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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GAME 1: Mike Fiers (2-1, 5.73) vs. Sean Manaea (0-0, 0.00)

Apr 23, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Astros starting pitcher Mike Fiers (54) pitches agains the Boston Red Sox in the first inning at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 23, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Astros starting pitcher Mike Fiers (54) pitches agains the Boston Red Sox in the first inning at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports /

Mike Fiers has won his last two outings, granted his last start was much more worth of a victory.  Against a potent Red Sox lineup, Fiers allowed five hits and struck out six, both 2016 bests.  It was also the first game that he did not allow a home run.  Fiers is a fly ball pitcher, so not giving up the long ones is always key to his success.  Fiers has yet to get past six innings in a start this year, and he will look to go further in this matchup versus Oakland whom he has faced three times in his career with a 3.57 ERA.

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Current Oakland batters are only hitting .157 against him, and Josh Reddick is a paltry 1/9 versus Fiers.  Fiers has steadily increased the usage of his changeup in each start, up to 29% in his last outing, and arguably has been his best pitch this year.  Look for him to continue the use of off-speed pitches at a high rate to constantly keep the A’s off tempo.

Manaea is the A’s No.2 prospect and No.65 overall according to MLB Pipeline, and will be making his major league debut against the Astros.  He is a strikeout pitcher, and in three starts for AAA Nashville, has a 1.50 ERA with 21 strikeouts in 18 innings of work.  He has a low-mid 90’s fastball, a slider, and a change-up.  He definitely has the upside to be a dominant pitcher in the league, and without much tape on him, could pose a challenge to Houston hitters.

Control is his biggest issue so that coupled with debut jitters could work against him.  His fastball and slider are graded above average, but his change-up has been noticed to have a slower arm speed, so we will see if hitters can key in on that or not.Game Prediction: Astros 6 – A’s 3

Game Prediction: Astros 6 – A’s 3

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