Wednesday, May 31, 2023
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MLB Preview: Houston Astros (28-21) at Oakland Athletics (10-42)


TONIGHT’S GAME: The Astros continue their six-game road trip with the first game of a three-game set against the Oakland Athletics…tonight’s pitching matchup is between rookie RHP Hunter Brown and RHP James Kaprielian…Brown will make his second consecutive starts against the Athletics…in his last start on May 20 at Minute Maid Park, Brown allowed one earned run in six innings with a career-high nine strikeouts.

ABOUT BROWN: Rookie right-hander Hunter Brown entered the season as the top prospect in the Astros system and one of the top pitching prospects in baseball…was ranked as the No. 28 prospect in baseball in Baseball America’s preseason top 100 rankings…was also rated as the No. 8 RHP prospect in MLB Pipeline’s preseason positional prospect rankings…his 2.54 career ERA ranks second in Astros history by a pitcher through his first 16 career apps. (min. 70 IP), trailing only RHP Bo McLaughlin (2.28 in 1976).

RECENT ‘STROS: The Astros have won 11 of their last 14 games to put them seven games above .500…much of this damage was done on the Astros last homestand, in which they went 6-0 with three-game sweeps of the Cubs and A’s.

INJURY UPDATE:RHP Forrest Whitley left last night’s game in Sugar Land after feeling some discomfort in his right shoulder.. his velocity was normal (93-96 mph), but he was removed from the game as a precaution. He is currently being evaluated.

ROAD RAGE: The Astros are 14-10 (.583) on the road, which ranks as the third-best road record in the AL, trailing the Orioles (18-9, .667) and the Rangers (15-10, .600)…this falls in line with what the Astros did last season, as they led the AL in road winning percentage with a 51-30 (.630) mark.

VS. OAKLAND: The Astros are taking on the A’s for the second time in 2023…in the first series in 2023 last weekend at Minute Maid Park, the Astros swept the series, 3-0…HOU was 12-7 vs. OAK last season with a 7-3 mark at Minute Maid Park…excluding the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, the Astros have won the season series vs. the A’s in seven consecutive years (2015-22).

AL RANKINGS: Among AL players, LF Yordan Alvarez ranks second in RBI (46), second in SLG (.600), third in OPS (1.003) and third in OBP (.403)…3B Alex Bregman ranks tied for fifth in walks (27) and third in walk to strikeout ratio (1.27)…additionally, IF Mauricio Dubón ranks tenth in batting average (.297).

STUFF OF NIGHTMARES: LF Yordan Alvarez has been at his best in the big moments in his career, especially this season… he’s hitting .444 (16×36) with RISP, .526 (10×19) with RISP and two outs, .625 (5×8) with the bases loaded, and .400 (10×25) in close and late situations.

WEDNESDAY’S RECAP: The Astros were shutout in consecutive games for the first time since Sept. 22-23, 2022 at Baltimore… The Astros fell to the Brewers, 4-0, in the final game of their three-game series…RHP Brandon Bielak(4ER/6.2IP) made another strong start for the Astros, setting his career-high for a single game in innings (6.2)…3B Alex Bregman (1×3, 2B) had the only extra-base hit for Houston on Wednesday.
MAY FLOWERS: During the month of May, Astros catcher Martín Maldonado is batting .298 (14×47) with six runs, two doubles, two home runs, four RBI and a .845 OPS in 15 games… he’s reached base safely in 13 of his 15 games in the month.

PITCHING IN: The Astros have the lowest team ERA (3.23) and have allowed the fewest runs (175) in the Majors…the Astros starters rank third the Majors in ERA (3.25) and have allowed one-or-fewer earned runs in five of the last six games.

