It’s a potential American League playoff preview starting Tuesday when the Chicago White Sox visit the Oakland A’s for a three-game set – they met in the 2020 playoffs. The A’s will be favored on the MLB series line odds.
Analysis MLB Series On This Week
- When: Tuesday-Thursday
- Times: 9:40 PM ET first two games; 3:37 PM ET Thursday
- Where: Oakland Coliseum
- TV: MLB Extra Innings
The White Sox have the AL Central Division in the bag so they will be playing postseason baseball in back-to-back years for the first time in franchise history. The A’s seem unlikely to catch Houston in the AL West so they would have to earn a wild-card spot to return to the playoffs. They could get beaten out, though, by both the Yankees and Red Sox.
These teams met in last year’s three-game Wild-Card series in Oakland – the Wild-Card round is back to a one-game, winner-take-all this year – and the A’s won the clinching Game 3 by a score of 6-4. In doing so, Oakland stopped a nine-game losing streak in winner-take-all postseason games, a major league record that dated to the 1973 World Series. The A’s had lost six straight playoff series since sweeping Minnesota in the 2006 Division Series, starting with when Detroit swept Oakland in that year’s Championship Series.
When these clubs met in Chicago in mid-August, the White Sox took three of four, with the A’s avoiding the sweep with a 5-4 win in the finale. However, the White Sox have lost eight straight regular-season games in Oakland.
Chicago is currently without arguably its most important player in shortstop and leadoff hitter Tim Anderson. He’s on the 10-day injured list with a left hamstring strain. The 2019 AL batting champ is in the midst of another strong season, hitting .302/.331/.458 with 14 home runs and 17 stolen bases. The Sox are a .500 team when he’s not in the lineup. No reason to push Anderson now as Chicago has such a huge lead in the division.José Abreu, the reigning AL Player of the Month, needs two home runs to record his fifth career 30-HR/100-RBI season. Abreu is attempting to join Cecil Fielder (1990-92 with Detroit) as the only players in in history to lead the American League in RBI three straight seasons.
Chicago has had seven straight winning regular-season months, their longest streak since a nine-month run from June 1993-August 1994. It marks the first time since 2008 they have begun a season with five straight winning months.
The A’s are 19-24 (.442) in one-run games, which is the fourth worst record in the American League. They lead the AL in one-run losses and rank second in one-run decisions (43). They are 29-36 (.446) in games decided by two runs or fewer.
Four of the A’s last five wins have come in games in which the opponent starts a left-handed pitcher. They are 31-20 when the opponent starts a left-handed pitcher compared to 43-42 against righthanders. The mark against lefties is second best in the majors to the Dodgers.
The pitching matchup for Tuesday’s opener is a bit up in the air for the White Sox because starters Lucas Giolito and Lance Lynn are both on the injured list and Carlos Rodon is battling fatigue. Thus, it will either be a bullpen day or someone will be called up from Triple-A.
Oakland will go with rookie James Kaprielian (7-4, 3.87 ERA). He was reinstated from the injured list on Aug. 8 and is 2-0 despite a 5.68 ERA in five starts since his return. He was 5-4 with a 3.24 ERA in 13 starts when he was placed on the 10-day IL with a right shoulder impingement.
His 3.87 ERA is fifth lowest in the AL among rookies and he ranks fourth in opponents OPS (.719), batting average (.223) and on-base percentage (.296) and fifth in slugging percentage (.423). His opponents’ batting average breaks down to .176 with a .558 OPS against right-handed hitters compared to .271 with an .883 OPS against left-handers. Kaprielian is 5-2 with a 2.44 ERA at home, 2-2 with a 5.26 ERA on the road. This will be his first career start vs. Chicago.
- A’s win two of three
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