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AL Wild Card GameThread: Rays vs. A’s

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Tampa Bay is 7-4 at Oakland since 2017.

Oakland Athletics Tampa Bay Rays Workout Photo by Jane Tyska/MediaNews Group/The Mercury News via Getty Images

The A’s are 0-for-2 in the Wild Card round, and if you include the 2001 team that won 102 games and was the Wild Card because the 2001 Mariners won 116, then they’re 0-for-3. They lost to the Yankees in the ALDS, which you may remember from the opening scene of MONEYBALL.

But now we’re in the new Moneyball era. An even cheaper franchise has crashed their pity party. Here come the Rays, a team that hasn’t been to the postseason since 2013, but as many times in their franchise history (4 since 1998) as the A’s have been since 2012.

The Rays are doing it with stifling pitching (25.3 fWAR leads all of baseball) while the A’s — still a great pitching team (18.7 — 8th) are swinging it with the very best of them (28.5 fWAR — 5th in MLB). So, it’s the best pitching team against one of the top hitting teams in a game being played at a very pitcher-friendly park.

The Rays’ road wOBA of .325 is 8th-best in baseball. The A’s .329 home wOBA is just 12th. Rays starter Charlie Morton has a 1.65 ERA in three starts (16.1 innings) at the Coliseum. Sean Manaea was injured all season and made just five starts — all in September. Four of the five starts were against losing teams (Detroit, two against Texas, and Seattle). The other start (his first off the IL) was against the Yankees in Yankee Stadium (5 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 5 K).

But, if you’ve never seen him pitch, check out his stuff:

TAMPA BAY RAYS

1B — Yandy Diaz
DH — Tommy Pham
LF — Austin Meadows
C — Travis d’Arnaud
3B — Matt Duffy
RF — Avisail Garcia
SS — Willy Adames
CF — Kevin Keirmaier
2B — Michael Brosseau

OAKLAND ATHLETICS

SS — Marcus Semien
RF — Ramon Laureano
3B — Matt Chapman
1B — Matt Olson
CF — Mark Canha
2B — Jurickson Profar
DH — Khris Davis
LF — Robbie Grossman
C — Sean Murphy