Lowest Team ERA – MLB Runs Allowed – MLB

  1. Houston: 3.23 1. Houston: 175
  2. Minnesota: 3.40 2. Minnesota: 185
  3. Seattle: 3.45 3. Seattle: 191

HECTOR’S HOT STREAK: RHP Hector Neris has not allowed a run in his last 15 appearances (13.0 IP)…that ties as the longest scoreless inning streak by an Astro this season, along with a streak produced by RHP Luis Garcia…Neris’ streak ties as the second-longest active streak in the AL.

BULLPEN WEAPONS: RHP Phil Maton and RHP Bryan Abreu have been outstanding this season…Maton has allowed just 10 hits and two runs in his first 20 appearances (23.1 IP) for a 0.77 ERA and a .127 (10×79) opponent average…meanwhile, Abreu has tallied 38 strikeouts in his 23.2 IP while allowing just three earned runs for a 1.14 ERA, and also posting a .138 opponent average (14.45 SO/9IP ratio ranks fourth in the AL).

AIR YORDAN: On Mon. night, Yordan Alvarez recorded his 14th career multi-homer game…it was his first multi-homer game of the season, last was on Sept, 16, 2022 vs. OAK…Alvarez’s 14 multi-homer games are tied with Gary Sanchez for the second-most multi-homer games in a players’ first 409 career games in MLB history behind only Ralph Kiner (17).

STEAK SANDWICHES: LF Yordan Alvarez has 46 RBI in his 43 games (49 team games) to put him on pace for 152 RBI… he’s the second Astro to record 46 RBI within the team’s first 49 games, joining 1B Jeff Bagwell (48 RBI), who also did so in 1997…Bagwell finished that year with 135 RBI, the second-highest total in club history (Lance Berkman, 136 RBI in 2006).


LAST START – 5/20 VS OAK: struck out a career-high 9 batters through 6 IP, allowing 2 runs on 5 hits without surrendering a walk…has struck out 17 batters over his last 2 starts (11.2IP)…was his 1st start of the year without allowing a walk and was the longest outing of his career without allowing a walk…logged his 4th quality start of the season.

ABOUT BROWN: rookie right-hander entered the season as the top prospect in the Astros system and one of the top pitching prospects in baseball…was ranked as the No. 28 prospect in baseball in Baseball America’s preseason top 100 rankings… was also rated as the No. 8 RHP prospect in MLB Pipeline’s preseason positional prospect rankings.

DIESEL: is averaging 91.9 mph with his slider, which is the hardest slider among all MLB pitchers, directly ahead of Philadelphia’s RHP Zach Wheeler (91.2 mph) and Los Angeles’ RHP Reid Detmers (90.3 mph) (among qualified players)…is averaging 95.9 mph with his fastball, which is 6th-hardest among AL starters.

HISTORIC START: his 2.54 career ERA ranks 2nd in Astros history by a pitcher through his first 16 career apps. (min. 70 IP), trailing only RHP Bo McLaughlin (2.28 in 1976).

  • started his career 5-0 through his first 12 games (7 starts)…per Elias, was the first Astros pitcher to win their first 5 decisions since RHP Josh James won his first 7 decisions from 2018-19.

THE LEADERBOARDS: ranks inside the top 10 in many categories among AL rookies… is T-1st in wins (4), 2nd in strikeouts (56), and 2nd in innings (50.2).

TROUBLE WITH THE CURVE: opponents are hitting .226 (14×62) against his curveball this season, which makes up 29% of his pitches this season.

SOLID STREAK: made back-to-back starts on April 9 and April 15 in which he recorded at least 7.0 IP without allowing an ER…the last Astros pitcher to do so was LHP Scott Kazmir, who made 2 such starts in a row in 2015 (7/24/15-7/30/15).

VS. OAK: struck out a career-high 9 batters through 6 IP in his first career start against the A’s…it was his 4th quality start of the season, second straight against an AL West opponent at Minute Maid Park.

  • against AL West teams, he has a 1.93 ERA and has held them to a .256 (22×86) AVG with 22 K’s in his 4 starts (23. 1 IP).


