A’s Swept in Toronto: Lose 8-0, fall further behind in the AL Wild Card chase

By Morris Phillips

Not the day to be north of the border with an important appointment with AL pitcher of the moment Robbie Ray.

For the A’s, not at all.

The last time–and only other time–they saw Ray, he was trying to string together victories for the first time this season and admittedly struggling with fastball command. Ray of May 4, 2021 allowed solo shots to Matt Chapman and Ramon Laureano, but didn’t falter much more than that in a six-inning stint that was slightly above pedestrian, but only nabbed him a no-decision.

Fast forward four months and Ray’s fastball-slider repertoire is top shelf, well known for fooling AL batters from coast-to-coast. On Sunday, he mesmerized the A’s without allowing a hit through five innings, and striking out 10 in before being lifted after 107 pitches in the seventh.

“He’s probably the best pitcher in baseball right now, from what I’ve seen,” Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said of Ray. “When he takes that mound, everybody feels he’s going to give you a chance.”

With Ray pinpointing mid-90’s fastballs on both sides of the plate, the Blue Jays cruised, winning 8-0, and sweeping the A’s in the process. Oakland’s struggling, to term it kindly, having lost 14 of 20, and probably consecutive losses away from being a footnote in the AL Wild Card chase that’s gotten away from them.

The A’s managed just two hits on the afternoon, but tellingly, that wasn’t their low light. Starter Cole Irvin didn’t survive three innings–the shortest start of his career–and left trailing 7-0 after surrendering home runs to Marcus Semien and Alejandro Kirk. That early deficit left the A’s in an impossible spot, regardless of Ray’s presence, but did take the pressure off their leaky bullpen, which gained some confidence by pitching 5 2/3 innings and allowing just one run.

Coming in the A’s porous relievers had blown seven saves in the previous 13 games. A’s starters haven’t done their part to help that bullpen, having completed just five innings or fewer in 13 of the last 21 games. And the A’s offense has been okay lately, but they haven’t made a habit of striking first, and their herculean comeback efforts have come up short more often than not.

In times like this–with the A’s now four games behind the second Wild Card-seated Red Sox, and having Toronto and Seattle in front of them as well for the first time after Sunday’s results–it’s good to have an unwavering supporter. The A’s have that in manager Bob Melvin.

“I think the best part of our season is yet to come,” Melvin said. “I really do. I think we’re gonna get home and play our best stretch of baseball. We’re gonna get on a run before the season is over and have two teams we need to beat (Seattle and first place Houston) there at the end.”

Getting through the next two weeks comes first for Oakland, and the AL Central-leading White Sox come to the Coliseum on Tuesday to test their resolve. Step one for the A’s: gain traction at home against the Sox and Rangers over the weekend, and stop the bleeding.

And of course, avoid Robbie Ray types.

On Tuesday, the A’s have James Kaprelian in a starting role in a matchup with the White Sox’s starter, who has not been determined as of yet.

That’s Amaury’s Sports and Commentary: The Making of a Closer A’s Great History with Closers

Hall of Fame reliever Dennis Eckersley during his Oakland A’s pitching days (Baseball Wikipedia file photo)

The Making of a Closer: A’s Great History with Closers

That’s Amaury Sports and Commentary

By Amaury Pi-González

OAKLAND–On Cinco de Mayo 2021 the Oakland Athletics were on their way to their 20th win and maybe extending their 2-game lead over the surprising Seattle Mariners in second place. With a 3 -2 lead into the eight-inning manager Bob Melvin called for Lou Trivino in relief.

Trivino was a perfect five for five in saves opportunities, and the A’s were the only team in baseball this early season with seven saves in seven opportunities and no blown saves. Trivino gave up fve earned runs, the A’s lost their first game this year to the Toronto Blue Jays 9-4 and they had their first blown save of the season.

The closing position is a relatively new position in baseball, from the 1990’s. The A’s signed Trevor Rosenthal during the off season to take over as closer for the team after they lost the most coveted free-agent closer, Liam Hendricks who was signed by the Chicago White Sox. Rosenthal is out after surgery and is not expected to be back until maybe August at the earliest.

Manager Bob Melvin has successfully used Lou Trivino to take over the 9th inning, although this May 5, used him in the eight, nothing wrong with that. The other closer has been lefty Jake Diekman who himself is 3 for 3 in closing situations. So with those two, the Athletics so far this year has handled the last part of the game with much success.

