impingement. Right-hander Emilio Pagan will replace Manaea in the rotation. LOS ANGELES — As pitching matchups go, it would be hard to tilt the scales any more in one direction than they will be when the San Diego Padres and Los Angeles Dodgers meet Saturday evening in Los Angeles.The Padres will go with right-hander Brett Kennedy and his three career starts. The Dodgers will counter with Clayton Kershaw and his three Cy Young Awards.Kennedy (0-2, 8.36 ERA) has yet to win his first major league game, although he finally looks to be getting comfortable with his surroundings. After getting crushed for a combined 11 runs on 20 hits over his first two big league starts, Kennedy held the Arizona Diamondbacks to two runs on six hits over five innings Sunday.Article continues below ...Without a blazing fastball to work with, Kennedy has to rely on pinpoint control. Even though he was better in his start against the Diamondbacks Albert Pujols Jersey , he did issue three walks. He will now face a Dodgers team that typically is disciplined when it comes to the strike zone.“He definitely threw the ball better; I thought his secondary stuff was better last time out,” Padres manager Andy Green said about Kennedy. “(The Dodgers) team will be a real challenge for him. They will load (the lineup) down with lefties and he’s going to have to execute to pitch well against them. I look forward to him rising up to meet that challenge, but it takes a while for some guys to get their footing in the big leagues and he’s starting to find it.”Pitching opposite Kershaw could present an intimidation factor, although Kennedy already has dealt with pitching against an ace. Zack Greinke was the Diamondbacks’ pitcher when Kennedy last took the mound.Meeting Kershaw at Dodger Stadium, though, is a different level entirely. And Kershaw (6-5, 2.40) has been as good as ever lately, going unbeaten over his last five starts with a 1.82 ERA over 34 2/3 innings in that stretch.Kershaw last lost a game on July 21 , and even then he gave up just one earned run. The defense let him down to the tune of three unearned runs that day against the Brewers. Since June 23, when Kershaw returned from his second stint on the disabled list, he is 5-1 with a 2.14 ERA.Add to the mix an increased sense of urgency from Kershaw and the Padres figure to be in a tough spot Saturday.“I don’t know how many games we’ve got left, but it’s now or never,” Kershaw said, according to “We better start playing, we better get good.”Kershaw is 18-6 with a 1.89 ERA in 33 career starts against San Diego, and he pitched six scoreless innings in his only start against the Padres this season.The Dodgers’ inconsistent offense roared back to life Friday in an 11-1 victory over the Padres Roger Maris Jersey , with Chris Taylor, Justin Turner and Max Muncy hitting home runs. Muncy moved one home run away from No. 30 on the season.The victory helped the Dodgers gain a game on the first-place Arizona Diamondbacks as they moved 3 1/2 games out of the division’s top spot. The Dodgers also moved 2 1/2 games behind the second-place Colorado Rockies.
03-07-2019, 07:32 PM,
Post: #2
RE: With 32 games left on the schedule
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