ABOUT THE A’S: Were swept in a four-game series at Seattle to end the last road trip and have been swept seven times this year…have a season-high eight-game losing streak and have also lost 11 of the last 12 and 16 of the last 18…are 10-42 (.192) overall, which matches the 1932 Red Sox for the second worst record after 52 games by an AL, NL or FL team since 1900…the worst is 9-40 (.184) by the 1904 Senators (had three games called with the score tied)…the Red Sox won game 53 to improve to 11-42 but the Senators lost to fall to 9-41…the lowest winning percentage by an AL or modern NL team is .235 by the 1916 Philadelphia A’s (36-117) and the most losses is 120 by the 1962 Mets…are 1-15-0 in series play…lost each of the first 10 series, won two of three at Kansas City from May 5-7, and have lost each of the last five series.

A’s IN MAY: The A’s are 4-19 (.174) in May after going 5-23 (.179) in April…had the worst record in the majors in April and currently have the worst mark in May (Pirates, 5-15/.250)…have lost 20 or more games in a month 15 times in Oakland history including three times in the last two years…had 21 in May and June last year, which was the first time since 1954 that the A’s had back-to-back 20-loss months.

OFFENSE: The A’s have scored two runs or fewer in each of the last seven games, which is the third longest streak in Oakland history…it is the longest since an eight-game streak from May 10-18, 1979 and the longest is nine games from Sept. 10-17, 1978…snapped a six-game homerless streak and a Oakland-record tying six-game streak with one extra base hit or fewer with a double and a home run last night…are batting .177 (39-for-220) with 10 runs scored, six doubles, one home run and 10 walks over the last seven games…overall, have the lowest batting average in the majors (.222), third lowest slugging percentage (.362) and OPS (.661) and fourth lowest on-base percentage (.299)…rank third in most strikeouts (489), fewest runs (183) and fewest doubles (68) and are tied for the fourth fewest extra base hits (128)… are tied for the most sacrifice hits (11), tied for fourth in hit by pitches (28) and tied for sixth in intentional walks (7)…the seven intentional walks match the A’s season total from last year…have been shut out three times in the last 14 games and seven times this year, which is tied with the Mets and Brewers for second most in the majors (Royals, 8)…A’s pinch hitters are tied for the most hits (12) and walks (8) in the majors.

PITCHING: The A’s have compiled a 5.82 ERA (130 er in 201.0 ip) in May after posting a 7.97 ERA in April…have a 6.88 ERA overall, which is the highest in the majors…according to the Elias Sports Bureau, the highest ERA by an AL or NL team since the earned run became an official stat is 6.70 by the 1930 Philadelphia Phillies…have allowed 367 runs (7.06 per game) and are on pace to allow 1143 runs…the only modern (since 1900) Major League teams to allow 1100 or more runs are the 1930 Phillies (1199) and 1996 Tigers (1103)…also have the highest opponents OPS (.873), batting average (.282), on-base percentage (.377) and slugging percentage (.497) in the majors this year…lead the majors in most home runs (88), walks (251), hit batters (38) and wild pitches (27) and have the sixth fewest strikeouts (391)…have surrendered six grand slams, which are the most in the majors and tied for fifth most in a season in Athletics history (8 in 1993 and 1999, 7 in 1954 and 1997).

STARTING PITCHING: A’s starting pitchers are 0-11 with a 5.82 ERA (58 er in 89.2 ip) in the 18 games since recording their only two wins of the season on May 5 and 6 at Kansas City…went 0-16 over the first 32 games and are 2-27 with a 7.14 ERA for the season…the ERA is the highest in the majors and no other team has fewer than seven wins from its starters…are tied for the seventh fewest innings pitched (252.0).