The Oakland Athletics have a great history with closers. Two of their closers are in the Hall of Fame at Cooperstown, a claim that most teams cannot make. Rollie Fingers, who used to throw, will relieve for an average of three innings and then later with Dennis Ecksersley, who began the general practice of a closer to enter the game to pitch the ninth inning when the team was ahead by three-runs or fewer. Fingers ended his career with 314 games saved and 114 wins usually throwing more than one inning, “He is the master” said fellow reliever Dan Quisenberry. Eckersley saved 390 games.

I once asked Eck what keeps him with that edge in the ninth-inning, and he told me “the fear of failure is what drives me”. He was a competitor like all these guys who made a career in the last inning of the game and are credited with a game saved. I am not one that likes to give players nicknames, but I did called Eck “La Cuchilla” trans: “The Knife”, he was a surgeon with that slider and he got most hitters out. There was one exception, Tigers second-baseman Lou Whitaker he enjoyed great success over Eckerseley.

Dennis Eckersley had his great success as he came to Oakland in 1987 with an extensive resume he was a starter. He was a 20 game winner with Cleveland in 1978 and with other reams compiled a record of 197-171, starting 361 games, completed 100 games in 1,071 games he pitched, 2,401 strike outs and a 3.50 ERA. I remember when Eck came to Oakland; he never envisioned being a closer in his life, yet under the great system of Manager Tony LaRussa and pitching coach Dave Duncan. He became one of the greatest closers.

Necessity is the mother of invention, when the need for something becomes imperative; you are forced to find ways of getting the results you want, maybe even achieving it. When kids start playing baseball, from T-Ball all the way up to High School their dreams are of pitching, playing the infield, maybe the outfield, some kids have the calling for catching, but you will never see a kid saying: “when I make it, I want to be a closer.”

This is because such position in the game is something that evolves and developes by many circumstances. It is only early May and the closing situation still developing with the Athletics. We are witnessing maybe the making of another closer inside the Oakland Athletics organization with Lee Trivino, or maybe not. Nobody really knows.

The King of Closers? Panamanian-born Mariano Rivera, “Mo”, in 2019 was the first player unanimously elected to the Hall of Fame, his sensational career with the New York Yankees spanned for 19 years and a total of 652 saves. Perhaps the next Mariano has not been born yet.

Stay well and stay tuned.

Amaury Pi Gonzalez is the lead play by play announcer for Oakland A’s Spanish flagship station KIQI 1010 LaGrande San Francisco and does Sports and Commentary at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

A’s game wrap: Giants take four run win over A’s to open short two game home at home exhibition

San Francisco Giants players take a knee during the national anthem before their exhibition contest against the Oakland A’s on Monday night at the Oakland Coliseum (photo from CNN News)

By Lewis Rubman

July 20, 2019

San Francisco 6 -7 -2 Oakland 2 -4- 0

OAKLAND–Freud defines the uncanny as the unsettling feeling we get from something that is both strange and familiar at the same time. That’s a pretty good word to describe the experience of going to tonight’s exhibition game between the A’s and the Giants at Camp Coliseum.

You go through security, just like last year, only this time the inspectors first take your temperature. You find your assigned seat and sit alone, no one within six feet of you until the twenty-seventh out. You try to figure out a way to keep your glasses from steaming up over your mask.

The last Athletics game to have zero paid attendance took place on April 17, 2018, but there were something like 55,000 people in stands that night in the ball yard on the banks of the River Nimitz. Tonight’s crowd, if that’s the word, was closer to 155. It made a weekday game at Cal’s Evans Diamond feel like rush hour in the Tokyo subway.

There were announcements made on the public address system, but Dick Callahan, recovering from a recent medical emergency, wasn’t there to make them, having wisely chosen not to take unnecessary chances with his health. The ubiquitous Kara and Stomper were nowhere to be found, and vendors were as rare as Lysol spray on the shelves of your local supermarket.

The backs of the cutouts bearing images of absent fans that had been placed in the seats in front of the press section looked like rows of tombstones in a military cemetery. During the seventh inning, the A’s announced the attendance figure of 510 cutouts. Perhaps that was a tribute to the area code.

