The New York Yankees were 100 game winners this season but still find themselves in a 1-game playoff in the 2018 AL Wild Card pick. Despite the fact that anything can happen in a wild card game, oddsmakers have made the Yankees a pretty confident -205 favorite up against the A’s in the Bronx tonight. Don’t count out the A’s however as they’re 7-3 in the last 10 head-to-head meetings and offer tremendous value at +180 this evening.
#1 Question – Can Oakland Get to Severino?
Yankees manager Aaron Boone knows the importance of the 2018 AL wild card pick which is why he’s sending his 19 game winner Luis Severino (19-8, 3.39) to the hill instead of saving him to open a potential series with Boston starting Friday. The A’s offense should have confidence as the Twins got to Severino for 3 ER and 2HR in last year’s AL wild card contest. Oakland got the the right-hander nearly a month ago too. In a September 5th contest the A’s plated 5ER against Severino in just 2.2 IP. The Oakland offense has been clicking too, scoring 5+ runs in 6 of the last 7 games -all on the road. Khris Davis (.111) and Matt Chapman (.167) need to step up their games after career struggles vs. Severino but Jed Lowrie should be in line for a big night as he’s gone 6-11 (.545) in his career against the Yankees starter.
While New York has a solid starter on the hill for tonight’s game, the A’s have opted for the strategy of bullpenning this game. This worked for Oakland on September 5th when tonight’s opener Liam Hendricks (0-1, 4.12) got a 1-2-3 first against the Yankees before Daniel Mengden came in to work 4-2/3 scoreless innings. The A’s are also familiar with this approach, having lost 10 starters to injury at some point in the season. Blake Treinen has been great out of the pen with a 9-2 record, an 0.78 ERA and 100 K’s in 80 IP. Bullpenning also allows Oakland manager Bob Melvin to play the matchup game against the powerful New York offense so it might not be as crazy a move as it sounds.
As a @RedSox fan, Oakland is a lot scarier than the Yankees in the ALDS. Also, no clue why NY is starting Luis Severino instead of Happ or even Tanaka. Aaron Boone off to a fine start when it matters????
— Dan Orencole (@OrencoleDan) October 3, 2018
Is All the Pressure on New York Tonight?
We saw it last night with Chicago, sometimes the favorites grip their bat a little too tight in these one-game playoff contests. Oakland should be playing carefree in the 2018 AL wild card free pick. After all, the A’s won 47 road games this season and set an MLB record by going yard in 25 straight road contests this year. The Yankees offense could be hitting the cover off the ball at the right time of year however. Giancarlo Stanton has 8 hits in his last 16AB (.500) with 3HR which is actually bested by Luke Voit who also has 3HR in his past 4 games but is 9 for his last 16 (.563). Andrew McCutchen has looked good with a .357 over the last week of the year and Aaron Judge is even hitting .308 with a HR in his last 4 games.
Despite his struggles in last year’s wild card game, Boone went with Severino over other pitching options such as Masahiro Tanaka and J.A Happ. The A’s hit lower velocity fastballs well, but struggle against power pitchers. Severino actually led the majors in highest average fastball velocity at 97.6 MPH. Although the A’s did get to Severino early in the month, that game was in Oakland. The 2018 AL wild card free pick is at Yankee Stadium – a place where the home team is 22-4 the last 26 times Severino has taken the hill.
2018 AL Wild Card Free Pick Betting
The A’s have beaten the odds time and time again in their franchise history and are up against it tonight. The public knows that Oakland is not a team to be taken lightly which is why 45% of the public likes the visitors tonight. Severino has been great, especially at home but meanwhile the A’s bullpen is the 2nd best in baseball. Oakland has won 7 of the last 10 H2H meetings, but have dropped 4 of the last 5 in the Bronx. That being said they did get to Severino the last time out which has to give them some confidence. Combine that with the potency of the Yankees offense and the unpredictability of Melvin to push all the right buttons in his bullpen matchups you have to think there’s some runs scored tonight.
AL Wild Card Free Pick: A’s / Yankees *Over* 8.5