The 2019 Major League Baseball postseason goes on Wednesday night with the American League wild-card game. The Oakland Athletics welcome the Tampa Bay Rays at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, and the hosts are listed as slight favorites to reach the ALDS.
The Rays finished the regular season with a 96-66 record, seven games behind the New York Yankees. They went 48-33 on the road and 18-15 against the AL West. The Rays won seven of their last ten games overall but enter the postseason on a two-game losing streak.
Tampa Bay is averaging 4.75 runs per game (tied-15th in the MLB) on a .254 batting average (12th) and a .325 on-base percentage (13th). The Rays hit 217 home runs which are the tenth-fewest in baseball. Their offense is arguably the weakest on the American League side of the bracket.
On the other side, the Rays’ pitching staff is the second-best in the MLB with a 3.65 ERA and a 1.17 WHIP. They allowed 1274 hits (4th in the league) and only 181 home runs (1st). Likewise, the Rays recorded the third-most strikeouts (1621) in the MLB.
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The Athletics, on the other side, are scoring 5.22 runs per contest (8th in the league) on a .249 batting average (16th) and a .327 on-base percentage (11th). The A’s hit 257 home runs which are the fifth-most in baseball.
Their pitching staff is sixth-best in the league, tallying a 4.20 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP. The A’s allowed 1342 hits (9th) and 201 home runs (6th) while striking out just 1299 (26th).
The Rays are well-known for their way of using the pitching staff. Thanks to quick hooks and deep bullpen, the Rays’ relievers won 56 games (1st in the league). The A’s recorded 29 wins in relief (21st).
Charlie Morton will get the starting nod for the Rays, and he’s 16-6 in 33 starts this season. Morton has a 3.05 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP. He’s recorded 240 strikeouts in 194.2 innings of work while surrendering 66 earned runs and 57 walks.
In seven starts against the A’s, Morton has a 2-1 record. In his seven starts in the postseason, the right-hander tallied a couple of wins and losses with a 4.60 ERA in 31.1 innings of work.
Sean Manaea will toe the slab for the Athletics, and he’s 4-0 in five starts this season. Manaea had shoulder surgery in September 2017 and returned to action after 11 months. The lefty has a 1.21 ERA and a 0.78 WHIP in 2019, striking out 30 and allowing seven walks in 29.2 innings of work.
Manaea will get his first-ever starting nod in the postseason. He’s 1-1 in three starts versus Tampa Bay in his career.
Tampa Bay and Oakland met each other seven times in 2019, and the A’s won the series 4-3. They split a four-game set in Oakland back in June. The Rays are 11-7 in their previous 18 meetings with the Athletics and 7-4 in the last 11 encounters in California.
Ten of the last 14 head-to-head duels at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum are finished in the under. Also, five of seven matchups this season went in the under. The under is 4-1 in Tampa Bay’s last five contests overall, and it is 6-0 in Oakland’s previous six outings.
Still, keep in mind that the line on the totals has been set at 7.5 runs. Seven of the previous nine head-to-head meetings between Tampa Bay and Oakland had eight or more runs in the total.
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