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 von elaine95 , 02.01.2019 03:16

HOUSTON — With 32 games left on the schedule Rhys Hoskins 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 , 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 Tommy Hunter Jersey , 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. Two right-handers who hope to remain part of the starting rotation next season will go head-to-head when the Los Angeles Angels host the Texas Rangers on Monday in the opener of a three-game series at Angel Stadium.Adrian Sampson is scheduled to make his fourth career start and third with the Rangers. Felix Pena will make his 17th start for the Angels since being converted from a reliever earlier this season.Sampson (0-2, 4.09 ERA) made his starting debut with the Rangers on Sept. 11 at Angel Stadium. He held Los Angeles (75-81) to one run and two hits in five innings, but eight Angels relievers combined to shut out the Rangers 1-0 after holding them without a hit for 7 1/3 innings.Article continues below ...Angels first baseman Jose Fernandez hit his first major league home run in the second inning to account for the only run.The Rangers (66-89) didn’t provide any run support in Sampson’s second start either. He allowed two runs and six hits in 5 2/3 innings of a 3-0 loss to the visiting Tampa Bay Rays on Monday. In the 10 2/3 innings that Sampson has been in the game as a starter, Texas has combined for one hit.Sampson told after his last outing that he’s always been slotted as a fastball pitcher but likes the way he has been executing all of his pitches lately.“It has been good for two starts,” he said. “I am a workhorse and I can go deep in games. I can help the team. I can give them innings as a starting pitcher. I just want to show them that.”Before Texas manager Jeff Banister was fired Friday, he said the last week of the season will be important for players like Sampson.“These guys are still out here competing on a daily basis Will Middlebrooks Jersey ,” Banister told after Sampson’s last start. Pena (3-5, 4.20) made his only appearance against the Rangers on Sept. 12 in Anaheim, throwing six shutout innings in the 8-1 victory. Pena has performed a lot more like that lately than he did in his last outing, when he gave up six runs and six hits in four innings of a 10-0 loss to the Oakland A’s on Wednesday.Pena told after the loss that he planned to quickly put that appearance behind him.“Some days you’re going to feel good, but you’re not going to be able to control what happens,” he said. “The only thing that I can control is to keep working hard like I’ve been doing and prepare for my next start.”Angels shortstop Andrelton Simmons left a 6-2 loss at the Houston Astros on Sunday with a left knee injury but told reporters after the game that he hoped to play Monday.Angels center fielder Mike Trout rested Sunday after hitting a home run in five of the previous six games. He has 38 home runs this season, three shy of his career high set in 2015.

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