A’s in the wildcard spot for the second year in a row look to make playoff push

The Oakland Athletics end the season tied for the fifth best record in Major League Baseball going 97-65 for the second season in a row. Again the A’s will be facing a tough American League playoff berth in single game elimination Wildcard game, this time against the Tampa Bay Rays.

The name of the game in Oakland has been consistency and the A’s have been nothing but consistent throughout the entire season. Despite the shoulder injury to their star pitching ace, Sean Manaea, the A’s starters have been solid throughout the entire season, posting a 3.71 ERA. Along with an above average offense lineup, the A’s pose a threat to Tampa.

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With a crucial win against the Seattle Mariners, the Athletics earned their spot in the playoffs. In an interview with CBS, Sports Manager Bob Melvin had this to say about his team “Our guys wanted to win tonight’s game and finish it out right. At the end of the day, we’re still going to the postseason. That’s all that matters.” he continued by stating, “Come tomorrow, even though we got off to a little bit of a slow start in this party, they’re going to realize that. We’ve still got a little more to play for, but it’s been a terrific season, a lot like last season.”

The Athletics have posted the best record in baseball this season after the all star break going 59-28 and battling the .500 mark throughout the first half of the season. Third baseman, Matt Chapman has been a star on the field, posting 91 RBI’s and 36 home runs His defense has been the difference maker in the Colosseum and on the road. Chapman is first in just about every defense metric and has made a name for himself as one of, if not the best, defensive third basemen in the league.

Despite Chapman’s success, he has not been happy about his season thus far, but is excited for the postseason saying begrudgingly in an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, “I’m telling you, this will be the worst year I play,” the first time All-Star confidently pronounced, “But we’re going to make a run at the playoffs and I’m going to get hot at the right time.” 

The young core of the A’s, including Chapman, has given Oakland hope for the future after a long postseason drought. Two-way player, Matt Olson has been the powerhouse the A’s needed this season, hitting a high of 36 home runs and 91 RBI’s, despite injury. Star player, Ramon Laureano is rightfully becoming a household name, as he bats almost .290 and has the strongest centerfield arm, with 8 outfield assists on absolute bullets peaking at over 95 mph. 

Not to mention veterans such as  power hitting, Khris “Krush” Davis, right fielder Scott Piscotty, and reliable shortstop Marcus Semien, Oakland is looking prime for a big playoff push if they can make it past the threatening offensive powerhouse of the Tampa Bay Rays.

Finally, the one man the A’s have relied on throughout the entire season and he has done nothing but deal, is closing pitcher, Liam Hendriks. With an amazing 1.80 ERA and 126 strikeouts in 75 games, Hendriks has been one of the best closers in all of baseball. Hendricks has definitely been a shoulder to lean on for Oakland in the 9th inning. 

Hendricks has been nothing but confident all season and hopes to bring that to the postseason, proudly stating in an interview with NBC sports, “You need to have that confidence and arrogance going out there to be like ‘It doesn’t matter, I’m gonna win this battle no matter what.’” The elite reliever continued by stating, “No matter what I throw, if I’m convicted and I believe that I’m better than them I’m gonna get it done.”

The Oakland A’s are coming out swinging and will be a threat to anyone they face in the postseason. Consistency is important to the A’s and they look to stay that way coming into the Wildcard game. 

The Oakland Athletics will face the Tampa Bay Rays on their home turn in the Colosseum Sep. 2 at 5:09 p.m. in an all or nothing fight for the final spot in the American League looking to face the dominant Houston Astros next.