The Houston Astros will look for their seventh straight victory when they battle the Oakland Athletics on Thursday afternoon. Last night, Houston exploded for ten runs during the first two innings of a 13-5 rout against Oakland. Evan Gattis homered twice and drove in five runs for the Astros, who moved to within a half-game of first place Seattle with the win.
Dominant right-hander Justin Verlander (8-2 1.45 ERA) is putting himself in position for his second career Cy Young Award. Verlander leads all starting pitchers in ERA and WHIP, while ranking 4th in strikeouts.
The Oakland Athletics have split their first 68 games and will have a hard time keeping pace in the AL West Division race. On Wednesday, SP Paul Blackburn was roughed up for eight runs and recorded just four outs in defeat. Khris Davis connected on his 18th home run for the Athletics, who trail the Mariners by ten full games for the division lead.
The Athletics will counter with twenty-five year old righty Frankie Montas (3-0 1.25 ERA) in the series finale. Through 21 plus innings this season, Montas has allowed just one long ball and owns a 0.88 WHIP.