A's fans will have plenty of reasons to boo the Houston Astros on April 1. They also should be much louder in cheering Chris Bassitt.
Manager Bob Melvin named Bassitt his Opening Day starter for the first time in Bassitt's career on Thursday.
Bassitt, 32, certainly earned the honor. The veteran right-hander has the best season of his career last year when he went 5-2 with a 2.29 ERA over 11 starts. He finished eighth in AL Cy Young voting.
Bassitt's strong season rolled over to the spring, too. He has made three starts in the Cactus League and has gone 2-0 with a 1.74 ERA, striking out 12 batter in 10 1/3 innings.
This past regular season, Bassitt faced the Astros three times. He went 1-1 with a 2.65 ERA, giving up five earned runs in 17 innings. Bassitt also toed the rubber against the Astros in Game 1 of the ALDS and allowed nine hits (two home runs) and three earned runs over four innings.
As Opening Day nears, it's clear Melvin and the rest of the staff expects Bassitt to be the A's ace once again this season.