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Astros series preview: Q's only

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With the A's and Astros squaring off for three games, I asked The Crawfish Boxes a few questions about their favorite team. They were unavailable for comment this week, but here are the questions I asked to give you an idea of what's going on in Houston.

The Oakland Athletics took care of business against the Angels last weekend by capturing two of three games, and they are now just one game out of first place as the month of August winds down. The offense got back on its feet, though it didn't tally any blowout wins last week, and the pitching is still more hit than miss (or, more miss than hit, looking at it from the batter's perspective). The A's now travel to Houston to try to avenge the series loss they suffered in their last visit at the end of July.

These are the expected pitching matchups for the series:

Mon: Jeff Samardzija vs. Scott Feldman
Tue: Jason Hammel vs. Dallas Keuchel
Wed: TBD (Drew Pomeranz?) vs. Brad Peacock

Shark and Hammel will make yet another attempt to perform like the pitchers who cost the A's a premium price in July. Oakland hasn't announced who will start on Wednesday, but it's expected to be a spot fill-in (likely Drew Pomeranz) so that the Big Four of Gray, Lester, Kazmir and Shark can all pitch in Anaheim starting Thursday.

Feldman and Keuchel each pitched well in their last matchups against the A's. Feldman went seven innings and allowed just one run (though the A's scored six in the ninth to win the game), and Keuchel tossed a complete game and allowed only one run as well. Peacock, on the other hand, got smoked for seven runs and didn't make it out of the fourth in his last try against Oakland. He then got shelled twice more in his next four starts after that. It's starting to look like Peacock might not be that good, and that his part of the Jed Lowrie deal is working out in the Oakland's favor.

1. The Astros made a noteworthy trade at the deadline, sending frustrating starting pitcher Jarred Cosart and fourth outfielder Kike Hernandez to the Miami Marlins in exchange for outfielder Jake Marisnick and last year's No. 6 overall draft pick, Colin Moran. What can you tell us about the 23-year-old Marisnick, both on offense (.299/.313/.377, 94 OPS+) and defense (plus-9 Defensive Runs Saved in 21 games, mostly in center field)?

Here's a recent FanPost about Marisnick:

2. Chris Carter caught fire in the second half and already has 30 home runs on the season. He's still striking out a ton (over 30 percent of his plate appearances), and his OBP is still too low (.298), but has he reached a point where his power more than makes up for his deficiencies? Will he still be in Houston in 2015, or do you think the Astros will trade him this winter to cash in on his career year?

A couple of recent posts about Carter:

3. Dexter Fowler is having a career year at the plate in his first season out of Colorado (121 OPS+, 126 wRC+), but his defensive metrics in center field are abysmal. Has he proven to be a worthwhile acquisition for this young team? Have his contributions extended beyond the field in the form of veteran leadership or other intangibles?

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The series started 10 minutes ago, Samardzija vs. Feldman. And that's all I have to say about that.

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