The Oakland Athletics edged out the Los Angeles Angels last night for a 3-2 win. The scored looked close, but the Athletics were able to double up the Angels with 12 hits compared to 6. The A’s are still in the midst of the American League wildcard race. Nothing is a guarantee for Oakland going into Thursday. They can either host the Wild Card Game, which they would be doing if the postseason started today, or fall out of the postseason all together.
With a 2-game lead over the Indians, the least likely scenario would have the A’s falling out of the playoffs. However, they have just a half game lead over the Rays for homefield in the Wild Card Game. Having to fly from west to east or east to west would be a considerable advantage for the home team. Other than those three teams, there isn’t anyone in the discussion. The Red Sox are behind the Indians and that’s by 10 games, so they’re statistically out of the mix.
Everyone has clinched in the National League, with only this race left to be decided. The A’s have gone 5-2 in their previous seven games and 11-3 in their last 14 games to get in this position. They’ve been playing clutch baseball and definitely deserve to be going to the postseason. It’d be tough to bet against them in the Wild Card round as well. They could even be good for an upset in the ALDS. First things first, though, and the A’s must close the regular season out strong.
The Seattle Mariners are playing for nothing tonight, of course, but it’s going to be an emotional night, nonetheless. In what is likely to be his last start as a Mariner, Felix Hernandez will toe the rubber on Thursday night. His career dates all the way back to 2005, all of them spent with the Mariners. Sadly enough, Hernandez never got a chance to play for a World Series in the postseason.
He could catch on with a team in the offseason to add depth to an already strong rotation, though. Sean Manaea, who has been blazing hot since returning to the rotation, is expected to counter for the A’s. Head below for our free Athletics vs. Mariners pick.
Oakland Athletics vs. Seattle Mariners Pick:
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Felix Hernandez has been struggling in his final season with the Mariners, which begs the question whether anyone is going to want him in 2019. He seems to be running out of gas and should probably call it a career, but if a contender comes calling why not. Hernandez would have to accept the minimum in exchange for a chance to go to the World Series.
If he pitches anything like this, he’s not going to be contributing much, though. Hernandez owns an ERA of 6.51 and 1.52 WHIP in 66.1 innings of work. He will be looking for only his second win in his last outing of the year.
He has been way off the mark recently as well. Hernandez is coming off a brutal effort in Baltimore, having allowed 8 hits and 5 earned runs in 5 innings. He also allowed 7 hits and 7 earned runs against the Astros in 2 innings recently. In his most recent three outings, Hernandez has posted an 8.36 ERA and 1.79 WHIP.
The power numbers have been up against Hernandez for the Athletics. They have connected for 9 long balls and 22 runs in 170 at-bats. I will say that he’s been good at home, with a 3.30 ERA and 1.17 WHIP. He may very well have a sharp finale in Seattle, but the bullpen isn’t likely to help him out, and Manaea has been on fire. Seattle’s bullpen is 22nd in the majors with a 4.84 ERA.
Meanwhile, Manaea has a 3-0 record and 1.14 ERA in 23.2 innings this season. He had to wait because of an injury that kept him out until September 1st. The wait was worth it, though, as Manaea hasn’t allowed more than 2 runs in a start. And on the road, he hasn’t allowed a run yet across 11 innings. The Mariners are hitting just .218 with 1 home run hit against him in 78 at-bats.
While this is likely Hernandez’s last start in Seattle, the A’s are playing for the postseason. It doesn’t automatically mean he’s going to pitch well, too. Just ask CC Sabathia. The A’s begin their final series of the season with a win in Seattle by a score of 6-3 or 5-2.