AL Wild-Card Game Predictions: Who Has the Edge in A's-Rays?
On the heels of an exciting NL wild-card match Tuesday night, we get to do it all over again 24 hours later. The A's and Rays square off in Oakland Wednesday evening, opposing Sean Manaea of the A's and Tampa Bay's Charlie Morton on the mound. First pitch is at 8:09 p.m. ET on ESPN. Time to predict!
Tom Verducci: A's over Rays
The joint will be jumping. Home field matters in a 2-1 ballgame. This is more a curiosity than anything meaningful: Tampa Bay in its history is 42-83 (.336) in front of crowds of 45,000 or more, including 3-14 over the past five years under manager Kevin Cash. (Prediction Record: 1-0)
Stephanie Apstein: A's over Rays
This is a tough call. I'll go with the A's because they have more power in their lineup and they get to play at home at a weird start time–5:09 p.m. locally–that will create difficult shadows. (Prediction Record: 1-0)
Emma Baccellieri: A's over Rays
It's true that the Rays should have the edge for starting pitching in this one in the form of Charlie Morton. But even so, Oakland's offense is a force to contend with, and the A's seem equipped to take this one at home. (Prediction Record: 0-1)
Jon Tayler: Rays over A's
This feels like a coin flip, but my bet is that Tampa’s quietly excellent bullpen can hold the A’s down long enough for the win. The Rays will have to win this one close, though: Their offense can’t hang with Oakland’s thumpers. This one should be a tense affair. (Prediction Record: 1-0)
Connor Grossman: A's over Rays
The A’s miniature history in the wild-card game is not a good one. Last year they got ambushed at Yankee Stadium and in 2014 they were on the wrong side of the most epic one-game playoff yet. So, uh, third time’s the charm, right? The A’s are my pick because this exercise requires us to pick a team, but let’s appreciate these two clubs specifically are playing each other on the October stage. Here’s to not tanking. (Prediction Record: 0-1)
Matt Martell: Rays over A's
This is a tough call, with Rays starter Charlie Morton being the deciding factor here. Morton, who won the 2017 World Series with the Astros, has been one of the best pitchers in the AL this season, and he's been particularly dominant against the A's. Morton has a 0.68 ERA over 13 1/3 innings this season and a 2.97 ERA in seven career starts against Oakland. (Prediction Record: 1-0)
Michael Shapiro: A's over Rays
Perhaps I’d feel differently if this game were at the Trop, but Oakland’s depth gives the A’s an edge in this one-game playoff. Bob Melvin will push the right buttons and the A’s offense should get rolling on their home turf. (Prediction Record: 1-0)