Entering the 2018 season, the future of the Oakland Athletics looked bright, but most thought the team was at least another season away.
In each of the last three years the team finished last in the American League West and a goal of .500 with one of the league’s smallest payrolls was considered reachable.
Things took a turn for the worse with four starting pitchers lost to Tommy John surgery and finishing last in the division appeared on the horizon.
However, the team ignored doubters and from the middle of June kept winning. On Monday night, just after starting play in Seattle, the A’s officially clinched a postseason berth for the first time in four seasons, when the New York Yankees beat the Tampa Bay Rays, the closest pursuer to the team.
The A’s did not let that distract them as they beat Seattle 7-3 with the help of four home runs. Following their win over the Mariners, the A’s held a postgame party in the visiting team’s clubhouse.
Bob Melvin the manager of the A’s told his team the clubhouse looked great with all the celebrating so let’s try to have more of these.
The American League wildcard game will be played October 3 and Oakland will likely use most of this next week resting its bullpen and some of its position players, while trying to gain the home field advantage away from the Yankees.
The starting pitchers for the AL wildcard game for Oakland will depend upon where it is played. Neither Edwin Jackson nor Mike Fiers has pitched that well at Yankee Stadium, although both have only two starts each in the Bronx.
Brett Anderson has an ERA of 4.50 at Yankee Stadium in five starts and though New York has a record of 67-45 versus right-handed starters, the Yankees are 29-15 versus lefties.
Since the middle of May, Oakland has won 36 of 54 road games and manager Melvin said if home field advantage does not work out, his players are not afraid of playing on the road, as they have showed that all season.
Since the middle of June, Oakland is 61-26, which is the best in all of baseball, and has been successful with a balanced effort that includes one of the baseball’s best bullpens, a strong defense and a powerful lineup featuring Khris Davis the leader in home runs in the majors with 46, and four more players with 20 or more home runs.