OAKLAND , Calif. — Man, this American League playoff discipline is beginning to look extra treacherous than touchdown the 2020 Democratic nomination for president.
Meet the 2019 A’s. Similar (kind of) because the 2018 A’s.
The Yankees’ season introduction to the perennial younger upstarts from Northern California didn’t go easily Tuesday evening at Oakland Coliseum, as Domingo German bought knocked round and Homer Bailey, of all folks, quieted the guests to the tune of a 6-2 Yankees loss, the second straight for Aaron Boone’s crew.
“First time you play them, you may’t assist however suppose again to the final time you performed them,” stated A’s supervisor Bob Melvin, referring to final yr’s AL wild-card recreation received by the Yankees in The Bronx. “So yeah, and there’s a bunch of Yankee followers right here. Raucous crowd and the entire bit.
“[Gary] Sanchez hit the [homer], it was vital that we responded, and we did. So it ended up being a extremely good recreation for us.”
Earlier within the evening, some 2,900 miles away, the Rays suffered a 7-Four loss to the Mariners at Tropicana Subject, and that supplied a combined blessing for the Yankees. Extra importantly, it meant that they maintained their 10-game AL East benefit over the perennial younger upstarts from Florida’s Gulf Coast. With that, nonetheless, got here a poison capsule: The A’s (72-53) pulled right into a digital tie with the Rays (73-54) for the AL’s second wild card and took a one-game lead within the loss column.
Look, the Yankees can be closely favored over both the Rays or the A’s in a best-of-five AL Division Collection, and each of these groups appear like underdogs in opposition to the Indians in a one-game AL wild card. But the Yankees’ comfy division lead affords them the time to ponder prospects and situations. The A’s have lengthy put an October scare into the Yankees, regardless of their historic lack of ability to seal the deal, due to the expertise that all the time appears to high their roster.
These days, that expertise consists of Matt Olson, 25, the homegrown first baseman who neutralized Sanchez’s first-inning solo blast when, within the backside of the inning, he crushed a first-pitch German fastball contained in the right-field foul pole for a two-run homer. Olson singled and scored an insurance coverage run within the sixth because the A’s knocked German out of the sport.
“I really feel like we’ve been doing that currently,” stated Olson, who owns a .265/.350/.542 slash line with 26 homers. “If we hand over a run or two, we are available in and reply.”
Within the seventh inning, Olson initiated an excellent, 3-6-1 double play on a DJ LeMahieu grounder, spinning and firing to Marcus Semien off a sluggish curler down the road.
The lineup additionally options Mark Canha, 30, a 2014 Rule 5 choice from the Marlins (really chosen by the Rockies, then traded to the A’s) who has confirmed well worth the time dedication. The outfielder/first baseman instantly adopted Olson’s two-run, first-inning homer with a solo blast of his personal, and within the sixth, he noticed Olson’s single and raised it, pounding a double and ultimately scoring one other run, too.
Their pitching employees will remind no certainly one of, say, the Astros’, and even the Indians’, or their very own “Moneyball” run with Tim Hudson, Mark Mulder and Barry Zito. And a reliance on the likes of Bailey (who gave up no runs apart from Sanchez’s homer, putting out eight and strolling none over 5 ²/₃ innings), Mike Fiers and Brett Anderson of their beginning rotation, or nearer Liam Hendriks (who began final yr’s wild-card contest, as an opener, for the A’s), may very nicely show their downfall as soon as extra. However, it’s not a concept you essentially need to take a look at.
“Clearly they’re in a great place,” Olson stated of the Yankees. “We really feel like we must be a group within the postseason as nicely.”
Naturally, you may’t win the World Collection with out defeating some mighty competitors. Inside that subculture, nonetheless, exist groups you’d somewhat face and people you’d somewhat keep away from.
The A’s fall into the latter class. As a result of certainly one of these years, they’ll carry over their regular-season success into October. The Yankees positive as heck received’t need to be there when that occurs.