Oakland Athletics V. Houston Astros
Wild Card Round Outcome:
Oakland beat Chicago in three
Houston swept Minnesota 2-0
The Oakland Athletics have finally gotten over the hump and won a playoff series for the first time since 2006. Now standing in their way of advancing to the ALCS is the Houston Astros. The same Astros that won the AL West from 2017-2019, causing the A’s to continually play in the Wild Card round. This series will be full of bad blood that could spill onto the diamond. Back in August, Ramon Laureano charged the Astros dugout due to the antics of Houston’s hitting coach Alex Cintrón. Both were suspended and tensions have been high since. Throw in the Astros cheating scandal that led to the A’s finishing second in the division the last two years, and you have the recipe for must-watch baseball.
Oakland will be without superstar Matt Chapman who underwent season-ending surgery. In his stead is Matt Olsen, Sean Murphy, Marcus Semien, Kris Davis, and Mark Canha. While Oakland’s offensive is formidable, their bread and butter is their bullpen. Jake Diekman and Liam Hendriks locked down the late innings for Oakland, with Joakim Soria, J.B. Wendelken, Yusmeiro Petit, and Lou Trivino filling in when needed. This group has been shut down all season, but will be tested by the Yankees sluggers.
The Houston Astro’s are without ace Justin Verlander and closer Roberto Ozuna. Despite this, the Astros still have Zack Greinke leading the rotation. In-Game One of his Wild Card match up with the Twins, he only allowed one run over four innings. Outside of Greinke, the Astro’s rotation is very thin, putting even more pressure on the veteran.
George Springer, Jose Altuve, Michael Brantley, Alex Bregman, Carlos Correa, and Yuli Gurriel will be leading the offensive charge for Houston. After sweeping the Twins, Correa threw fuel on the fire when he said,
"“I know a lot of people are mad. I know a lot of people don’t want to see us here. But what are they going to say now?,”."
Prediction: Oakland is the deeper team and will be looking to make a statement. The A’s offense has enough firepower to go toe to toe with the Astro’s, while the bullpen puts them over the top. A’s in five.