For the second straight playoff series, the Oakland A’s will have to fight from behind if they want to advance. At least this time, the five-game ALDS provides a little more room for error against the Houston Astros than Oakland had against the Chicago White Sox last week.
Houston scored four times in the sixth inning to overtake Oakland on route to a 10-5 victory on Monday.
Astros Fight Back from Early Deficit to Win Game 1
George Springer collected four hits for the Astros while Carlos Correa homered twice in the win. Houston trailed 3-0 and 5-3 before taking the lead for good in the sixth.
“To get down early and not quit, and fight hard and come out with a win in the first game is obviously huge,” Springer told reporters after the win.
The victory gives the Astros the upper hand in the series. FanDuel Sportsbook now pegs Houston as the -220 favorite to advance past the A’s (+182). But Oakland has been behind before and lived to talk about it in the 2020 postseason.
“Everybody wants to win Game 1, but we faced two elimination games and responded nicely,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said, referring to the team’s wild card series over the White Sox. “I expect the same [on Tuesday].”
The A’s have now lost the first game of eight consecutive postseason series, dating back to the 2006 ALCS.
Heading into this series, Oakland counted on having a huge edge when it came to the bullpens. But it was the A’s relievers who faltered on Monday, while the Astros bullpen shut down the Oakland lineup.
“They pitched pretty well,” Melvin told reporters. “We just didn’t have the at bats we typically do at the end of a game. You feel like no matter where you are in the late innings, we have a chance to come back. We just couldn’t do it.”
Battle of Lefties on the Mound for Game 2
Oakland will turn to Sean Manaea to right the ship in Game 2. Manaea went 4-3 with a 4.50 ERA during the regular season, and didn’t pitch during the wild-card series. The lefty will try to keep the ball in the park on Tuesday, as he gave up seven home runs over 54 innings pitched this year.
|Astros vs. A’s Odds (via FanDuel Sportsbook)
|Game 2 Moneyline
|Astros (Valdez): -108
|A’s (Manaea): -108
|Astros (-1.5): +144
|A’s (+1.5): -172
|Over 9: -104
|Under 9: -118
The Astros will counter with a southpaw of their own in Framber Valdez. After a solid regular season as a starter, Valdez pitched five scoreless innings in relief during Game 1 of Houston’s wild-card series against the Minnesota Twins.
Oddsmakers see the matchup as something of a tossup, with both the Astros and the Athletics fetching -108 odds to win on Tuesday. Oakland, in particular, will see Game 2 as critical, though the A’s don’t feel like their backs are up against the wall just yet.
“We have to look at it like we have to win three out of a four-game series,” Oakland first baseman Matt Olson told reporters. “We’ve done that plenty of times throughout the season.”