The Oakland Athletics are officially going to the postseason and they didn’t even have to win last night. With the Tampa Bay Rays losing, it officially knocked them out of postseason contention and giving the Athletics a gimme on Monday night. The A’s would love to catch the Yankees and get homefield for the Wild Card Game, though. A game in Oakland is a little different than having to travel to the east coast and play at Yankee Stadium in front of a hostile environment.
Nevertheless, the Athletics don’t have to worry about getting into the postseason anymore, their ride in the American League will continue in October. They didn’t do it with any big-time names. With the Yankees having problems with their pitching, they could be ripe for an upset regardless of where the game is at.
The Athletics are a team that people have discounted all season long, so if there aren’t many believers, I don’t they are going to care. Then again, you will have people on the opposite side with no faith in the Yankees. The Yanks utilized what is becoming a familiar tactic by teams. They used it against the team that popularized it last night, the Rays, as the Yankees went with the bullpen approach.
Jonathan Holder started the game and just pitched one inning before hanging the ball off to the next guy. Aaron Boone said that they won’t be using this method against the A’s next week, but I imagine the starter, whoever that may be, is going to have a short leash. The Yankees have been silent on naming a starter. Likewise, the Athletics don’t have a clear starter lined up to go in that game. It’s likely to be Mike Fiers, but we’ll see how they approach the situation. Head below for our free Athletics vs. Mariners pick.
Oakland Athletics vs. Seattle Mariners Pick
Brett Anderson (4-5, 3.96 ERA) vs. Mike Leake (10-10, 4.10 ERA)
Brett Anderson is a pitcher who is getting some consideration for the starting job in the play-in game, but it may depend on where the game is. If it’s at Yankee Stadium, where in all likelihood, that’s where it’s going to be, the Athletics may want to stay away from Anderson. He has been great at home, though the road tells a different story for him. Anderson owns a nice ERA of 2.01 at home. If the game is at the Coliseum, I wouldn’t hesitate to go with Anderson. However, his numbers take a dive when heading out of town.
He has a 5.36 ERA, 1.51 WHIP, and .356 OBA on the road in 2018. Anderson got shellacked in his most recent outings on the road, as he allowed 4 runs to the Orioles and 5 to the Astros. He also gave up 7 hits in each, 3.1 innings the longest he went on the mound. The Mariners have been adequate against Anderson, as they are hitting .258 with 4 long balls in 124 at-bats. Nelson Cruz is responsible for 2. Anderson enters Tuesday night with an ERA of 6.39 and 1.42 WHIP in his last three starts on the bump.
Leake enters tonight pitching well with an ERA of 2.79 and 0.93 WHIP in his last three outings. He has starts against the A’s on August 15th and the 31st. One was a brilliant effort by Leake, as he paved the way with just 2 hits and 0 runs allowed across 8 innings. He also gave up only 1 walk and averaged 11.9 pitches per inning. Not the case in the next start, with the A’s railing him for 6 runs. The Athletics didn’t have to win last night but they did anyway. They are now in the postseason. I’m going to look at this as a spot play and expect the A’s to look a little “hungover” after clinching last night. Anderson is no one to feel comfortable about on the road. This looks like a good spot for the Mariners to pick up a moral victory.