Preview Oakland at Houston
(SportsNetwork.com) - After watching teammate Jeff Samardzija end some recent struggles in Monday's opener, Jason Hammel will try to do the same tonight when the Oakland Athletics resume a three-game series with the Houston Astros.
Hammel was 8-5 with a 2.98 earned run average with the Chicago Cubs before getting dealt to Oakland along with Samardzija. And while Samardzija has had his ups and downs since the deal, it has mostly been a struggle for Hammel.
The right-hander has gone just 1-5 with a 6.75 ERA in seven starts with Oakland and had his most recent turn in the rotation skipped after allowing five runs on six hits, including three homers, over three innings of a 7-2 loss to Atlanta on Aug. 15.
Hammel does come into this start rested and is 2-2 lifetime versus the Astros with a 3.55 ERA.
"Sometimes when you skip a start, mentally, it's even better than physically, just to take a break and take that kind of pressure off of yourself," Hammel said on Oakland's website.
Samardzija helped the A's to an 8-2 victory in Monday's opener, striking out 10 over eight innings of two-run ball. Both runs allowed came on a Chris Carter homer in the eighth inning as Samardzija rebounded after giving up 11 runs over his previous two outings.
"I was going pitch-to-pitch and not letting the previous things affect the future things," said Samardzija. "I wanted to be aggressive and I knew I had a good fastball warming up so I wanted to be aggressive with it."
Josh Donaldson went 3-for-4 with three RBI while Josh Reddick hit a two-run home run as Oakland won for the third time in four games and moved into a tie with the Los Angeles Angels for first place in the American League West.
Houston, meanwhile, lost for the fourth time in five games as Scott Feldman allowed three runs over seven frames in a loss. The Astros bullpen yielded five runs in the ninth to blow the game open.
"Scotty threw the ball well," said Houston manager Bo Porter about Feldman. "He gave up that one home run, but aside from there he threw it really well out there tonight."
Dallas Keuchel will get the call tonight for the Astros and is coming off his fifth complete game of the season, though it was an eight-inning loss to the New York Yankees on Thursday. He yielded three runs on seven hits while striking out five without a walk, leaving him winless in four straight starts (0-2).
In fact, the left-handed Keuchel has not won since a complete-game effort versus Oakland on July 30, when he scattered one run in a matchup with Hammel.
Keuchel is 10-9 with a 3.12 ERA on the year and 1-2 with a 4.17 ERA in seven career meetings versus Oakland with five starts.
The A's won 15 of their 19 meetings with the Astros a season ago, going 8-1 in Houston, but own just a 9-5 edge in this year's series.