Some of the returning players, too, were both the same and different from last year. Marcus Semien no longer needs to prove his worth. His double play partner of ’19, Jurickson Profar now with the Padres, could be replaced as the A’s by Tony Kemp, who started the game at second, batting ninth, Chad Pinder, Franklin Barreto, Vimael Machín, or a combination of some or all of the four. A healthy Khris Davis is poised to show the power he exhibited before his injury of last May 5. Not yet the reliable threat he had been before then but not the disappointment he had become by the end of last season, KD is, at the age of 32, a promise. Tonight he performed without pain or glory but managed to drive in a run on a sacrifice fly in the fourth.The team’s regular starting catcher is, as a write this, an open question; Sean Murphy began tonight behind the plate, one spot up from Kemp in the batting order

The scoreboards were bright and legible, but their new, uncluttered look didn’t leave room for a bit of useful information that they used to convey, pitch counts.. It took a while, but eventually the lights took full effect.

Shortly before game time, A.J. Puk,for whom the A’s had placed high hopes, was placed on the injured list with a strained shoulder on his pitching arm. A case, Yogi Berra might have said, of déjà vu all over again. Of course, the Yog wouldn’t have used diacritical marks if he were to write his observation, which he’s told us you can do a lot of if you just look.

In spring training, you expect to have a messy score card. Pinch hitters, pinch runners, and defensive substitutions abound; four or five pitchers a game for each side isn’t at all rare. As the the regular season approaches, the lineups shrink and stabilize. But what would tonight’s score cards look like? It’s mid to late July, and the real season’s yet to start. I made sure to carry plenty of erasers and freshly sharpened pencils. (But I forgot to pack them). Both teams substituted heavily in the last third of the game, but the Giants clearly outscored the A’s, not just in runs, but in pitchers used. Manager Gabe Kapler sent nine hurlers to the mound, each of whom pitched exactly one inning. Kevin Gausman, Tyler Anderson, Drew Smyly, Caleb Baragar, Rico García, Tony Watson, Shaun Anderson,Trevor Gott, and Carlos Navas held the home team to two runs on four hits. Anderson and Baragar gave up the runs. Each Anderson, as well as Baragar and García allowed a hit a piece.

When Sean Manaea, who had experienced his share of medical misery last season, took the mound to face the Giants’ lead-off batter, Austin Slater, it felt as exciting as opening day, but you also had the feeling that any of the baseball action that followed would be a footnote to the big story: the first non intra-squad baseball game played at the Coliseum since the ill-starred wild card game of last October 2. Maneaa was the A’s starter on that occasion as well. The paid attendance that evening was 54,005.

Manaea surrendered three early runs, hitting Pablo Sandoval with a pitch to open the second and then allowing infield isingles to Jaylin Davis and Chadwick Tromp on hard hit ground balls. Austin Slater’s double to left brought all the baserunners home.The Throwin’ Samoan recovered to pitch scoreless baseball in the third, fourth, and fifth frames, but the only other tally his teammates could muster besides the one KD drove in came on Stephen Piscotty’s solo homer in the second. Of the five relievers who followed Manaea four were effective. They were Yusmeiro Petit, Jordan Weems, J.B. Wendelken, and Liam Hendricks. The exception was Jake Diekman, who allowed three runs on two hits and a walk in his 2/3 of an inning pitched.

The two teams will face each other tomorrow evening in a semi-deserted Oracle Park. Mike Fiers will start for Oakland, and submariner Tyler Rogers will take the mound for the Giants.

That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary podcast: Maddon excited to face his old team Cubs; Will Matz meet the Mets; plus more

photo Angels manager Joe Maddon

On That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary podcast:

#1 What’s it like for former Chicago Cub manager Joe Maddon to play against his former team the Cubs as Angels manager.

#2 What does it say for the Angels organization formerly working in Anaheim picking up a manager like Joe Maddon.

#3 The New York Mets are inquiring about Steven Matz of the New York Yankees. Matz has a 4.05 ERA over the last four seasons and could turn free agent what are the Mets chances of getting Matz?

#4 The Oakland A’s Jesus Luzardo threw for three innings on Sunday in his second start this spring. Luzardo pitched for the Las Vegas Aviators last season in seven starts and had an ERA of 3.19.

