In Game 1 of the American League Wild Card series, and the first time these two teams met in the postseason, the Oakland Athletics lost to the Chicago White Sox 4-1. While the season isn’t over yet, it’s yet another disappointing start to the postseason, as the Athletics have now lost their last six postseason games played, and their last seven postseason Game 1s. This loss backs the A’s into a hole, and forces them to put all their chips on the table for Game 2 if they wish to keep their postseason and their World Series hopes alive.
Lucas Giolito, the pitcher for the Chicago White Sox, absolutely stymied the Athletics today in his playoff debut. He went 7+ innings, gave up only two hits (and was perfect through 6), one run, notched eight strikeouts and for a pitcher in his MLB playoff debut, you didn’t see any nerves or confidence, and he was totally in control of the game. The Chicago White Sox bullpen, having a relatively light day due to Giolito’s sensational outing, finished the game without much fanfare.
On the other hand, Jesus Luzardo, the pitcher for the A’s making his playoff debut, really struggled throughout the game, and could only make it through three innings. The White Sox seemed to smell blood in the water with the young pitcher, and took advantage of him, smashing two home runs against him. The A’s bullpen however, was exceptional, only giving up one run in five innings pitched, and getting six strikeouts.
The White Sox simply executed what they were best at, scoring all their runs via the long ball. They hit three home runs this game, and suffered from no lack of confidence. Despite being the road team with a lower seeding, not only did the Chicago White Sox look more comfortable during the game, but they simply looked like the better team.
For Oakland, the offense was quiet as church mice. To put this in perspective: The Chicago White Sox had as many home runs, as the Oakland Athletics had hits. With only three hits in the entire game, the A’s seemed to let their offensive struggles from the past 10 games carry into the postseason, and the Offense was dead silent. If they want to turn this series around, the offense has to get going early, and the A’s need to get the bats going.
For the Chicago White Sox:
The message is clear: Continue to jump on the A’s starting pitching and dominate the game before the A’s can get into their bullpen and before the sleepy offense wakes up. With the A’s backed up in a hole, the White Sox can wrap up business with a win and move on to play the winner of the Twins-Astros Series in Los Angeles.
For the A’s:
Next game is a win or go home game, and the A’s have to figure out a way to get their offense going early on. Even though the A’s are among the best in the league at late inning heroics, this is the postseason and teams here are a lot better than the regular season, especially when they played in the abysmal AL West Division. The A’s have the best bullpen in major league baseball, they just need to get the game to their star bullpen and keep the game close until doing so. Expect all hands on deck for the Athletics next game, and a tight leash on the A’s starting pitching.