HOUSTON -- Just as the Houston Astros approach optimal health for the first time in two months, the Oakland Athletics received on Tuesday a double dose of troubling news related to injuries.
Left-hander Brett Anderson, shelled for five runs over 2 2/3 innings on Monday against the Astros, returned to Oakland to undergo tests after experiencing forearm discomfort during the appearance.
Anderson struggled to throw his breaking ball and recorded zero swings and misses on his 16 sliders. He had allowed just two earned runs over four August starts prior to suffering the loss, and was placed on the 10-day disabled list for the second time in 2018.
Additionally, ace left-hander Sean Manaea was, following further examination, diagnosed with rotator cuff tendinitis after initially being placed on the DL over the weekend with a left shoulder impingement. Manaea, who far and away leads the Athletics with 160 2/3 innings pitched, has been shut down with no immediate timetable for his return.
Right-handers Daniel Mengden and Frankie Montas will replace Anderson and Manaea in the rotation, with Montas slated to start on Thursday and Mengden on Saturday against the Seattle Mariners.
Oakland starting pitchers have now combined for 11 stints on the DL.
"Obviously not ideal to lose two more starters this late in the season but again, like it has all season for us, gives somebody else an opportunity," Athletics manager Bob Melvin said. "Mengden and Montas have both done a good job for us over the course of the season and they'll be the next two guys up.
"We've kind of had waves as the season's went along starting in spring training. With Sean being the only guy that was in the rotation the entire season, that one's probably a little more difficult, not that any of them aren't difficult. But to lose your guy who's been the ace of your staff for the better part of the season, that one's a little tougher to digest. But again, it's what we have to deal with and we move forward."
Oakland evened the three-game series with a 4-3 win Tuesday night.
Right-hander Trevor Cahill (5-2, 3.44 ERA) will start the rubber match Wednesday for the Athletics (80-53). For Cahill, it will mark his 300th career appearance. He is 1-3 with a 6.92 ERA over eight road starts this season and is 2-1 with a 4.13 ERA over five career appearances (four starts) against Houston. Cahill is 1-1 with a 3.24 ERA over three starts against the Astros this season.
Left-hander Dallas Keuchel (10-10, 3.54 ERA) starts on Wednesday for Houston (81-51). He is 6-6 with a 2.99 ERA in his career against Oakland, 1-2 with a 5.23 ERA over three starts in 2018.
When Astros right-hander Charlie Morton completed his outing in Tuesday's loss with 89 pitches on his ledger, it marked the fifth time in as many starts this month that he tossed fewer than 100 pitches. In fact, of the 20 combined starts from Justin Verlander, Dallas Keuchel, Gerrit Cole and Morton in August, that quartet has totaled five 100-pitch outings. All four are averaging fewer than 100 pitches per start this month.
"I think my mindset is to go with the starter as long as he's effective, as long as we feel like he's the best option at the current time," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "Our bullpen, as deep as it's gotten, has created some earlier opportunities for me to get guys off the field in the early- to mid-90s. But I'm always mindful."