Astros announce starters for Game 1 and 2 of ALDS vs. A's


The A's and Houston Astros have set their starters for the first two games of the American League Division Series beginning Monday. 

Bob Melvin announced the A's will start Chris Bassitt in Game 1 and Sean Manaea in Game 2. Later Sunday, Astros manager Dusty Baker named Lance McCullers Jr. his starter to open the series, and Framber Valdez will follow him. 

That means the A's will not see Zack Greinke until at least Game 3, unless he comes out of the bullpen before that. 

McCullers, 27, went 3-3 with a 3.93 ERA in the regular season after missing all of last year from Tommy John surgery. He faced the A's once this year and came out with a win on Aug. 29 after allowing just one earned run while striking out seven batters in six innings. 

McCullers is yet to pitch this postseason, and has a 2.53 career ERA in the playoffs over 11 appearances -- four starts.

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Valdez, 26, went 5-3 with a 3.57 ERA in the regular season. He earned a win against the Minnesota Twins in the AL Wild Card Series after throwing five shutout innings out of the bullpen. 

The left-hander faced the A's just once this season. He was charged with a loss on Aug. 8 despite striking out nine batters and allowing only one earned run over seven innings.

After the first two games of the ALDS, it's anyone's best guess who will be handed the ball as the starter for both sides.

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