#5 A’s manager Bob Melvin says that Tony Kemp may not end up being the A’s lead off hitter but he’s been getting some good at bats, Kemp hit a double and went 8-18 and Melvin says that Kemp is seeing left handed pitching pretty good too.

Amaury Pi Gonzalez is the Spanish radio voice for A’s baseball on KIQI 1010 San Francisco hear all A’s home games on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Amaury does News and Commentary at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary: Giants no longer after former Dodger Yaseil Puig; At Giants Fan Fest Pence says he loves being back

San Francisco Giants outfielder Hunter Pence is welcomed back by his teammates Alex Dickerson and Buster Posey at Giants Fan Fest on Saturday at Oracle Park in San Francisco (sfchronicle.com photo)

On That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary:

#1 The San Francisco Giants were one of the teams that were expressing interest in acquiring former Los Angeles Dodger Yaseil Puig but no more. Puig commands a seven year worth $42 million deal. The Giants have said they are no longer interested in obtaining Puig. Was it his unpopularity with his teammates with past teams the issue or the cost of his contract demands?

#2 It was a big deal at Giants fan fest when Hunter Pence sat on stage with an untucked Giants jersey on and was happy to be back in San Francisco again

#3 Pence signed for a one year deal worth $3 million is Hunter’s value mostly in the clubhouse or what he can bring to the plate he did get some big flies when he did play in Texas last season

#4 In a San Francisco Chronicle poll of 500 voters in Oakland 62% of them said the current site should be at the Coliseum for the A’s, 29% of those polled wanted to see the A’s move to Jack London Square. Most of those polled said the Coliseum site is more practical because of it’s land space, parking, freeway access and BART.

#5 MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred has made it clear that if the Oakland A’s do not get a new stadium built at Howard Terminal in downtown Oakland MLB will seek to move the A’s out of Oakland and move them to Las Vegas.

Join Amaury Pi Gonzalez each Tuesday for News and Commentary at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

MLB The Show 2019 Postseason podcast with Daniel Dullum: Cole enjoys what could be his last days in Houston; Yanks in front of Twins with 2-0 lead; plus more

photo from latimes.com: The Astros’ Gerrit Cole struck out 15 in 7 2/3 scoreless innings against the Rays in Game 2 the ALDS.

On the MLB The Show 2019 Postseason podcast with Daniel:

1 Astros’ Gerrit Cole making the most of what might be his last days in Houston

2 Yankees in the driver’s seat with 2-0 lead over Minnesota in ALDS

3 NLDS – Braves, Cards even at 1-1, Nats unsure if Max Scherzer will start game 3 vs. Dodgers

4 A’s Bob Melvin, Billy Beane believe Khris Davis will bounce back

5 Giants working to get GM in place while searching for manager

That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary: Oakland A’s after 2019

photo from bleacherreport.com: Oakland A’s manager Bob Melvin says a game could go right down to a home run or a strikeout.

By Amaury Pi-Gonzalez

There are basically four ways of building a championship team:
1. Farms system
2. Free Agent signings
3. MLB Draft
4. Trade of players

Of course not one is always the easiest, but instead, a combination of all four.

“The focus next year will be winning more games and trying to win our division,” said manager Bob Melvin after the A’s lost the Wild Card game to the Tampa Bay Rays 5-1 at the Oakland Coliseum.

For the second year in a row, the A’s ended 97-65 in second place behind the Houston Astros. The last game of the season this year at the Coliseum had a record 54,005 attendance, a record for a Wild Card game in all of baseball. Unfortunately, the same results for the Green and Gold dating back to 2000. The A’s have lost nine consecutive winner-take all games. We have to go back to the team of the 1973 World Series’ Game 7 against the New York Mets. That was the last time the A’s won a do or die game.

In today’s baseball, things are much different. We are now in a game where is down to “home-run” or “strikeout” — both keep going up each season. For the record, winning the division is important, like Melvin mentioned, but let’s not forget that in 2005 the Atlanta Braves won the Division championship for the 14th consecutive year (1991-2005). That is the current MLB record for winning consecutive division titles. However, during that record-setting streak the Braves, under manager Bobby Cox, only won one World Series in 1995 over the Cleveland Indians. In 2014, Cox was elected to the Hall of Fame as a manager by the veterans committee.

