OAK-HOU Gm. 4 lineups, FAQ (TBS, 3:30 ET)

October 8th, 2020

You didn’t think the A’s were going to go down without a fight, did you?

Oakland, which ran away from the Astros in the American League West this year and won seven of 10 head-to-head meetings, is back in this AL Division Series after rallying from three runs down to win Game 3, 9-7, on Wednesday. The A’s will try to stave off elimination and force a deciding fifth game in Thursday’s Game 4 at Dodger Stadium.

In the history of best-of-five postseason series, teams with a 2-1 lead have gone on to win the series 62 of 87 times (71 percent). However, last season, two of the three teams that fell behind 2-1 in the Division Series -- the Nationals (vs. Dodgers) and Cardinals (vs. Braves) -- came back to win.

The Astros were nine outs away from finishing off the A’s in Game 3 before Oakland finally broke through against Houston’s bullpen, scoring five late runs in what could be a turning point in the series. The Astros need one win to advance to the AL Championship Series for the fourth year in a row.

When is the game and how can I watch it?
The game will air on TBS at 3:30 p.m. ET/2:30 p.m. CT/12:30 p.m. PT on Thursday. It is also available to stream on MLB.TV with authentication.

Who will be the 'home' team?
By virtue of having higher playoff seeding, the A’s batted last in Game 1 and Game 2. The Astros hit last in Game 3 and will do so again in Game 4. Should the series advance to Game 5, Oakland would be considered the home team for that winner-take-all contest.

What do the starting lineups look like?
Second baseman Tommy La Stella was back in the lineup a day after he was hit by a pitch on the right elbow. With the Astros starting Zack Greinke, the lefty-hitting Robbie Grossman returned to the A's lineup, with Stephen Piscotty sitting.

Astros: With right-hander going in Game 4, Josh Reddick is back in the lineup after being replaced by in Game 3. Even though Carlos Correa reached base three times in Game 3 from the fifth spot, Astros manager Dusty Baker slotted the shortstop at sixth on Thursday.

Who are the starting pitchers?
Montas gets the call for his first career postseason start. The right-hander impressed out of the bullpen in Oakland's win over the White Sox in Game 3 of the Wild Card Series, showing off his 98 mph fastball as he allowed one run over two innings. Montas went 2-1 with a 4.11 ERA against Houston over three starts during the regular season.

Astros: Greinke will make his first start since the Astros’ postseason opener on Sept. 29, when he tossed four innings of one-run ball at Minnesota despite three walks. His status for the AL Division Series was in question until Thursday due to arm soreness.

How will the bullpens line up after the starter?
The A’s received a heroic three-inning effort from closer in Game 3, and despite throwing 37 pitches, you can bet the right-hander will be available for Game 4. Setup man was not used in Game 3 and should also be in line for at least an inning of work in a high-leverage spot.

Astros: Houston’s bullpen is getting thinner by the game. The silver lining for Baker is -- one of his key leverage relievers -- and closer didn’t pitch in Game 3 after working in the first two games of the series. They should be good to go for Game 4. Houston’s path to victory is clearer when Paredes and Pressly are pitching late in the game with a lead, as we were reminded in Game 3 when the Astros couldn’t protect a three-run advantage heading into the seventh.

Are there any relievers who are unavailable?
pitched a third day in a row for the first time this season in Game 3 and is likely out for Game 4.

Astros: threw 24 pitches in Game 3 and lefty threw 38, so both are likely out for Game 4.

Any injuries of note?
La Stella left Game 3 after getting hit directly on his right elbow by a 90.6 mph sinker. After X-rays revealed no fracture or break, La Stella was diagnosed with a right elbow contusion. Melvin did not rule out La Stella for Game 4, though the A’s will wait for the second baseman to take batting practice before making a determination.

If La Stella is unable to go, the A’s have plenty of options to fill his spot. , who got the bulk of playing time at second before the club acquired La Stella, is the likely candidate. Though the A’s could also move Pinder to second and start at third.

Astros: Greinke was dealing with arm soreness, but he's scheduled to start Game 4.

Who is hot and who is not?
A's: Pinder went 3-for-4 with a homer and four RBIs in Game 3, which puts him at 7-for-18 over six postseason games. … Olson is 2-for-19 in six postseason games, though both hits have been homers, including a solo shot in Game 3.

Astros: Altuve went 3-for-5 with a homer in Game 3, which was his seventh career three-hit game in the playoffs. Correa went 1-for-2 with two walks in Game 3 and is hitting .400 in the series. Brantley went 2-for-5 in Game 3 and is hitting .286 in the series. Springer was held hitless in Game 3, but is still batting .462 in the series with a 1.500 OPS. Tucker has hit safely in all five games of the playoffs (.350 overall), and Bregman (.364 in the ALDS) is also swinging it well. Gurriel (.100) and Reddick (.125) are scuffling in the ALDS.

Anything else fans want to know?
A's: Oakland is seeking its first comeback from a 2-0 hole in a postseason series. The A's are 2-6 all time in the ALDS.

Astros: Correa notched the 40th RBI of his postseason career in Game 3, which is tied with Mickey Mantle for 15th on the all-time list. … Bregman ranks fourth in Astros history with 29 RBIs in the postseason. … Altuve has 14 postseason home runs since 2017, which is the second-most in the Majors behind only Springer’s 16. … Thursday will be the Astros’ 13th consecutive game away from Minute Maid Park. Houston closed the regular season with seven games on the road.