The Oakland Athletics struck first on Monday afternoon with a 6-3 victory over the Yankees. If that were the Wild Card Game, the Athletics would be moving on to the next round of the postseason. As it is, though, this series is likely going to be a preview of that game. The setting is probably going to be different, though. If this were to be the play-in game, it’d be at Yankee Stadium instead of in Oakland.
The Yankees currently have the first wildcard, so that would give them the edge for homefield. The A’s are coming close to the Yanks, as they continue to threaten. They shouldn’t doubt team this team in the least. The Athletics made the Mariners their victims in rather quick fashion to takeover their wildcard from 8 games back.
It felt like a few days ago that the A’s were down big and then all of a sudden they poured it on to fly past the Mariners. The Yankees might be the next team they cruise past if they don’t play strong to the final gun. They got some offense in the 8th and 9th inning to push them past the A’s Tuesday night. J.A. Happ pitched a beautiful game, as he continues to be a good acquisition by the Yankees. Who they really need to catch fire is Luis Severino.
He is one of the hardest starters in the majors and looked like the logical starter to get a do-or-die outing in the play-in game, but the Yankees might have some decisions to make if he doesn’t bring out the flamethrower before the end of the month. Severino will get the start for the Yankees in this one tonight. The A’s will turn to former Detroit Tiger and Houston Astro, Mike Fiers, who has flipped his career around in 2018. Get our free Yankees vs. Athletics pick below.
N.Y. Yankees vs. Oakland Athletics Pick
Luis Severino (17-6, 3.32 ERA) vs. Mike Fiers (10-6, 3.38 ERA)
The Yankees responded nicely with a 5-1 win last night. I don’t think this is much of a preview, because a lot of questions are going to be left unanswered. Yankee Stadium could be the deciding factor, as it’s likely the A’s are going to have to travel across the country to a hostile environment. Nevertheless, it’s not a wise move to take the Athletics lightly. They shouldn’t take Fiers lightly this evening, but they hammered him in the last meeting the Yankees had against him.
The Yanks put up 8 hits and 6 runs on Fiers in 5.2 innings. He also yielded 2 long balls in a losing effort, 8-6, when he was a member of the Tigers. The Yankees are hitting .304 with a .346 OBP and 9 home runs against Fiers in 125 at-bats. Newly acquired Andrew McCutchen has had a field day against Fiers, with 4 long balls and a .316 batting average in 19 at-bats. Neil Walker is hitting .360 in 25 at-bats vs Fiers. Walker has been a bit of an x-factor for the Yankees recently. Luke Voit, acquired on July 29th from the Cards, has been contributing in a big way lately as well. Voit connected in the 8th last night to go deep for the 7th time in 14 games.
I expect the bats for the Yankees to get hot in this one. Note that the Yanks are 1st in the majors by a considerable amount in home runs. They are swatting 1.63 long balls per game, compared to 1.39 homers per game for the Dodgers who are in 2nd. Considering they are facing a pitcher they’ve had a positive history against attacking deep, I’d say they connect in this game off Fiers.
On the other hand, the Athletics are hitting just .222 with 1 long ball against Severino in 45 at-bats. Mark Canha went deep on Severino for his only hit against him in 6 at-bats. Severino has foiled Khris Davis, holding him to 0-of-7 hitting with a .125 OBP. Credit the A’s for being in a position to compete with the Yankees, but I see Severino and the Bronx Bombers taking their second victory in a row out in Oakland.