THE BULLPEN: The A’s bullpen had a blown save last night, snapping a 17- game streak with no saves or blown saves, which was the longest such
streak by an A’s team since the blown save was first tracked in 2004…the pen is now 4-for-14 (28.6%) in save opportunities…has the lowest save percentage and fewest saves in the majors and the 10 blown saves are tied for ninth most…has the highest ERA in the majors (6.56) and is tied for the third most innings pitched (203.0)…has allowed 42-of-102 (41.2%) inherited runners to score, which is tied for the fifth highest percentage…is tied for the second most inherited runners.

ON THE BASES: A’s pitchers had their fifth pickoff of the season last night, which is tied for second most in the majors (Yankees, 6)…opponents are now 41-for-58 (70.7%) in stolen base attempts, which is the fourth lowest success rate in the majors…the 17 caught stealings are second most (Rockies, 18) but the A’s are tied for the ninth most stolen bases allowed…offensively, the A’s are 49-for-60 (81.7%) in stolen base attempts…rank third in the majors in stolen bases and attempts and 10th in stolen base percentage…the 49 steals are the most by an A’s team over the first 52 games since 1993 (50).

HOME AND AWAY: The A’s begin a six-game homestand against Houston (three games) and Atlanta (three games) tonight…went 2-5 on the last
homestand against Texas (1-3) and Arizona (1-2) and are 5-20 (.200 at home, which is the lowest home winning percentage in the majors…went 0-7 on the last road trip to Houston (0-3) and Seattle (0-4)…it was the eighth time in Oakland history the A’s went winless on a road trip of seven or more games, the first time since Aug. 11-17, 2015 when they went 0-7 against Toronto (0-3) and Baltimore (0-4)…now have an 11-game road losing streak, which is tied for the fourth longest road losing streak in Oakland history… it is the longest since May 21-June 9, 2005 when they also lost 11 straight… are 5-22 (.185) on the road, which is the worst road record in the majors… have compiled a 5.99 ERA (155 er in 233.0 ip) at home compared to 7.82 on the road.

WINNING LATE: The A’s have scored the winning run in their final at bat in seven of their 10 wins…have five wins when tied after seven innings, three when trailing after seven innings and two when leading after seven inning… are tied for the second most wins in the majors when tied after seven innings and are tied for seventh in wins when trailing after seven innings… however, no other team has fewer than 12 wins when leading after seven innings…are 3-4 (.429) in extra inning games…are tied for second in the majors in extra inning games (7) and losses and tied for sixth in wins…have four walk-off wins, which is tied for the most in the majors.

RUN DIFFERENTIAL: Seven of the A’s 10 wins have been by one run and Oakland is 7-10 (.412) in one-run games…are tied for fourth in the majors in one-run losses and tied for seventh in one-run games (17)…however, have lost eight games by nine or more runs, which matches the most such losses by an A’s team over the last 27 years (also 2008 and 2022)…have a run differential of -184, which is the lowest in the majors…the lowest by an AL or NL team since 1901 is -349 by the 1932 Boston Red Sox.

THIS AND THAT: A’s outfielders had their 11th assist of the season last night, which is tied for second most in the majors (Royals, 12)…the A’s have committed just three errors in the last 10 games, but have 33 for the season, which is third most…have employed 43 players, which is the most in the majors (Mets, 41)…28 of the 43 have been pitchers, which is also the most (Rays, 26)…have used 12 rookies and seven players have made their Major League debuts…have used the injured list 15 times, including 11 times for pitchers…currently have eight players on the IL, including seven pitchers…are 9-22 (.290) in night games and 1-20 (.048) during the day…have an average time of game of 2:47, which is the longest in the majors…however, have not averaged under 2:53 per game since 2010 (2:43).


