American League Wild Card Game Preview Tampa Bay Rays vs Oakland Athletics
After a thrilling National Wild Card Game in Washington yesterday, it is now time for the American League to entertain the national audience with their own Wild Card game. The Tampa Bay Rays will be taking on the Oakland Athletics. Both the Rays and the Athletics had 90 win seasons, but for one of these teams, that journey will end tonight.
Charlie Morton (16-6, 3.05 ERA, 240 K) vs Oakland this season (1-0, 0.68 ERA, 13.1 IP)
Tampa Bay Rays Line-up
The Rays are back to the postseason for the first time since 2013. This young core has been able to clinch thanks to a great second half record of 44-27 including a record of 34-18 in August and September. As many will make their playoff debuts tonight, here is the starting line-up.
The strategy for the Rays tonight is to rely on their deep pitching staff. They made the right decision to start Charlie Morton who likely will throw 5-7 innings. Their strengths are their defense and pitching, while their hitting is better on the road than at home.
Oakland Athletics Line-Up
The Oakland Athletics will make their 10th playoff appearance in the last 19 years. After being disappointed by the Yankees in last year’s Wild Card game, this team hopes for a different result tonight. The A’s got to the playoffs thanks to a 52-29 record at home this year, making home field advantage that much more important.
Oakland’s strategy for this game seems to rely on their bullpen. As Manaea has pitched in only five games this season, it shouldn’t be a surprise if he pitches less than four innings. The Athletics have a great bullpen lead by closer Liam Hendriks. It seems that he will likely have the last couple of innings tonight.
For all the Marbles
The Oakland Athletics won the season series 4-3. Both these teams were in a dog fight with the Cleveland down the stretch to make the wild card game. The winner will move on to the American League Divisional Series where they will play the Houston Astros.