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Oakland Athletics: it’s one and done in the postseason … again

ESPN Radio
October 03, 2019 - 2:38 pm

By Charlie O @Charlieo1320

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In the top of the second inning with no outs, Avisail Garcia was at bat with a count of 2-1 with a runner at first. Sean Manaea threw a 90 MPH four-seam fastball that Garcia hit to deep center field for a two-run home run. That gave the Tampa Bay Rays a 3-1 lead and increased their chances of the winning game to 78-percent. The Rays went on to win the game 5-1 and eliminate the A’s from the 2019 playoffs.

Your Rays are movin’ on, y’all!

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Morton was the key for the Rays

Pitcher Charlie Morton won his third career sudden-death postseason game. His other two wins came with the Houston Astros when he won game seven of the 2017 ALCS and the 2017 World Series.

  • Morton did not allow an earned run in 5.0-innings pitched on Wednesday night
  • He gave up five hits, walked three, and struck out five
  • Morton threw 94 pitches (56 strikes) and faced 22 batters

Anderson was brilliant in relief

Nick Anderson came on in the eighth inning to shutdown the Athletics. He pitched 1.1-innings allowing one hit while striking out four batters and walking none. Anderson faced five hitters and erased them with just 22 pitches.

The Rays power attack

Tampa Bay did what most analyst expected the Athletics to do – power hit their way to a victory. The 5:09 PM start time meant that there would be no weather-aided home runs. The later in the day it gets the less generous the Oakland Coliseum is to home run hitters. That did not stop the Rays:

  • Yandy Diaz (3-for-4) led off the game with home to right field to set the tone for the game. Diaz hit a second round-tripper in third inning – again off starter Manaea – to right field. It was the second multiple-home run game of his career. Diaz became the fifth Rays player to hit multiple home runs in a postseason game.
  • Avisail Garcia (1-for-4) hit a home run in the second inning off Manaea that travelled 437 feet to center field with an exit velocity of 115.2 MPH. That is translated as – “he crushed it!” The numbers were provided by Statcast.
  • Tommy Pham (2-for-4) put the icing on the cake for the Rays when hit a home run to center field off Petit in the top of the fifth inning. It was his second career postseason home run. The other came in 2015 when he was with the Cardinals.

Manaea takes responsibly for the A’s loss

“It stings. This one sucks. I don’t even know how to describe it. This is a tough loss and it’s solely on me. I had one job and I did really poorly. I let everyone down. It sucks, but hopefully I can learn from this and move on,” said Manaea after the game.

Manaea pitched 2.0-innings giving up four runs (all earned) off four hits. He struck out five batters and walked none. His undoing was that three of the four hit he issued were home runs.

 “It looked to me like the same pitch three times. Four hits off him, three are homers. You've got to give them some credit,” said A’s manager Bob Melvin. “It's kind of our game, they kind of beat us with our game. We're normally a home run hitting team and we couldn't do much, and they hit the ball out of our ballpark, which can be tough to do here.”

Backseat mangers

For the next several days, A’s fans will be sitting in sports bars and at backyard barbeques arguing about whether Melvin should have started Manaea or Mike Fiers.

Fiers finished the season with a 15-4 record and a 3.90 ERA. He faced the Rays twice earlier in the season and won both games. Fiers pitched 6.0-innings in each of those games giving up a total of three runs off seven hits (one home run). He was the winning pitcher in both of those games. The question will be – what if?

After the game Fiers offered this analysis, “You could always look back and say you could have done something different. But Manaea has pitched very well for us. Everyone was behind him and excited he was pitching.”

The future is now

LHP Jesus Luzardo was the one bright light for the Athletics on Wednesday night. He showed why the front office has been telling us that this young man is going to be a star in the major leagues.

Luzardo worked three scoreless innings giving up just one hit while striking out four Rays and walking two. He faced 12 batters and threw 46 pitches (27 strikes).

The A’s will be keeping Luzardo’s nameplate on his locker at the Coliseum because he will be back on Opening Day 2020.

Final Notes (that are not necessarily fun)

  • The A’s are now on a nine-game losing streak in sudden death games in the postseason. That is the longest streak in Major League history (ouch!)
  • Oakland has now lost two consecutive Wild Card games – they lost last year to the New York Yankees
  • Liam Hendriks was “the opener” for the A’s versus the Yankees in last year’s Wild Card game, and he was the A’s ninth inning pitcher in last night’s game.
  • 54,005 fans attended the game on Wednesday night which set a new Wild Card game record

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