We got off to a good start last night with a relatively easy under after an ominous beginning that had the Rockies up 1–0, three batters into the game.
I’ve been waiting to take Oakland in this spot for about two months now and I’m more than satisfied with the numbers available. First pitch will come at at exactly 8:00 pm from Yankee Stadium.
Aussie Liam Hendriks will be Oakland’s surprise starter tonight. He’ll pitch the first inning after successfully keeping his opponent off the board in the first inning in all eight of his September starts.
Hendriks’ ERA was 7.36 on June 24, even though nine of his thirteen outings were scoreless ones. A few rough outings in short appearances inflated the number but that didn’t stop the A’s from designating him for assignment for the fifth time in his career.
He worked his velocity up at Triple-A, and will bring it tonight against Aaron Judge and whomever Aaron Boone bats around him in the first game of the American League playoffs; it’s a fine story and one that couldn’t have come from any club other than Oakland’s this year.
After Hendriks, Bob Melvin will summon one of his traditional starters. We, along with the Yankees, can only guess who that will be but I expect it to be Mike Fiers, who threw fifty-three pitches five days ago. Edwin Jackson, who is on six days of rest, would be the other candidate to bridge Hendriks to the one-inning guys: Shawn Kelley, Lou Trivino, Jeurys Familia, Fernando Rodney and Blake Treinen. Out of eleven pitchers, Melvin may call on eight or nine of them and he’ll be just as liberal with his position players.
Maybe I’m stubborn with just how much I love the A’s, or maybe Aaron Boone, his coaching staff and the Yankee executives are the stubborn ones. Luis Severino was the best pitcher in the American League before the all-star break (14–2 with a 2.31 ERA) and he’s been dreadful ever since (5–6 with a 5.57), including a start in Oakland on September 5th when he failed to get out of the third inning. None of that seems to matter to Boone, who will call Severino his ace at least one more time tonight.
Severino has lost command of his fastball and he’s going to be anything but a pitcher with a clear head going into this start, especially after his performance in last year’s wild card game against the Twins when he retired just one of the first six batters before getting the hook in the first inning.
The A’s are an army of twenty-five players, all performing at an equally high level and each with a small, but important, job to do. The Yankees may be big favorites, but they’re in a lot of trouble, the way I see it. I’m hammering the +175 moneyline and sprinkling some on the runline because it’s just hard to imagine this game getting away from Oakland, even if it doesn’t advance.
Play: Oakland +1.5 (-125)