Two teams in the playoff hunt open up an Interleague series Tuesday night when the Oakland A’s host the Milwaukee Brewers. It’s a series both teams will be desperate to win with the trade deadline approaching.
Oakland is likely out of the running in the AL West, sitting eight games back of the Astros. However, the A’s have a slim hold on the second Wild Card spot, which is probably their only hope of returning to the playoffs. They have gone 10-6 since the All-Star break, but they have also lost five of their last eight games, so they will be looking to find some consistency.
Meanwhile, the Brewers are locked in a tight, three-team race in the NL Central. They are currently a game behind both the Cubs and Cardinals, who are also tied for the second Wild Card spot. That gives Milwaukee more than one way back to the playoffs, although they would prefer to win the division, so they need to find a way to get hot down the stretch.
In the House
With their rotation decimated by injuries, the Brewers will turn to Adrian Houser to make a spot start on Tuesday. Houser has made six starts this season, going 0-4 with a 7.83 ERA. On the other hand, he’s 4-0 with a 1.47 in 17 relief appearances. Unfortunately for the Brewers, they don’t have much choice but to give Houser the start and hope for the best.
Not surprisingly, Houser has never faced any of Oakland’s hitters before. He’ll face a lineup that’s struggled a little over the past week. Marcus Semien is red hot, but power threats like Matt Olson, Matt Chapman, and Khris Davis have all been contained over the past week. The wild card of the group could be Ramon Laureano, who is in the midst of a breakout season and has been one of the few hitters in Oakland’s lineup to produce in recent days.
The Bass Man
The A’s will send Chris Bassitt to the mound on Tuesday night. In 17 starts this year, Bassitt has been solid, going 7-5 with a 4.09 ERA. He’s had a few dominant outings against poor offensive teams, but against quality major league lineups, the A’s just hope that he can give them five or six good innings and keep them in the game.
The Brewers certainly qualify as a quality lineup. Milwaukee’s lineup can be particularly troubling for right-handed pitchers, given the parade of lefties and switch-hitters the Brewers can send to the plate, led by Christian Yelich, who is once again a serious MVP candidate. In addition to Yelich, Yasmani Grandal and rookie Keston Hiura are also swinging hot bats at the moment. However, this could be a good time to catch the Brewers, as Mike Moustakas, Ryan Braun, and others are struggling.
Don’t Bet the House
This is one of those games that could easily go either way. But the fact that the Brewers have no choice but to start Houser is the determining factor. Milwaukee has not fared well with him starting games, which doesn’t bode well against playoff-caliber teams. Bet on the Athletics to beat the Brewers on Tuesday.
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