What gives the Yankees an edge and the look of a champion, Frank Abagnale explains to his son Frank Jr. in the movie Catch Me if You Can, is “those damn pinstripes.” Sorry, Frank, but I just don’t see the Oakland Athletics being impressed by New York’s uniforms when the clubs collide in the AL Wild Card Game on Wednesday at Yankee Stadium.
With starting pitchers yet to be announced at press time, the top sportsbooks had yet to release particulars on the wagering front. We can count on Oakland being the underdog, something the A’s are used to when facing the Yankees. Oakland has been favored only once in the last 15 meetings, and that came at home last month on the thinnest of chalk lines.
A’s 4th In AL Averaging 5+ Runs Per Game
What the Athletics lack in playoff experience, they make up for knowing they can beat anyone, anywhere, anytime. Oakland went 47-34 on the road overall, 10-9 at the parks belonging to the other four American League playoff teams. After playing under .500 baseball through their first 70 games (34-36), the A’s won 63 of the last 92 to emerge as the best bet for MLB punters to play in 2018 (+36.0 units).
An underrated offense was one factor in why Oakland was such a good play on baseball odds boards the last four months. Matt Chapman, one of five A’s to hit 23+ homers, came up clutch time and time again. Khris Davis led the majors with 48 bombs – two of them coming at Yankee Stadium – while driving in 123. Stephen Piscotty was hot down the stretch with a .310 average in September to go with eight clouts.
A’s Could Start Call To 'Pen From Outset
Of course, beating the Yankees – especially in New York – means stopping the Bronx Bombers from going deep. Many believe Oakland manager Bob Melvin will just bullpen it through this game from the start, and send Liam Hendricks (0-1, 4.13) to the mound as his opener. The Aussie performed in that capacity eight times during the final month, allowing just two runs in nearly nine innings combined. Another possibility for Melvin is Mike Fiers (5-2, 3.74). Either way, Melvin has a very good and very deep bullpen to hold off the Yankees, Daniel Mengden likely the long arm for Wednesday with Jeurys Familia and Fernando Rodney setting up closer Blake Treinen.
All of the pressure is in New York’s dugout, manager Aaron Boone’s reluctance to announce his starting pitcher a sign he’s already looking ahead to Boston in the ALDS while Melvin continues to just take it one game at a time. That’s why I’m going with the visitors in the AL Wild Card Game for my free MLB pick.