Published January 13, 2015
Having plated 14 runs over their past two days, the Oakland Athletics hope to stay hot when they visit Minute Maid Park on Friday to open a three-game series against new American League West foe Houston.
Yoenis Cespedes and Josh Reddick each hit two-run homers to help lift Oakland to an 8-2 win over Seattle on Thursday. Right-hander A.J. Griffin picked up right where he left off from last year's rookie campaign, in which he went 7-1 with a 3.06 ERA in 15 starts. Griffin allowed two runs in six innings as the reigning division champion A's earned a split of the four-game series.
Meanwhile, after notching an 8-2 win over Texas in their inaugural game as an American League member, the Astros failed to score in each of the next two games to close out the series. In fact, the Rangers pitching staff set a major league record by racking up 43 strikeouts in the first three games of the season.
"I think (Tuesday) was more about (the Rangers') guy and (Wednesday) was more about our guys," Astros manager Bo Porter said. "Our guys expanded the zone way too often today, and it's something we need to make an adjustment and do a better job of. Even the fastballs we had an opportunity to hit in the count, we either fouled them off or didn't put them in play hard."
On Friday, Oakland will turn to right-hander Dan Straily, who went 2-1 with a 3.89 ERA in seven starts after being called up last season, although he also served up 11 home runs. Straily's 190 strikeouts led the minors last season.
For Houston, righty Brad Peacock is making just his fourth career big league start, and it comes against his former organization. Peacock was rated as Oakland's top pitching prospect in 2012 before a February trade sent the 25- year-old back to his hometown of Houston. He'll try to keep it going for an Astros rotation that has posted a 2.08 ERA through the first three games.
"I've been waiting for this day for a long time, and I'm ready to get going," Peacock said. "It's felt like forever since I've been out there. Just getting back on the mound, I want to have a good game and I get to see all my buddies from Oakland. It should be fun."
Oakland's only previous trip to Houston came in an Interleague series in 2007, and the A's took two of three.