THIS DATE IN ASTROS HISTORY:
1998 - Sean Berry hits a walk-off solo homer in the bottom of the 9th for a 4-3 Astros win over the Expos...Craig Biggio breaks Cesar Cedeno’s franchise record by scoring his 891st career run in the win.
1966 - Houston plays the first Major League game on artificial turf in the Astrodome...Dodgers’ pitcher Don Sutton earns his first career win in the 6-3 victory over the Astros.
OAKLAND -- ON THE ROAD AGAIN: Tonight’s game marks the first of a six-game, west coast road trip for the Astros as they take on the A’s in Oakland (Fri-Sun) and the Mariners in Seattle (Mon-Wed).
ROAD WARRIORS: The Astros are in the midst of a stretch that will see them play 12 of 15 games on the road between April 8-23...the club recently had a quick, three-game home series against the Royals that came after a six-game road trip in Toronto (1-2) and Texas (1-2).
TONIGHT’S GAME: RHP Jarred Cosart (1-1)will make his fourth start of the season as he goes up against the A’s and RHP Sonny Gray (2-0)...Cosart has faced the Athletics twice in his career...both outings were quality starts and resulted in Astros wins...has allowed just one earned run in 13.0 total innings against the club (0.69 ERA).
YOUNG GUNS: Tonight’s starting pitching matchup includes two of the top young pitchers in baseball...since his MLB debut on 7/12/13, Cosart (23) ranks sixth in the American League in ERA, while Gray (24) ranks fourth (min. 60IP).
AL ERA leaders since 7/12/13:
1. Darvish (TEX) - 2.24 4. Gray (OAK) - 2.33
2. Iwakuma (SEA) - 2.27 5. Sanchez (DET) - 2.34
3. Cobb (TB) - 2.29 6. Cosart (HOU) - 2.42
LAST NIGHT’S RECAP: The Astros were defeated by the Royals in the series finale last night by a score of 5-1...RHP Scott Feldman (2-1) suffered his first loss of the year after allowing four earned runs in 6.0 innings...RHP Anthony Bass (0ER/3.0IP) was perfect over the final three frames of the game...RF George Springer (1x4) recorded his second career Major League hit in his second MLB game while 3B Matt Dominguez (1x3) pushed his career and team-high hitting streak to seven games.
ULTIMATE WAR-RIOR: Despite receiving his first loss of the year last night, RHP Scott Feldman currently ranks third among all AL players in WAR according to Baseball-Reference with a 1.2 mark...ahead of Feldman are RHP Yu Darvish (1.3) and SS Alexei Ramirez (1.2).
START ME UP: Astros starters have posted a combined 3.00 ERA (15ER/45IP) in their last seven games...for the season, Astros starters have posted a 3.87 ERA (40ER/93IP) in 16 games with a .233 opponents’ batting average, which ranks sixth in the AL.
STANDING TALL: 2B Jose Altuve has not made an error in his last 51 games and 239 total chances (last error was on 8/16/13 at LAA)...since 7/9/13, he has made just one error in 79 games and 368 TC for a .997 fielding percentage, which is tops in the Majors in that span among second basemen.
STEADY UP THE MIDDLE: Among qualifying players, Altuve and SS Jonathan Villar are the only second base-shortstop combo in the Majors this season that has not committed an error (143 combined total chances).
GOING BACK TO CALI: The Astros are 5-20 all-time vs. the A’s...they were 4-15 vs. Oakland in 2013 (3-7 at O.co Coliseum).
CATCHING ON: Since 2013, Castro Valley, CA-native and Stanford grad Jason Castro leads all MLB catchers in slugging (.515) and on-base percentage (.362)...ranks third in home runs (19) among AL catchers over that span...his OPS as a catcher is .877 since 2013.
ROSTER MOVE: The Astros selected LHP Raul Valdes from Triple A Oklahoma City yesterday and optioned LHP Kevin Chapman to OKC.
DYNAMIC DUO: Since July 12, 2013, RHP Jarred Cosart and LHP Brett Oberholtzer have a combined ERA of 2.47 (44ER/160.1IP), which is tops in the AL for teammates in that span (min. 75 IP)...Tigers RHP Anibal Sanchez and RHP Max Scherzer are second with a 2.52 ERA (60ER/214.2IP) in that span.
THE MAGIC NUMBER FOUR: The Astros are 4-1 when they score four or more runs this season.
CLOSE CALLS: Six of the Astros last seven games have been decided by two runs or less (three one-run contests)...they are 2-4 in those games.
GOIN’ DEEP: The Astros are tied for third in the AL in homers with 18...they are 5-4 in games that they homer in this season, and 0-7 when they do not homer.
MOST HR - AL CLUBS:
1. LAA - 24
2. CWS - 20
3. HOU - 18
TOR - 18
THROWING SOME LEATHER: As a club, the Astros rank 4th in the Majors and 2nd in the AL in fielding pct. with a .991 mark (6 E, 639 TC).
Highest fielding percentage in the AL:
1. Baltimore - .994
2. Houston - .991
3. New York - .990
GROUND CONTROL: The Astros pitching staff ranks first in the American League and second in the Majors in ground ball to fly ball ratio with a 2.00 mark...Jarred Cosart (2.54), Dallas Keuchel (2.29) and Scott Feldman (2.14) all rank among the AL’s top 12 pitchers in GB/FB ratio...since 1987 (the year the stat was first tracked), the Astros have never had more than two starters post groundball to fly ball ratios higher than 2.00 for a full season.
YOUNGBLOODS: The Astros currently have the youngest roster in the Majors, averaging 27.2 years old...they are followed by MIA (27.4) and ATL (27.4).
MINOR SUCCESS: In 2014, the Astros minor league clubs have a combined record of 35-22 (.614), which ranks third among all organizations...the Astros combined minor league record over the past two seasons (2012-13) was tops among all organizations (were last in 2010-11)
2014 Minor League Records
1. New York Mets: 37-18 (.673)
1. Cincinnati Reds: 34-21 (.618)
3. Houston Astros: 35-22 (.614)
YESTERDAY IN THE MINORS: At Double A Corpus Christi, DH Preson Tucker (2x4, HR, RBI) hit his third homer of the season...he ranks tied for third in the Texas League in homers (3) and fifth in OPS (.951)