September 17, 2021

AL Wild Card Game: Who Has The Edge? (Baseball Essential)

As the second of a pair of compelling Wild Card Games nears, it is essential to compare the advantages and disadvantages of the clubs competing in the do-or-die contest.

After a National League Wild Card Game for the ages — where Juan Soto smacked a sharp, three-RBI hit off Josh Hader to give the Washington Nationals a big win over the Milwaukee Brewers on Tuesday– it’s time to turn our eyes to the American League side.

The Tampa Bay Rays (96-66) travel to the Bay Area to face the Oakland Athletics (97-65) in a battle between two teams who have had to get creative with payroll, player deployment, and roster management just to even get here, putting everything on the line for a shot at the Houston Astros (107-55), the AL’s top seed.

Now it’s time to look deep into which teams hold critical advantages in major aspects of the one-off, do-or-die game. We’ll continue with the AL and take a look at six tactical aisles: starting pitching, relief pitching, offensive firepower, defensive prowess, managing, and historical trends.

Starting Pitching

Rays: Charlie Morton (16-6, 3.05 ERA, 4.21 K/BB)
Athletics: Sean Manaea (4-0, 1.21 ERA, 4.29 K/BB)

This is what a do-or-die,…

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