If fans hear any banging during the ALDS, the Oakland Athletics plan to make sure it’s the sound of their bats barreling up on pitches as they look to eliminate the Houston Astros from World Series contention.
The A’s have made no secret of their desire to knock out the Astros, who infamously cheated during their 2017 World Series-winning season.
Houston Returns to Dodger Stadium as Unwelcome Guest
Oakland proved they have what it takes to beat Houston during the regular season, winning seven of the 10 games between the two teams. Now, the A’s must translate that success to the postseason, something that hasn’t come easily for the franchise.
“Obviously, as a vindictive kind of thing, we want to take out the Astros,” A’s closer Liam Hendriks told reporters. “I think there’s a little bit of us wanting to make sure they know what they’ve done.”
Adding fuel to that fire, MLB moved this series to Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles – home of the team the Astros beat in the 2017 World Series. While fans won’t venture inside the stadium for the series, Astros outfielder Josh Reddick still expects to hear from the locals while he’s in town.
“All the Dodgers fans that probably still hold that grudge are going to be out here voicing their opinion,” Reddick told reporters. “It’s all about silencing the haters, that’s what all this year was about. The trash talk seems to be a little bit more running, and I love it.”
The Astros haven’t proved much of anything just yet. Houston limped into the playoffs with a 29-31 record, though they handled the Minnesota Twins in a 2-0 sweep during the wild-card round. The Athletics come into the ALDS as a -136 favorite over the Astros (+116) to win the series, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.
Bassitt, McCullers Starting Game 1
Oakland will send Chris Bassitt to the mound for Game 1 on Monday. Bassitt went 5-2 with a 2.29 ERA during the regular season, and pitched seven great innings in Oakland’s Game 2 victory over the White Sox in the wild-card round.
|A’s vs. Astros Odds (via FanDuel Sportsbook)|
|Astros (McCullers): +118||A’s (Bassitt): -136|
|Astros (+1.5): -166||A’s (-1.5): +140|
|Over 8.5: -110||Under 8.5: -110|
|Astros: +116||A’s: -136|
Meanwhile, Lance McCullers Jr. (3-3, 3.93 ERA) takes the ball for the Astros. McCullers got the nod over ace Zack Greinke who won’t start until Game 3 on Wednesday. There are no off days scheduled for the divisional series round, meaning teams may start five different pitchers over a full best-of-five series – or, potentially, bring back their Game 1 starters on short rest for a decisive Game 5.
FanDuel posted Oakland (-136) as a slight favorite over Houston (+118) for the Game 1 matchup. But while the A’s may be confident, Astros manager Dusty Baker offered up an ominous warning heading into the series.
“They said they wanted us anyway,” Baker told reporters. “You just have to be careful what you ask for.”