After a very strong season, it all comes down to this for Tampa Bay, a squad that has gone a long time without seeing the postseason. It has been in the works the last few seasons, and Kevin Cash was finally able to get his team over the hump. But their record and situation tell you just how good the AL was. Ninety-six wins are only enough to play in the Wild Card Game, as the road team. Cleveland won 93 games and is already done.
Oakland has been here before and is back again. This is going to be exciting for them as it is another era of Billy Beane-ball that has proven to be successful. They made some key moves throughout the year, each guy on the squad helping them tremendously to get where they are. There are some serious injuries to their top bullpen arms, but nothing is going to get them to give up or make any excuses.
The moneyline for this game has the Tampa Bay Rays +125 and the Oakland Athletics -145. The over/under is set at 7.5 runs.
Tampa Bay Looking For Date With Astros
It has been a wild season for the young Rays, with talent across the board and youth on their side. Only three players over the age of 30 had more than 100 at-bats this season, telling you that the future of this squad is very bright. Austin Meadows had a good start to his TB career, as the 24-year-old belted 33 home runs and knocked in 89. Their hit leader was Tommy Pham with 255, but across the board they got a little production from everybody, perfect when you put all of it together.
Coming off a career year, 35-year-old Charlie Morton draws the start for the Rays. He went 16-6 with a 3.05 ERA in 33 starts. Morton struck out 240 while walking 57 in 194 2/3 innings of work. He pitched in the postseason for the Astros over the last two years with mixed results.
A’s Try To Get Better Result
It was a year ago that Oakland found itself in this exact same position. The Athletics were facing the New York Yankees, and they just did not come to play. This time, they have a new AL East foe who they hope to tackle. Matt Chapman (36 HRs, 91 RBI), Matt Olson (36 HRs, 91 RBI) and Marcus Semien (33 HRs, 92 RBI) powered the team to their offensive success this year, with a number of other solid players throughout the lineup. Like Tampa Bay, the majority of their hitters are 30 or younger. Youth battle.
Sean Manaea, who was hurt for most of the year, will get the start tonight. He went 4-0 in five starts, striking out 30 and walking seven in 29 2/3 innings of work.
Make sure to bet on the A’s folks. They are ready for Houston, as they get past Tampa Bay led by Semien.
Free Play: OAK -145
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