  • The A’s were swept in a three-game series at Houston last weekend to open the season series.
  • Lost the season series last year for the seventh time in the last eight years.
  • Are now 59-87 (.404) against Houston dating back to 2015 after winning each of their first four season series against the Astros (31-13, .705).
  • Have lost nine of the last 10 games, all of which have been at Minute Maid Park…have won three straight and four of the last five in Oakland.
    Year Home Road Totals
    2023 0-0 0-3 0-3
    2022 4-5 3-7 7-12

Oakland History: 90-100
at the Coliseum: 50-46
at Minute Maid Park: 40-54

Ryan Noda is tied for eighth in the majors in walks (32)…leads Major League rookies in on-base percentage (.398) and walks…Esteury Ruiz leads ML rookies in hits (56), stolen bases (25) and hit by pitches (11), is tied for second in doubles (13), ranks fifth in batting (.275), sixth in RBI (22), tied for seventh in extra base hits (15), tied for eighth in runs (23) and ninth in on-base percentage (.336)…the 26 steals match the most by an Athletic over the last 11 years (Burns in 2015, Davis in 2017).

TODAY’S STARTING PITCHER: James Kaprielian (0-4, 8.68 ERA)
FOR STARTERS: Was recalled from Triple-A Las Vegas last Saturday for his third stint with the A’s this year…is 0-2 despite a 3.00 ERA (12.0 ip, 9 h, 4 r, 4 er, 5 bb, 12 so) in two starts over his last two stints after going 0-2 with a 12.94 ERA in six games, including three starts, over his first stint…was on the A’s Opening Day roster and went 0-2 with a 12.15 ERA in three starts before moving to the bullpen…posted a 16.88 ERA in three relief appearances before he was optioned to Las Vegas on April 25…returned on May 13, started at lost to Texas that day and was optioned back to Triple-A the next day…did not pitch with the Aviators before he was recalled by Oakland on May 20 SEVEN INNINGS OR FEWER: Has tossed 7.0 innings or fewer in each of his five starts this year and has now pitched seven innings or fewer in all 52 of his career starts…that is the longest streak of consecutive starts of seven innings or fewer in Athletics history (previous: 47, Montas, Sept. 25, 2019-April 18, 2022).

THIS AND THAT: The A’s have been shut out in each of his last two starts and three of his five starts this year…left with an 8-5 lead in his first start but the bullpen allowed seven runs for the blown save…left with the lead in five of his starts last year only to have the bullpen blow the save…now has 21 career no decisions as a starter and has left with the lead and was the pitcher of record in 10 of those no decisions…has allowed five of his six home runs to left-handed hitters.

2023 DAY-BY-DAY: Allowed a season-high seven hits in his first start on April 3 against Cleveland but had a no decision in the A’s 12-11, 10-inning loss… left with an 8-5 lead but the bullpen blew the save…allowed a season-high seven runs on a season-high tying seven hits in an 11-0 loss at Tampa Bay on April 9…surrendered a career-high tying three home runs and logged a career-high 106 pitches…walked a career-high seven batters in a 17-6 loss to New York (NL) on April 14…the walks were the most by an A’s pitcher since Sonny Gray also walked seven on May 3, 2015…tossed 3.2 innings, which is a season-low as a starter…was 0-2 with a 12.15 ERA in three starts when he was moved to the bullpen following the start against the Mets…allowed at least five runs in each of those starts to join Todd Van Poppel (1994) as the only pitchers on an Opening Day roster in Oakland history to allow five or more runs in each of their first three starts…tossed a scoreless inning of relief on April 18 against Chicago (AL), but then allowed three runs in 1.0 inning on April 22 at Texas and two in 0.2 innings on April 24 at Los Angeles AL) and was optioned to Las Vegas on April 25…was recalled on May 13 and struck out a season-high seven in a career-high tying 7.0 innings that day against Texas…allowed three runs and took the loss in a 5-0 decision and was optioned back to Las Vegas the next day.

LAST START: He was the losing pitcher in the A’s 2-0 loss at Houston last Sunday…blanked the Astros on four walks over the first four innings…Meyers then led off the fifth inning with a single and scored three batters later on an Altuve RBI single…that would be the only run Kaprielian would allow in five innings of work but Valdez tossed a four-hit shutout for the Astros.

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