For the second straight season the AL Wild Card game will be hosted at Yankee Stadium. This time it features a 100-win Yankees team hosting a 97-win A’s team. This should be a really fun matchup of the high-payroll Yankees, playing the team that came into the season with the lowest payroll in the league, playing for a spot to play against the dominant Red Sox in the ALDS.
On paper the Yankees of course look better, but with this A’s team, what is supposed to happen on paper doesn’t matter one bit.
The Yankees are going to turn to their ace, Luis Severino. Severino is the teams’ best pitcher, but I’m not sure he’s the best option to go out and pitch this game. He has not been on top of his game as of late and last season when he was picked to start the Wild Card game, he only recorded one out while giving up 3 runs in the first inning. Now the offense was able to go in and light it up to help cover for him and eventually get the team the win, but if he performs like that again, I don’t like their chances of winning, especially with this Oakland bullpen.
The A’s have tabbed Liam Hendricks as their guy. Now he is of course a reliever, so the team is going to go with the philosophy of an “opener” in this one. It’s not a bad idea against a lineup like the Yankees that hits so many home runs. It’s a fairly depleted starting staff so the teams best option might be to start with a reliever and try and keep the Yankees powerful lineup off-balance all night.
The A’s lineup has struggled against elite velocity this season and that’s something that Severino possesses. That would concern me if I were an A’s fan also, because that Yankees bullpen features some real flame throwers so odds are, the A’s will be seeing great velocity all night.
It’s tough to break down the Yankees lineup against the A’s pitching because who knows what order their pitchers will pitch in. The one thing to watch however is the back end of the A’s bullpen if they are able to get a lead by about the 5th or 6th inning. The back end of the Oakland bullpen is as dominant as anyone in the league, lead by Lou Trivino and Blake Treinen.