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Houston Astros versus the Oakland Athletics Series Preview

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Apr 24, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Astros relief pitcher Chris Devenski (47) pitches during the game against the Boston Red Sox at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 24, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Astros relief pitcher Chris Devenski (47) pitches during the game against the Boston Red Sox at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Houston Astros hit rock-bottom in game two against Seattle.

Sep 20, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Astros center fielder Jake Marisnick (6) steals second base during the third inning as Oakland Athletics second baseman Brett Lawrie (15) attempts to apply the tag at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 20, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Astros center fielder Jake Marisnick (6) steals second base during the third inning as Oakland Athletics second baseman Brett Lawrie (15) attempts to apply the tag at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports /

I think they hit rock-bottom, it looked like they hit rock-bottom.  I thought I was watching Little League baseball in the fifth inning of that game, when Tyler White completely lost focus of a runner on third base, while he was trying to get an out at second, allowing another run to score.

The usually reserved A.J. Hinch must have thought the same thing as immediately made a disgusted short walk down the steps of the dugout after seeing another poor defensive play by the Houston Astros infield.  After losing the first two games of the series, the Astros put together a complete game, behind decent pitching from Collin McHugh and the bullpen, timely hitting specifically with two outs, and yet another superb offensive performance from Jose Altuve.

So, if the Astros have hit rock-bottom, the only way to go is up right?  Let’s hope so.  The Astros find themselves only five games out of first in the AL West with just a few days left in April.  It’s worth noting that after 22 games last year, the 2015 AL West champion Texas Rangers held the identical record the 2016 Astros have of 7-15.  So, there is obviously plenty of time left, but the amount of talent this club has cannot be held down much longer.  Game three against Seattle looked like the Astros of last year.

Offensively, swings looked to be a bit shorter and got more contact and fewer strikeouts.  In fact, the Astros hitters were only struck out three times in the victory.  The previous two game versus the Mariners saw Houston hitters strikeout 22 times.

The Astros now get a day off, and travel south to Oakland Coliseum to take on the A’s.  Oakland is 11-12 and only 3-7 at home, getting outscored 39-26 in those games.  They are coming off a road trip which saw them go an even 5-5, losing their last five of six games.

Next: Game 1

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