Why A's should hope for MLB playoffs matchup with Yankees, not Astros


Boy, that escalated quickly.

After exploding for 21 runs against Seattle on Sunday, the Astros pounced on Mike Fiers and the A's for 11 more in the first two innings Monday night. Houston breezed to a 15-0 win, setting a franchise record with 36 runs in a two-game span. It also snapped the A's stretch of 104 straight games without being shut out, which was the longest active streak in the majors. That now belongs to the Astros at 54 straight games.

Sure, this only counts as one loss in the standings, but it serves a larger point, one we probably already knew. The A's match up far better with the Yankees than the Astros.

Houston and New York are battling for the best record in the American League -- the two squads are currently tied at 95-50. Whichever team ends up on top will face the winner of the AL Wild Card Game in the ALDS. In other words, the A's should be huge Yankees fans for the rest of the regular season.

It's not that the Yankees aren't also a great team, but the Astros are simply at a different level. While both teams feature terrific lineups and bullpens, Houston's starting pitching is vastly superior to New York's.

The ALDS is a best-of-five series, meaning the Astros could run out Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole, Zack Greinke, and if necessary, Wade Miley. Good luck winning more than a game against that foursome.

Meanwhile, the Yankees' starting pitching ranks 18th in the majors with a 4.65 ERA. Masahiro Tanaka, J.A. Happ, and CC Sabathia have all been shaky this year. James Paxton and Domingo Germán have been a little bit better, but still far from unhittable.

This season, the A's won four of six games against the Yankees, and it probably should have been five of six. Against the Astros, it's been a different story, with Oakland now just 5-11 after Monday's loss.

[RELATED: Re-ranking A's top prospects at end of minor league season]

Of course, the A's primary concern right now is simply making the playoffs, and hopefully winning the Wild Card Game. But Oakland fans might want to keep an eye on the battle between the Yankees and Astros, as well.

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