There’s no doubt the Oakland Athletics were one of the surprise teams around all of baseball last season, shattering their win-total mark en route to reaching the postseason for the first time in four years.
Unfortunately, their championship dreams were short-lived, as the New York Yankees sent them packing after a decisive beatdown in the Wild Card game. This weekend, they will return to the scene of the crime in the Bronx.
The A’s look like the hotter team at the moment, entering Tuesday’s action having gone 8-3 in their last 11, a stretch that also includes a three-game sweep of these same Yankees when they were in Oakland.
Of course, these games are far more important to the Athletics, who are looking to maintain their grip on one of the two Wild Card spots. Let’s see how the two contenders will match up.
Brett Anderson vs. CC Sabathia (Friday): Two veteran southpaws kick things off at Yankee Stadium. For the A’s, they’ll hope Anderson can provide something in line with the steady work he’s contributed in 2019, but it may be as difficult a challenge that can be presented to the lefty. In eight career meetings with the Yanks, he’s 0-6 with an ugly 6.86 ERA and 1.75 WHIP.
Sabathia’s career numbers against this opponent (11-12, 4.66 ERA, 1.39 WHIP in 32 starts) aren’t pretty either, but that’s not even the most concerning thing about his outlook in this one. The 39-year-old just hasn’t been dependable at all lately, failing to escape the fifth inning in each of his last four outings. OVER
Homer Bailey vs. Domingo German (Saturday): Surprisingly, Bailey held down the Yanks when these two teams first met at the Coliseum, firing 5.2 innings of one-run ball while racking up eight strikeouts and no walks. It was maybe an anomaly, though, considering the 13-year veteran now holds a 5.52 ERA since being acquired by the A’s.
He’ll take on baseball’s leader in wins (17) this time around. German is simply looking to keep it going after beating Clayton Kershaw on Sunday Night Baseball last week. However, when he faced Oakland in the assignment prior to that, the 27-year-old was tagged for six runs (five earned) in 5.1 innings. He might have more problems trying to slow them down, as the A’s are plating 5.7 runs per game in August. OVER
Mike Fiers vs. J.A. Happ (Sunday): Happ continues to be put under the microscope as perhaps the weak link on the Yankee pitching staff. After all, he owns a 5.57 ERA on the year and has been worse than that since the All-Star Game, sporting a 6.70 ERA and 1.53 WHIP in the season’s second half. Plus, he lasted only four innings vs. Oakland last week.
Fiers has been far more consistent, even crafting together an impressive streak of 13 consecutive quality starts that was only snapped at the beginning of this month. However, Fiers just isn’t as consistent on the road — a trend that’s leaked throughout his career (4.52 ERA) — compared to when he’s dealing from pitcher-friendly Oakland, where he’s compiled a lifetime 3.07 ERA. OVER
Last week: 1-2