The American League Wild Card matchup between the Oakland Athletics and Kansas City Royals takes place today. The game is scheduled for an 8:07 p.m. start time and it will be televised nationally on TBS. Currently the odds for the game have the Royals favored to pick up the win.
For a good portion of the season the Oakland Athletics were the best team in baseball. But in the second half they struggled mightily in the second half of the Major League season, sporting a record of only 29-38. To make matters worse the Athletics were awful in September, finishing the season 10-16. Their collapse kept them from winning the American League West to the red-hot Los Angeles Angels, but Oakland still found a way to get into the playoffs. They'll take on a Kansas City team tonight that couldn't run down the Detroit Tigers in the American League Central, but have played well in the second half.
Kansas City and Oakland feature some great pitchers in both the rotation and bullpen. The post season tends to come down to matchups with pitchers, especially late in games. Kansas City has one of the best bullpens in baseball with several guys on the back end with very big arms.
The Royals finished with a 42-39 record in home games this season, but they actually were much better on the road. On the other side Oakland finished the season with a 40-41 record on the road.
Oakland will give the ball to Jon Lester in this one tonight. He was the second big acquisition to the MLB trade deadline for the Athletics on the pitching front, coming a handful of days after they traded for Jeff Samardzija. Lester is the guy they want with the ball in this one, though.
He'll face off against big game James Shields for the Royals, who traded for him after the 2013 season. He's their horse, throwing 227 innings this season and winning 14 games. Shields have been in big games before, but not nearly as big as Lester has.
Both bullpens are great, but the Athletics arguably have the better overall offense. However they have been struggling up to this point in the season. Will they be able to just turn it on now that they absolutely have to win a game tonight? It certainly won't be easy. Kansas City has played better of late and we expect them to win this matchup here tonight.
Free Pick: Kansas City 4, Oakland 3
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