Bartolo Colon’s strong 2012 season ended abruptly in a bad way.
Colon was suspended for failing a drug test in the midst of a 2012 season in which he had won 10 games and posted a solid 3.43 ERA. The A’s eventually adopted a rotation chock full of rookies, and the rotation helped carry the A’s into the playoffs. The rotation has also helped carry the 3-2 A’s on a three-game winning streak, which has followed a poor 0-2 start.
On Friday night in Houston, Dan Straily pitched six and one-thirds innings, giving up two runs and earning the win. Coco Crisp opened the game with a leadoff home run, and he drove in two with a double in the fifth inning. The A’s have averaged 7.3 runs per game during their three-game winning streak, and Tommy Milone, A.J. Griffin and Straily have all allowed two runs or less.
And now, it’s up to Colon to continue that trend against Houston’s ace.
Bud Norris will take the hill for the Astros, following a solid Opening Night game in which he surrendered two runs in five and two-thirds innings, earning the win for Houston. Houston is 1-3 and is in for a long season, as the Rangers took two of three games from them and the A’s won one game. All-Star second baseman Jose Altuve is 7-for-16 (.438) this year, but he has been about the only bright spot for the Astros.
For the A’s, former Astros shortstop Jed Lowrie has been dominating. He is also 7-for-16, and he has a .550 on-base percentage as well (he has reached base 11 times in 2o plate appearances). Lowrie has a four-game hitting streak and hit second in Oakland’s batting order on Friday, and he should do the same Saturday.
After filling up about one-third of the seats in the Oakland Coliseum on Thursday, April 4 against the Seattle Mariners (likely due to poor play), Oakland is finally playing like the 2012 AL West champions. The A’s are ninth in on-base percentage (OBP) with a decent .318 mark and are fifth in runs scored with 23 (4.6 per game). The A’s are ready to win again, and they are ready to take over first place again (which they can do if the Rangers lose to the Angels).
Can the A’s, who will likely return first baseman Brandon Moss from injury, win their fourth straight and take over first place in the AL West? I predict Colon to redeem himself and prove that steroids weren’t the cause of his success, and I also predict Lowrie, Crisp and the red-hot A’s offense (which has averaged 7.3 runs per game) to pound Norris and Oakland to win its fourth consecutive game.
The game starts at 4:10 PM PT, and Golden Gate Sports will have a full recap up after the game.