On Wednesday, the Oakland A’s will host the Tampa Bay Rays in a do or die, wild card game. It is sure to be a whirlwind between two teams who do things similarly. Small market, smart trades, good coaching and innovating pitching. It all comes down to this. For a trip to face the Houston Astros? Yikes.
I would give the edge to Oakland, only because they’re at home. Charlie Morton is on the bump for the Rays. Morton, who is a CY Young candidate can shut down any lineup with that curveball. The A’s will likely stack lefties against him because his era gets bloated against southpaws. Sean Manaea hasn’t been announced, but probably gets the nod. He pitched to a 1.21 era this season, coming back from injury. This is a riveting matchup between two elite pitchers.
What could ultimately decide this game is what happens when they both exit. What bullpen will stand up? The Rays have had a walking wounded pen all year. Yet have capable, late-inning arms. Same for Oakland. All hands are on deck in these games. The offense that takes the simple approach, could very well come out on top, and score enough runs.
I predict Oakland wins, and possibly in walk-off fashion.
That first-round matchup should be amazing.
Of course, I could be wrong.