American League Preview from The Sports Network
Friday, April 18th (All times Eastern)
Houston Astros (5-11) at Oakland Athletics (10-5), 10:05 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Houston - Jarred Cosart (1-1, 4.00) Oakland - Sonny Gray (2-0, 0.95)
(SportsNetwork.com) - Sonny Gray tries to continue his impressive start to the season on Friday when the Oakland Athletics start a three-game series against the Houston Astros at O.co Coliseum.
Gray has been magnificent thus far for the A's, going 2-0, while allowing just two earned runs (0.95 ERA) in 19 innings. he was brilliant against the Seattle MAriners on Saturday, holding them to a run and five hits with nine strikeouts over seven innings.
"I definitely felt good tonight," Gray said. "I was able to make my pitches, but I still have to prepare myself better for the early innings and get in that routine, that rhythm early on."
Gray also held the Mariners' bats 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position.
"That's who he is. He does have a tendency to tighten up a little bit when he has to," Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. "He fields his position well and does a lot of things to help himself. He's a tough competitor and hates giving up runs, and when he ends up with guys on base is making pitches when he has to."
That could be bad news for an Astros team that has lost four in a row following a 5-1 loss to the Kansas City Royals on Thursday.
Scott Feldman (2-1) surrendered five runs -- four earned -- on nine hits and a walk over six frames for the Astros, who have lost five of their last six.
"It seemed like they were just putting the bat on the ball early and often," Feldman admitted of the Royals. "It was just kind of one of those nights."
Getting the call for the Astros on Friday will be 23-year-old righty Jarred Cosart, who is 1-1 with a 4.00 ERA. Cosart may have had his best stuff this season on Saturday in Texas, but did not get a decision, as he allowed three runs, six hits and struck out eight in seven innings of his team's 6-5 win.
"It's kind of one of those things. Last year, the walks were too high and the strikeouts were too low," Cosart said. "Like I told everyone from the beginning, it was something I really worked on during spring training, and I just let everything take over and see how it works, and it has been paying off."
Oakland had its four-game winning streak stopped by Los Angeles on Wednesday, as Luke Gregorson blew a ninth-inning lead and Chris Ianetta homered with two outs in the 12th to carry the Angels to a 5-4 win.
Still, the A's closed a nine-game road trip at 7-2.
"We battled hard again, and we had a couple of chances to win," Melvin said. "You're not going to win them all. You've got to move on. We had a good trip."
Oakland was 15-4 against the Astros last season, including wins in seven of the 10 matchups in the Coliseum.
04/18 10:21:39 ET