A’s at Yankees AL Wild Card Pick October 3
The Colorado Rockies outlasted the Chicago Cubs in the first official game of the 2018 MLB postseason on Tuesday night with a thrilling 2-1 victory in 13 innings in the National League’s Wild Card Game. Colorado got a huge hit from pinch-hitter Tony Wolters in the top of the 13th to spring them into the NLDS, where they’ll face the top-seeded Milwaukee Brewers.
Now, the Oakland Athletics and New York Yankees will tangle in the American League Wild Card Game. Luis Severino was tapped by Aaron Boone to start this game for the Yankees, while Liam Hendriks will serve as the nominal starter for the Athletics.
This is shaping up to be a bullpen game for the A’s. With the starting rotation essentially in shambles at this point, Bob Melvin made the decision to take the popular bullpen approach to this one. Hendriks will likely pitch an inning or so before giving way to another reliever. There’s a good chance we see Mike Fiers, an actual starter, come in afterward in order to handle a few innings. Trevor Cahill is another candidate to do so. The rest of the pitchers will likely come into the game based on matchups.
The backend of the Oakland bullpen is as good as any in the league, but there are questions with some of the guys that may come into the game early. Cahill in particular has been in rickety form of late, as he had a 4.80 ERA over 4 outings in September. He allowed 8 earned runs and walked 8 over the course of 15 innings in the final month of the season. If the Yankees are going to do some damage, and they will, it will likely have to come near the beginning of the game when Oakland has some of its shakier pitchers on the mound.
Severino has been the Yankees’ best pitcher over the course of the entire season, but he has endured some struggles of his own lately. He was particularly wobbly during the months of July and August when he had a collective ERA of 5.72. He had been essentially unhittable before that, and he has since rounded back into form a bit over his last few starts. Severino had a decent-if-unremarkable 3.98 ERA in September.
When he’s on, Severino is incredibly tough to hit. The right-hander had a strikeout rate of 28.2 percent on the season, which was easily the best mark among Yankee starters. His 3.28 SIERA and 3.39 ERA are in line, as well. He did allow more contact this season, though, and his ground ball rate plummeted from 50.6 percent last year to just 41.1 percent in 2018. He did allow only 19 homers across 31 starts, but tonight’s matchup against Oakland is a tough one.
We can expect some home runs to be hit in this game. The Yankees actually set a major league record by hitting 267 homers during the regular season, which is all the more impressive when you consider that both Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez missed significant time with injuries. They may have challenged 300 had those two been healthy for a full campaign. Not to be outdone, the A’s smacked 227 homers of their own, which ranked third in the majors and second in the American League behind New York.
The A’s are a tremendous story. Nobody could have imagined this team would win 97 games, but they did, and they became one of the most prolific Wild Card teams in history in doing so. That said, the Yankees won 100 games themselves. This will be the third time in the last 4 years that the Yankees will have played in this game, and they’re 1-1 thus far. This isn’t the exact same team that played in the 2 previous games, but I still think having some experience on that front means something.
I think the Yankees win this one. You’re not getting much betting value out of them at -174 on the moneyline, but I don’t hate the idea of taking them to cover the 1 1/2 runline at +109. Taking the over on 8 1/2 runs is also viable, though it isn’t my favorite bet on the board. New York clearly has the overall quality on the roster necessary to win this game by at least a couple of runs. Give me the Yanks tonight.
$100 stake could win...