Under the current system, it is much difficult to make it all the way to the October Classic — especially for a wild card team — with the goal of winning 12 games in the postseason to bring home the hardware.Winning your division is definitely a better way of going into the postseason for obvious reasons. A one-game Wild Card playoff is basically a “coin flip” on who is going to win. In the case of the game against Tampa Bay, I did agree with starting Sean Manaea, who was pitching great after his return, but we also have to respect Rays pitcher Charlie Morton, an established mainstay in their rotation with experience, a guy that made the last out of the World Series giving the Astros the title two years ago.

The last handful of games during the regular season the A’s were not hitting, scoring one to three runs per game and unfortunately that carried into the October 2 Wild Card game against the Rays in a 5-1 loss. The future is bright for the young A’s who are getting younger in their rotation for 2020 with Luzardo. Montas. AJ Puk joining Sean Manaea and Mike Fiers. Minus a couple of relievers and possibly Jurickson Profar the A’s position players will be mostly the same as this year. They will not need the services of veteran pitcher rentals Homer Bailey and Roark. Piscotty and Ramon Laureano now could be joined in left field by Seth Brown a young player with talent who hits left-handed. Khris Davis could use this off season to clear his mind and work toward adjusting his batting so he can have a new approach to hitting and be the Khris Davis that we all know.

Do not expect the A’s to be actively trading this winter because they do not need to They still have the core of the young players under contract. In my opinion, Marcus Semien — the team’s MVP this season — should win in arbitration.

I picked the Houston Astros to win the World Series before the season began. After they picked up starter Zack Greinke on July 31, my opinion became much more easy to make.  But it is baseball, and it is not perfect science. I remember the 1988 World Series all too well, when the A’s lost to the Dodgers. I worked that series, and after that series, I learned that anything is possible in baseball so the main thing is to make it to the World Series and bring home the trophy. That should be every team’s goal. Postseasons are nice, the fans love it and get into it, but sometimes you have to deliver and go much deeper into October.

As for the A’s, they will have to wait another year for that chance and hopefully in 2020 they could be playing at the end of October.

Amaury Pi-González is the pioneer in establishing Spanish radio play-by-play broadcasts in the Bay Area since the middle of the 1970’s with the Oakland Athletics. He has been a longtime contributor to sportsradioservice.com

Oakland A’s podcast with Jerry Feitelberg: Diaz home run disaster strikes twice, Oakland lawsuit could force A’s to leave Oakland

tampabaytimes.com file photo: Tampa Bay Rays designated hitter Tommy Pham (29), right, is congratulate by Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Willy Adames (1), center, and Tampa Bay Rays first baseman Yandy Diaz (2), left, after Pham hit a solo homer in the fifth inning against the Oakland Athletics in the American League Wild Card game Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2019 in Oakland.

On the Oakland A’s podcast with Jerry Feitelberg:

#1 The Tampa Bay Rays’ leadoff hitter Yandy Diaz got a jump on A’s pitcher Sean Manaea. Did that sort of shake up Manaea’s confidence to start the game?

#2 Then, in the top of the second, the Rays right fielder Avisail Garcia took one deep center just under the Holy Toledo sign for a two-run home run to put the Rays on top 3-0.

#3 In the top third, Diaz did it again with his second home run and the Rays go up 4-1 and Sean Manaea was lifted and charged for all four runs. The Rays’ Tommy Pham took A’s reliever Yusmeiro Petit deep and put the Rays up 5-1.

#4 The City of Oakland has filed a lawsuit against the Oakland A’s to stop the A’s partial purchase of Oakland Coliseum. The lawsuit was filed in Alameda Superior Court on Tuesday and it certainly broadsided A’s team president David Kaval, who just with the City’s lead negotiator Betsy Lake, discussed regarding building the new stadium Jack London Square.

#5 Going forward after the loss in the wild card to the Rays, now Kaval has to deal with not only trying to get an idea when the A’s can start building at Jack London Square, but also dealing with the lawsuit filed by the city of Oakland.

Jerry did the 2019 Oakland A’s podcasts on http://www.sportsradioservice.com

How it ended: A’s season ends with a thud fall to the Rays 5-1

sfgate.com photo: After surrendering three home runs Oakland A’s starter Sean Manaea heads for the A’s dugout as the Tampa Bay Rays win the AL Wild Card game at the Oakland Coliseum on Wednesday night 5-1

By Jerry Feitelberg

OAKLAND- The Tampa Bay Rays won the Wild Card game and advanced to the ALDS against the Houston Astros. The Rays, with the second-best road record in baseball, scored all of their runs on the strength of four home runs. They sent A’s starter Sean Manaea to an early exit as he gave up three bombs in two-plus innings of work. The A’s could do nothing against Charlie Morton and the Rays’ bullpen.

