stats-recaps1
Major League Baseball
Preview
Oakland at Houston
When: 7:10 PM ET, Saturday, August 19, 2017
Where: Minute Maid Park, Houston, Texas

With a division title comfortably in their hands at the moment, the Houston Astros are concentrating on grabbing home-field advantage throughout the American League playoffs. Houston, which owns a 13-game lead in the AL West, looks to move closer to that goal when it hosts the Oakland Athletics for the middle contest of their three-game series.

The Astros remained 4 1/2 games ahead of Boston for the top spot in the AL after posting a 3-1 triumph in Friday's opener against Oakland. Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman hit back-to-back home runs in the third inning, with the former finishing 2-for-4 to raise his major league-leading batting average to .362. While Houston improved to 2-1 on its eight-game homestand, Oakland kicked off a six-game road trip with its third loss in four contests overall. Matt Joyce registered two of the Athletics' five hits on Friday, including his third blast in five games, which put him two away from the first 20-homer season of his career.

TV: 7:10 p.m. ET, NBCSN California (Oakland), AT&T SportsNet-Southwest (Houston)

PITCHING MATCHUP: Athletics RH Kendall Graveman (3-3, 4.70 ERA) vs. Astros RH Collin McHugh (0-2, 4.88)

Graveman is coming off his first victory since April 8, a triumph over Baltimore on Sunday in which he allowed two runs and eight hits over seven innings. It was the 26-year-old from Alabama's third outing following a two-month absence due to a shoulder injury and third that lasted seven frames this season. Graveman is 3-2 with a 4.14 ERA in seven career starts against Houston, including a no-decision on April 14 in which he gave up one run over five innings.

McHugh also has missed a significant amount of time this year due to injury, as he will be making just his sixth start after sitting out the first 3 1/2 months of 2017 with an elbow issue. The 30-year-old from Illinois has lost each of his last two turns, including a setback at Arizona on Monday in which he yielded two runs over 5 2/3 innings. McHugh, who remains in search of his first win of the year after compiling 43 over his first three seasons with Houston, is 6-1 with a 3.02 ERA in nine career starts against Oakland.

WALK-OFFS

1. The Astros have won 11 of their first 13 meetings with the Athletics this season, with both losses coming at home.

2. Oakland RHP Zach Neal, who posted an ugly 7.98 ERA in six relief appearances this year, cleared waivers and was sent outright to Triple-A Nashville.

3. Houston C Brian McCann (knee) is not expected to need a rehab assignment and could return when eligible to be activated from the disabled list on Thursday, while RHP Lance McCullers Jr. (back) is expected to throw a live bullpen session on Sunday.

PREDICTION: Astros 6, Athletics 4
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away East Central West IL
Oakland 53-69 L2 34-31 19-38 14-15 17-11 17-31 5-12
Houston 75-47 W1 35-26 40-21 18-12 13-16 33-16 11-3
Last Meeting
Oakland Houston
Date Away Home Avg HR OPS Avg HR OPS
8/18/17 OAK 1 HOU 3 .167 1 .494 .226 2 .669
Player Stats
Season Series
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
Oakland K. Davis .292 14 1.183
Houston J. Altuve .383 18 1.068
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
Oakland K. Davis 7 11 13
Houston G. Springer 5 14 10
Pitching ERA Avg K
Oakland 6.11 .216 81
Houston 3.62 .308 145
Season
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
Oakland J. Lowrie .271 118 .783
Houston J. Altuve .362 169 .992
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
Oakland K. Davis 33 72 86
Houston G. Springer 28 86 70
Pitching ERA Avg K
Oakland 4.76 .241 915
Houston 4.19 .288 1216