The Oakland A’s Mark Canha (20) gets congratulated after scoring by on deck hitter Stephen Piscotty (25) against the San Francisco Giants in the fourth inning of Sat Sep 19, 2020’s game at the Oakland Coliseum. The A’s face the Los Angeles Dodgers Tuesday night at Dodgers Stadium (AP News photo)
By Jerry Feitelberg
The Oakland A’s, who will win the American League Western Division crown with either one more victory or one more Houston Astro defeat, travel to Los Angeles to face the Dodgers for three games. The Series starts Tuesday night and could be a preview of possible future meeting in the 2020 World Series.
The Dodgers have won the NL West for the last eight seasons. They made it to the World Series in 2017 and 2018. They lost both.
The Dodgers last won a World Series in 1988 when they upset the heavily favored Oakland A’s. The Dodgers have the best record in baseball this season with a record of 38-16. The A’s have the third-best record in the American League.
They are 33-20 with seven games to play. The A’s last won the World Series in 1989. They played the Cincinnati Reds in the 1990 series and were swept in four games.
The Dodgers made a blockbuster trade with the Red Sox last spring. They acquired the 2018 AL MVP Mookie Betts to be their right-fielder. Betts would have been a free agent after the 2020 season, and the Red Sox could not sign him to a contract extension.
The Dodgers are loaded with talent. Cody Bellinger, the reigning 2019 NL MVP, is not hitting for average, but he is a very dangerous hitter. He will be seen in either center-field or at first base. Their shortstop, Corey Seager, was the unanimous choice for NL Rookie of the Year in 2016.
He is hitting .316 with 13 homers and 37 RBIs. His OPS is .952. Other outstanding players are third baseman Justin Turner, Max Muncy at first and third, Kike Hernandez, AJ Pollock, Joc Pederson, and catchers Will Smith and Austin Barnes.
The Dodgers have a great starting rotation. Lefty Clayton Kershaw leads them. Kershaw has won three NL Cy Young awards. Righty Walker Buehler, who almost won the award last year, is expected to pitch Thursday night against the A’s.
Buehler has been on the 10-day IL with a finger blister. Dustin May will pitch Tuesday night for the Dodgers, and Frankie Montas will go for Oakland. Wednesday night will feature Dodger lefty, Julio Arias.
The A’s will counter with Sean Manaea. Manaea has allowed more than one run in just one of his last five starts. Mike Fiers, who no-hit the Dodgers in 2105 as a member of the Houston Astros, is 6-2 this year. Fiers, as a Milwaukee Brewer in 2012, allowed one run in seven innings of work in his only career game in Dodger Stadium.
The Dodger bullpen with feature Kenley Jansen as the closer. He is 3-1 and has notched 11 saves so far this season. Former A’s closer Blake Treinen bounced back from an off-year in 2019. He is 3-2 with an ERA of 3.57. He has one save recorded for LA. Other relievers that may see action in the series are Brusdar Graterol, Dylan Floro, Jake McGee, Adam Kolarek, Pedro Baez, Joe Kelly, and Alex Wood.
The A’s would like to get the win that will give the AL West crown as soon as possible. By doing so, A’s manager Bob Melvin would have the ability to provide some benchwarmers extra playing time before the start of the playoffs. A’s designated hitter, Khris Davis, needs more at-bats to get back into form. Davis has been scuffling with his game since being injured in Pittsburgh last season.
The games between the Dodgers and A’s are always a treat for the fans. The teams usually meet every three years in interleague play. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the schedule was altered this season.
After the three with LA, the A’s welcome the Seattle Mariners to Oakland for four games to finish the season, which ends on September 27th. The ‘s probably will face the Houston Astros in the best two out of three Wild Card format.