Athletics

The A's Insider Podcast: Broadcaster Mark Mulder

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The A's Insider Podcast: Broadcaster Mark Mulder

Mark Mulder, former A's left-hander and current broadcaster, joins Joe Stiglich on "The A's Insider Podcast" to break down his transition to the booth, a fateful round of golf with Eric Chavez, his current golf game and much more. Enjoy!

 

A's vs. Astros lineups: Chad Pinder, Franklin Barreto start vs. Wade Miley

A's vs. Astros lineups: Chad Pinder, Franklin Barreto start vs. Wade Miley

The A's will try to erase Monday night from their memory and attempt to even their series against the first-place Houston Astros on Tuesday. Houston dominated the opener by a final score of 11-1, moving 7 1/2 games ahead of Oakland in the American League West Division.

The A's will turn to their top starter Mike Fiers to try to get back in the win column Tuesday night. The right-hander is 9-3 with a 3.64 ERA in 21 starts this season, winning each of his last seven decisions.

Fiers, 34, has allowed three runs or fewer in 15 consecutive outings and has delivered 11 straight quality starts. However, he is just 1-2 with a 6.15 ERA in five career games against the Astros.

Houston will counter with veteran left-hander Wade Miley. The 32-year-old is putting together a strong season, going 8-4 with a 3.25 ERA in 20 starts. In seven career outings against Oakland, Miley is 5-2 with a 1.61 ERA.

With the Astros starting a southpaw, the A's have stacked their lineup with right-handed bats. Chad Pinder will start in left field and hit seventh, while Franklin Barreto will play second base and bat ninth. First baseman Matt Olson is the only left-handed hitter in the Oakland lineup. He will hit third.

Here are the full lineups for the A's-Astros game, which will be broadcast on NBC Sports California and the MyTeams app. Coverage begins at 4:30 p.m. PT, with first pitch at 5:10.

Oakland A's (57-44)
Marcus Semien, SS
Matt Chapman, 3B
Matt Olson, 1B
Mark Canha, RF
Ramón Laureano, CF
Khris Davis, DH
Chad Pinder, LF 
Josh Phegley, C
Franklin Barreto, 2B

Mike Fiers, RHP (9-3, 3.64 ERA)

Houston Astros (65-37)
George Springer, CF
José Altuve, 2B
Alex Bregman, SS
Michael Brantley, LF
Yordan Álvarez, DH
Yuli Gurriel, 3B
Josh Reddick, RF
Aledmys Díaz, 1B
Max Stassi, C

Wade Miley, LHP (8-4, 3.25 ERA)

A's starters are struggling vs. elite teams, and it could cost them

A's starters are struggling vs. elite teams, and it could cost them

Through all the injuries, suspensions, and question marks, the A's starting rotation has actually performed relatively well this season.

Oakland's starters have compiled a 4.17 ERA, 12th-best in the majors and sixth in the American League. Mike Fiers, Brett Anderson, and Chris Bassitt all own earned run averages under four, while Daniel Mengden's is under five.

Those numbers would suggest that the unit is, at the very least, serviceable. However, that hasn't been the case against the league's better teams.

Just look at Mengden and Homer Bailey's last two starts. Mengden limited the last-place Mariners to one run on four hits in seven innings last Tuesday. But in his next start, the first-place Twins knocked him around for four earned runs on six hits in just 3 1/3 innings.

Bailey's Oakland debut also came against the Mariners, and it went well. The right-hander allowed just two runs in six innings, earning the victory. On Monday night in Houston, however, Bailey surrendered nine runs in two innings.

For the season, Bailey is 4-1 with a 3.91 ERA when facing opponents under .500. Against teams that are .500 or better, he is just 4-6 with a 6.75 ERA. Mengden's numbers are similar. Against sub-.500 clubs, the right-hander is 3-0 with a sparkling 2.31 ERA. However, against winning squads, Mengden is 1-2 with a 6.67 ERA.

Bassitt has experienced the same type of success against losing teams, posting a 3.28 ERA. But against plus-.500 opponents, his ERA shoots up to 4.81.

Fiers and Anderson have been the exceptions in the A's rotation. Not surprisingly, they have been Oakland's only two consistent starters throughout the season, not including the suspended Frankie Montas.

Fiers is 4-2 with a 3.52 ERA against losing teams and 5-1 with a 3.74 ERA against winning squads. Anderson is 5-3 with a 3.88 ERA against sub-.500 opponents and 4-2 with a 3.77 ERA against plus-.500 clubs.

[RELATED: Houston makes statement with 11-1 win]

Over the next month, the A's will face an extremely challenging schedule. Including the current series against Houston, nine of Oakland's next 10 opponents currently own a record of .500 or better.

Fiers and Anderson have proven capable of succeeding against the league's best. Now it's Bassitt, Mengden, and Bailey's turn to step up against tougher competition.