Tampa Bay Rays (96-66) at Oakland Athletics (97-64)
MLB Baseball: Wednesday, October 2, 2019 8:00 PM EST (RingCentral Stadium)
Line & Odds: Rays (+110), Athletics (-120) – Over/Under 7.5
The AL Wild Card game will be played by the Rays and Athletics in Oakland on Wednesday night. The A’s won the regular season series 4-3.
In its final ten games, Tampa Bay finished the regular season strong with a 7-3 record. This run included three games which went to extra innings. Also, the Rays’ pitching staff allowed an average of three runs in those ten games. The Rays went 48-33 in away games.
Oakland went 6-4 in its final ten games. The team went 15-3 from Sept. 3 through Sept. 21. The Athletics posted a home record of 52-29, good for fourth-best in Major League Baseball.
In the matchups that Oakland won against Tampa Bay, the games ended by scores of 4-3, 6-2, 5-4, and 4-2. The Rays’ wins ended by scores of 6-2, 5-3, and 8-2. Considering the regular season record and the margin of victory, these two teams match up well. Both squads head into the Wild Card game with good momentum.
Veteran Charlie Morton is slated to start for the Rays. The right-hander is 16-6 with a 3.05 ERA in 33 starts on the season. In 13 1/3 innings against the Rays, Morton allowed just one run, four hits, and six walks and struck out 13. On Wednesday against the Yankees, he allowed no runs on one hit and struck out nine over six innings.
The Athletics are expected to counter with Sean Manaea. He has started just five games, but is 4-0 along with a 1.21 ERA in 29 2/3 innings. The left-hander has struck out 30 batters in that time. Manaea’s latest start resulted in a win after he allowed one run on four hits over six innings against Seattle on Thursday.
Both starters will have plenty of rest before Wednesday night’s game. Oakland batted .244 against righties in the regular season. Against lefties, Tampa Bay batted .255.
Playing at home may seem like an advantage, but road teams have won 8 of the last 14 Wild Card games. However, I believe the A’s will come out on top because of the offense and Manaea’s recent dominance on the mound. Oakland presents a long ball threat and its pitching has been good enough to hold the Rays while the offense gets the job done.