Daz Cameron, A’s set to size up Astros’ Justin Verlander

Field Level Media

May 24, 2024 at 11:44 am.

Daz Cameron will get an opportunity to exact a measure of revenge against the franchise that never gave him a chance when the Oakland Athletics open a three-game series against the visiting Houston Astros on Friday night.

The series represents a rematch of a four-game set in Houston last week. The Astros outscored Oakland 22-4 in sweeping that series.

The A’s didn’t have Cameron at the time. He was playing for Triple-A Las Vegas — the Astros’ affiliate — but that assignment ended Wednesday night when he was pulled from a game in Tacoma and told to catch a flight to Oakland.

An infield single and game-tying, solo home run in the ninth inning of his A’s debut were part of a game of extremes for Cameron. He also grounded into a double play with the potential winning run on second base in the 10th and was called back to the dugout with the bases loaded in the 11th to be replaced by a pinch hitter.

That hitter, Tyler Soderstrom, drew a four-pitch walk from Colorado’s Peter Lambert to cap a game-winning, five-run rally as the A’s prevailed 10-9.

Afterward, Cameron was as much the center of attention as anyone in his first big-league game since a 21-game stint with the Detroit Tigers in 2022. He even had to put a congratulatory phone call from his father, former big-leaguer Mike Cameron, on hold to do a television interview.

“My dad’s excited,” the younger Cameron said. “He’s calling me. ‘Let’s talk about the game today.’ He loves the game. We both talk about what’s going on around the league.”

During the interview, his father posted a tweet that read: “Quite the day for the young fella on a few hours of sleep. Proud of him. Been working for this moment for two years. Now healthy and poised.”

Two years after having been the first-round pick of the Astros in 2015, Daz Cameron was dealt to the Detroit Tigers as part of a package for the pitcher he will face if he gets another start Friday — Astros right-hander Justin Verlander (2-2, 3.97 ERA).

Cameron played parts of three seasons for the Tigers. His home run Thursday was the sixth of his career in 74 games.

Verlander, 41, has been one of the biggest thorns in the A’s side over his career, especially in the postseason. He has beaten the A’s four times in the playoffs, including recording scoreless performances in a decisive Game 5 of the 2012 American League Division Series as well as Game 2 of the 2013 ALDS.

Overall, Verlander is 16-8 with a 2.64 ERA in 28 career regular-season starts against Oakland.

Verlander made a rare return to Detroit two starts ago, turning back the clock with seven shutout innings in a 9-3 win. It came immediately following a poor outing against the New York Yankees, in which he was roughed up for seven runs in five innings in a 10-3 loss on May 7.

“There’s a benefit to having been through a lot of bad starts and not-too-successful times in your career,” Verlander said after the Detroit game. “You have a lot of stuff to draw on from the past and know kind of what you need to do to fix it.”

Hoping to hand the Astros a second straight loss for the first time since a four-game skid from May 4-8, the A’s will counter with Ross Stripling (1-8, 5.19). The 34-year-old right-hander has lost three in a row since his lone win on May 1.

The losing streak includes a 9-2 decision at Houston last Monday in which he allowed just two earned runs in five innings. That left him 1-2 with a 4.37 ERA in five lifetime starts against the Astros.

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