Houston Astros get another shot at Oakland A’s ace Jeff Samardzija


Jon Singleton and Jake Marisnick (David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports)

The Houston Astros haven’t had much success against Jeff Samardzija this season, but will get another chance to face the Oakland ace tonight at Minute Maid Park. (The start of a nine-game homestand.) Houston will send right-hander Scott Feldman to the mound in the series opener against Samardzija. Oakland (76-53) leads the season series, 8-5, and has scored 10+ runs four times against the Astros this season. The all-time series is also led by the Athletics, 28-10. 

Feldman will pitch for the Astros after being placed on revocable waivers Sunday. Today was the deadline for a decision to be made on the veteran right-hander, and FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reported Feldman cleared waivers about an hour before the game. As I explained yesterday, Feldman is now eligible to be traded to any team. 

Scott Feldman

(Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports)

Feldman, who is 7-9 with a 4.37 ERA this season, gave up two runs in 6 2/3 innings in his last outing against the New York Yankees when he threw a career-high 121 pitches. He is 5-7 with a 6.55 ERA in 15 career starts against Oakland and faced Samardzija twice last month. After giving up six runs over 5 1/3 innings on July 24th, Feldman was much better in the rematch just five days later when he gave up one run in seven innings. Hopefully, the veteran comes out with a chip on his shoulder and isn’t distracted by what’s going on off the field.

Meanwhile, Samardzija is 3-1 with a 2.86 ERA in five career starts against the Astros. He made two starts against Houston last month and pitched well in both games. In the first one, he beat the Astros after only giving up one run in eight innings. In the rematch with Feldman, Samardzija gave up four runs over 6 2/3 innings and took a no-decision. (The A’s eventually won that game, too.) Samardzija is 3-3 with a 4.07 ERA since joining the A’s after going 2-7 with a 2.83 ERA in 17 starts with the Chicago Cubs to start the season.

This series is a great chance for the Astros to play spoiler because the A’s are currently just one game behind the Los Angeles Angles for first place in the AL West. While Oakland is getting All-Star third baseman Josh Donaldson back after he sat out a game with left knee discomfort, the Astros will play Matt Dominguez at the hot corner tonight.

I broke down the Astros third base situation more in-depth this morning, but it looks like Bo Porter will give Dominguez another chance tonight. Even if he isn’t as productive as Gregorio Petit, I imagine the thinking is that Dominguez can raise his trade value the next couple months to help the Astros when they put him on the trade market this summer.

Meanwhile, Astros slugger Chris Carter is batting .500 vs. Jeff Samardzija in his career. That includes four hits, two doubles, and one home run. However, as a team, the Astros are hitting just .230 against right-handers this season and have really struggled against Samardzija. In 18 at-bats, second baseman Jose Altuve is hitting .222 vs. Samardzija and has struggled to figure him out.

A player who has found success against Samardzija is Astros catcher Jason Castro. The veteran is 5 for 12 off the Oakland ace in his career, including three doubles. Hopefully, Castro and Jake Marisnick, who is hitting .349 in his last 14 games, can continue to play well and help carry the load offensively tonight. 

"Lineup for the Astros (55-76):"

"LF- Robbie Grossman"

"2B- Jose Altuve"

"DH- Chris Carter"

"CF- Dexter Fowler"

"C- Jason Castro"

"SS- Marwin Gonzalez"

"1B- Jon Singleton"

"3B- Matt Dominguez"

"RF- Jake Marisnick"

"P- Scott Feldman"

Two Other Notes: