2018 A.L. Wild Card Game Preview

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The Oakland Athletics will travel to New York on Wednesday night to take on the Yankees in the one game wild card game. The winner of this game will move onto the ALDS to take on the Boston Red Soxs. The season series between the teams is 3-3 with the Yankees taking 2 of 3 in New York and the Athletics taking 2 of 3 in Oakland. The pitching matchup will feature Liam Hendriks for the Athletics and Luis Severino for the Yankees. I will be breaking down how each team got there, each starting pitcher, and some keys to the game.

Oakland Athletics:

The Oakland Athletics started off the season slow during the first half. In the second half of the season the Athletics turned it on and made a huge run in the American League West and the wild card race. The Athletics have a young talented core who are going to be there for a while and have the Athletics contending. Kris Davis lead the league in home runs with 48 which carried Oakland although he batted .247 for the fourth straight season. The addition of Stephen Piscotty during the offseason turned out to be a game changer for the Athletics with his bat, his glove, his character, and his leadership.

New York Yankees:

The New York Yankees were one win away from a World Series appearance last season. They made some changes during the offseason starting with the departure of Joe Giaradi. New York hired Aaron Boone as their new manager and then added former NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton which was a huge addition. The Yankees started off good this season but then hit a slide due to injuires with Jordan Montgomery, Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, and Didi Gregorius. Greg Bird also had a horrible season but the Yankees mantained through it all. The Yankees made some big additions at the deadline with Lance Lynn, J.A. Happ and Luke Voit. Luke Voit has carried this team the past month and has taken over the first base job with his tremendous play. New York also added Andrew McCutchen before the end of August who has been a nice addition to the team. With all of that being said, the Yankees had a great season finishing 100-62. Rookies Gleyber Torres and Miguel Andujar were amazing this season setting records after records and keeping this team alive during all of the injuires.

Liam Hendriks:

Liam Hendriks is a reliever for the Oakland Athletics and he is the first player to start in this game without recording a win during the season. Hedrinks only appeared in 25 games this season and started 8 games while recording a 4.13 era in 24 innings pitched. The Athletics starters are Mike Fiers, Edwin Jackson, Trevor Cahill, and Brett Anderson which is interesing as to why Hendriks is starting the game. Don’t be surprised if the Athletics start the game with Hendriks just for one inning then go to a
starter in the second inning.

Luis Severino: 

Luis Severino started off the season as the best pitcher in baseball and on his way to a Cy Young award. Luis slowed down during the middle of the season for six to eight starts where he didn’t have command or control and barely made it five innings in a game. Late in the season, Severino started to find his groove again which is why Boone named him the starter for the game. Luis is the Yankees ace and is the future for New York and Boone couldn’t go any other way then Sevy. Luis finished the season with a 19-8 record in 32 starts while posting a 3.39 era which is a tremendous season.

Keys to the game:

1. Gary Sanchez

Gary Sanchez has had a horrible all around season and Yankee fans most probaly rather have Austin Romine behind the plate. Sanchez is the future as well for New York and the Yankees are sticking behind him through it all. Gary is going to be a huge part if the Yankees want to make a run in the postseason with his abiity at the plate and his ability behind the plate. Sanchez has a cannon of an arm and will be a key with the running game and with his ability at the plate to hit it out at any point or drive in runners in key situations.

2. Zach Britton

These our two of the best bullpens in baseball and they both have the depth in their pens. The Athletics added a huge piece to their bullpen in Jeurys Familia from the Mets. They also have Yusmeiro Petit and Blake Treninen to round out their bullpen. Their closer Treninen has a 9-2 record with 38 saves with a .78 era which is near the top in the league. The Yankees have one of the best bullpens in baseball especially after the addition of Zach Britton. If Severino can make it through five innings and have the lead then the Yankees will most likely go to David Robertson, Delin Betances, Aroldis Chapman, and Zach Britton which makes one of the most deadly combinations in baseball. They also have Chad Green, Sonny Gray, possibly Justus Sheffield, and Stephen Tarpley.

Potential Lineups:

Athletics:
1: Ramon Laureano
2: Matt Chapman
3: Jed Lowrie
4: Khris Davis
5: Stephen Piscotty
6: Nick Martini
7: Matt Olson
8: Marcus Semien
9: Johnathon Lucroy

Yankees:
1: Andrew McCutchen
2: Aaron Hicks
3: Aaron Judge
4: Giancarlo Stanton
5: Didi Gregorious
6: Gary Sanchez
7: Miguel Andujar
8: Luke Voit
9: Gleyber Torres

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