If the Yankee’s or the A’s were in the National League, either team would be the first seed. But in the AL, the 100-win Yankees and 97-win Athletics are just strange wild-card teams.

Yankees And A’s To Face Off In Wild Card Game

Besides their records, it’s also the first time an “opener” will be used in a postseason game as the A’s will start with a relief pitcher on the mound. Liam Hendricks will pitch the first inning and then the rest of the bullpen will go from there.

Luis Severino, 19-8 this season with a 3.39 ERA, will start for New York despite a second half slump. First-year manager Aaron Boone penciled him in after consulting with general manager Brian Cashman, pitching coach Larry Rothschild, and the scouting and analytics department on Sunday.

At the All-Star break, Severino had a 14-2 record and a 2.12 ERA. but a disastrous 11-start stretch with a 6.73 ERA defined the months leading up to October. In last year’s wild-card game, Severino recorded only one out against Minnesota before being pulled. And in his last start against Oakland, also his shortest of the season, he only lasted two and 2/3 innings.


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Expect the game to be defined by bullpens. The A’s used an opener nine times in September with Hendriks taking eight of these “starts”, the majority of his appearances lasting only one inning. In each, a guy who’s typically a starting pitcher came in for the second inning but A’s manager Bob Melvin may work his way through the bullpen tonight. Fernando Rodney and Jeurys Familia are expected to come in before closer Blake Treinen ends the night.

However, the Yankees have a near-historic set of relievers. Some combination of Zach Britton, Chad Green, Dellin BetancesDavid Robertson, and Aroldis Chapman will determine the box score. But at a field like Yankee Stadium, one wrong pitch can wind up in the bleachers.

The two teams are strong at the plate too. The Yankees and the A’s had the number two and four run-scoring offenses in the MLB this year. The A’s were also third in homers but still behind New York’s record 267. Despite the numbers, in a do-or-die game, a team could move on with a Gleyber Torres blooper or Jonathon Lucroy drawing a bases-loaded walk despite having a .291 OBP. Just last night, the Cubs lost because of one at-bat.

Wednesday’s game at Yankee Stadium will start at 8:08 p.m. EST and air on TBS.

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