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Schedule gives Astros early look at A's, Mariners

HOUSTON -- Even so far as division opponents go, the Astros are getting extra familiar with the A's and Mariners these days.

Houston is in the midst of 13 out of 15 games against Oakland and Seattle, with Thursday's series opener the seventh game of that stretch.

While so many games against division opponents is nothing new in baseball, almost exclusively playing two teams for two weeks is still an oddity.

One Astro who is happy with the familiarity is prospect George Springer, who is playing only his fourth series since being called up.

"It's an advantage to play the same teams and understand how they work and how they operate," he said. "At the same time, it's also a completely different series. They could be approaching us differently."

But with 162 total games and only four days since the teams last met, catcher Carlos Corporan said it's far more likely that the teams will have a similar approach.

"When you play a team over and over, you start getting comfortable with them, both the pitchers and hitters," Corporan said. "We've played great baseball against the Mariners and need to do better against the A's. There's no surprises."

Houston manager Bo Porter said the condensed time between series against the A's and Mariners streamlines scouting for the teams.

"We have less meetings -- no sense in meeting about a team you just played three days ago," Porter said. "We know this team pretty well. From a scouting standpoint, when you're playing the same teams in a short time frame, their pitchers are going to know our guys and our pitchers are going to know their guys and vice versa. It's less work watching film."

Corporan did say the A's and Mariners are a unique pair, though, because both teams will adjust their play from home to away due to the spacious ballparks they call home.

"[The A's] field is kind of weird with all the foul territory, and they're used to it and they play like it," Corporan said. "Then, Safeco is cold this time of year, and the ballpark plays big up there.

"There's some baserunning and defensive adjustments that will be different, but they're the same teams, still."

That would be both a good and bad thing for the Astros. Oakland is a dominant 18-4 against Houston since the two became American League West rivals last season, while the Astros are 11-11 against the Mariners dating back to 2013.

Chris Abshire is a contributor to
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