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  • Tim Burke

Everyone Watch The American Wild Card Game

The Tampa Bay Rays and Oakland Athletics are going to play in the American League Wild Card game this season and I am pumped up for it. The Rays are a thorn in the side for the Red Sox and their fans. They are tough ball club to beat but I respect them so much for continuing to find ways to be competitive against the Red Sox and Yankees. A lot of smart people in that origination. The Athletics are a team I admire because Money Ball is the book that made me want to become a General manager of a baseball team. These two teams facing each other in a one game elimination sign me up.

Good Pitching

The Rays introduced “The opener” to limit the exposure of a pitcher the third time around the order. 

This leads to the Rays bullpen having the most innings pitched in all of baseball but despite this the Rays have the second lowest Earned Run Average in all of baseball. This is the biggest reason why they are in the Wild Card game. 

Oakland has the sixth lowest ERA in baseball. The A's pitching has always been critical to their success this century. There is no money ball without the great pitching of Barry Zito, Tim Hudson and Mark Mulder. Money ball would have been a forgotten experiment without them. In 2019, Mike Friers, Sean Manaea and Brett Anderson lead the way and are rock solid.

Stellar Defense

The Rays also use a lot of different defensive shifts. We have seen teams shift to pull heavy left handed hitters like David Ortiz for years. The Rays also shift to pull heavy right handed hitters something that is rarely seen. They also will play a four man outfield so more players will be able to make a play where the ball is most likely hit. The Rays think outside the box.

Oakland has evolved over time into a defensive machine. Fourth best in baseball in 2019. In 2002 defense did not matter to the A's front office. Now it does. Do not make self inflicting mistakes and you will probably win a lot of games


Great Managers

A's manager Bob Melvin is one of eight managers in history to win Manager of the year award three times. Rays skipper Kevin Cash is a prime candidate for American League manager of the year in 2019

The Rays and Athletics are obviously talented teams but Cash and Melvin clearly get the most out of their players and are great managers to play for and learn from. 

Front Office Geniuses

They do not have the luxury to buy the best players to contend for championships. This forces these teams to put on an emphasis on drafting and developing players which is something they do better than almost everyone else. This is how they continue to win. I could ask their baseball executives questions for days. My question now though is this... Who wins the Wild Card Game?

Who Will Win?

We know the A's for the team that revolutionized baseball. They introduced saber metrics and a whole new philosophy to the game. There is a lot more to the A's success than just advanced statistics. They got star power. Marcus Siemen is an underrated star who led the A’s with 92 RBIs. Matt Olson and Matt Chapman are as good as a corner infield duo as Bryzzo just less known. Both players hits led the A’s with 36 home runs this season. They had 7 players hit at least 20 home runs and scored the 8th most runs in baseball. The A’s offense is a lethal weapon and their biggest advantage over the Rays. One game elimination at home with that offense. I take the A's.

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