The 2019 MLB Playoff picture is set. The Wild Card Game will decide who moves on, and who’s season is over. For the American League Wild Card Game, the Oakland A’s will host the Tampa Bay Rays to find out who will be taking on the Houston Astros in the ALDS. In a one-game set, we might see some things that don’t happen every day in baseball. Here is a preview of the 2019 AL Wild Card Game:
The match-up will take place on Wednesday, October 2 at 8:09 PM EST. It will take place on ESPN at the Oakland Coliseum.
The A’s and Rays met seven times this season, all in June. Oakland has the slight edge as they took four of the seven games. However, Tampa Bay outscored the Athletics 30-26 in those seven meeting this year. If the Wild Card Game is as evenly matched as their regular season, we could see an entertaining game Wednesday evening.
Tampa Bay Rays: Charlie Morton (16-6, 3.05 ERA)
Charlie Morton had a great season on the mound for this team, and that in the AL East. His career-best 1.084 WHIP is also an impressive stat. In his only start against Oakland this season, Morton threw seven shutout innings with just two hits allowed. Morton will look to help put his team in a great spot to win on Wednesday night, and another seven-inning shutout performance can do that.
Oakland Athletics: Sean Manaea (4-0, 1.21 ERA)
This is not confirmed, but sources seem to think Sean Manaea will be on the bump to start this one. He came back from injury in September, and had a great month. In five starts, he posted a 1.21 ERA and a 0.78 WHIP in 29 2/3 innings pitched. There’s a chance that Manaea will be well-rested as he has been rehabbing an injury for a while. Being at their home stadium is a plus for the 27-year-old as well.
Players to Watch For
Tampa Bay Rays: Austin Meadows
Austin Meadows has helped the Rays out consistently this season. The first time All-Star slashed .292/.364/.619 after the break this season. He also hit .378/.472/.744 with an OPS of 1.216 in September, including 15 extra-base hits in 24 games. Meadows will want to keep his hot bat going in crunch time for the Wild Card Game.
Oakland Athletics: Matt Olson
Matt Olson has had a solid season at the plate. One big stat is that he has a career line of .333/.467/.667 with a 1.133 OPS against opposing pitcher Charlie Morton. His OPS against active Rays pitchers is 1.258, so Olson seems like he can barrel up a ball against anyone on this Rays pitching staff. On top of that, the 25-year-old slashed .263/.342/.596 in September, including nine long balls. These stats set Olson up nicely for the Wild Card Game, although it can potentially lead to Tampa Bay pitching to him carefully.
Tampa Bay Rays:
- Eric Sogard (2B/SS/DH) may be available for the game if his foot lets him play.
- Yandy Diaz (1B/3B/DH) is back from the IL and even got to play in game 162 after recovering from a hairline fracture in his foot.
- Blake Trienen (RP) will not pitch in the 2019 Postseason with a back injury.
- Robbie Grossman (OF/DH) should be ready to go Wednesday as he has been dealing with shoulder soreness.
Feature Image Courtesy of Daily Mail.