The A’s had opportunities, but they failed to cash in, and that cost them the game. The A’s have made the playoffs five times in the Bob Melvin era. They failed to advance in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2018, and now in 2019. Billy Beane and David Forst have to make some moves to improve the team over the winter.

Let’s see what happens. The Rays took an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first. With the count 3-1, Yandy Diaz homered to right field. Sean Manaea settled down and struck out the next three hitters. The Rays lead 1-0 with the A’s coming to the plate. The A’s were able to load the bases as Marcus Semien led off with a single. The Rays’ starter Charlie Morton struggled with his command as he walked two hitters to load the bases.

He got Jurickson Profar to fly out to right to end the threat. The Rays put two more on the board in the second. Former San Francisco Giant Matt Duffy led off with an infield single. The next hitter, Avasail Garcia, hit a blast that went about 420 feet over the centerfield fence to give Tampa a 3-0 advantage.

In the top of the third, Yandy Diaz hammered his second homer of the night to make it 4-0. A’s manager Bob Melvin, decided to remove Manaea from the game. Yusmeiro petit came in and was able to stop the damage. Manaea’s line was two innings pitched, four hits, and four runs. The Rays tagged him for three big flys.

The A’s put their first run on the board in the bottom of the third. Marcus Semien reached third on a throwing error by Rays’ third baseman Mike Brosseau. Semien scored on a Ramon Laureano’s sacrifice fly to right. With two out in the fifth, the Rays continued to send the ball out of the park. Rays’ DH Tommy Pham hit the Rays’ fourth home run of the night over the center-field wall to put the Rays in the drivers’ seat 5-1.

The A’s bullpen shut down the Rays the rest of the way. The Rays’ bullpen stifled the A’s offense to secure the win. The Rays travel to Houston to play the Astros in the American League Division Series. Game notes- The winning pitcher was Charlie Morton, and Sean Manaea took the loss. There was some controversy about Bob Melvin’s choice of Manaea over Mike Fiers. Fiers led the team with a 15-4 record this season.

He was the A’s best pitcher, and many people were surprised by Melvin’s choice. Melvin said Manaea pitched very well when he returned from the IL and was 4-0 in five starts before the Wild Card game. Manaea gave up three home runs and four runs in two-plus innings of work. The bullpen gave up just one run in the last seven innings of the game. The A’s offense went to sleep Wednesday night.

The only run they scored was unearned in the third inning. The A’s managed eight hits, all singles. The Rays had seven hits, but four were home runs, and that was the difference in the game. There were 54,005 fans at the park Wednesday night and that set a record for a Wild Card game. The time of the game was three hours and eighteen minutes. The A’s season ended sadly, but they have an excellent young team, and they will be back next year.

Headline Sports podcast with London Marq: This one’s for all the marbles, Rays-A’s, expect a good pitching match

yahoo.sports.com file photo: Oakland left handed pitcher Sean Manaea will start for the A’s in Wednesday’s AL wildcard game against the Tampa Bay Rays.

On Headline Sports podcast with London:

#1 The American League Wild Card game between Tampa Bay and Oakland is a one and done series. London tells us what’s on the line as the Rays’ Charlie Morton matches up against Oakland’s Sean Manaea.

#2 The A’s have had a key player throughout the regular season. Whether it’s Jurickson Profar, Sean Murphy, Ramon Laureano, Matt Olson or Matt Chapman, someone is always digging in at the plate.

#3 The Rays are a good road team they are 49-37, which is the second-best record in MLB. They can really make a game of it against the A’s tonight.

#4 It just seems like A’s manager Bob Melvin has been able to position and place hitters and pitchers in the right spots to get the best out of them and it’s paid off and it’s what’s in them the home field in these wild card games.

#5 It’s all on the line, it’s a one and done series. Does the one-game format of the wild card rob a team’s dream working 162 games to get here and then to be eliminated or is that the best part of the wild card format to keep teams on edge?

London Marq does Headline Sports each Wednesday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com