Ben Margot/Associated Press
Oakland has reached the postseason in each of the last two years, losing in the wild-card game.
MLB lowered the bar for entry in this year’s playoffs, with eight teams from each league moving on. As a result, the wild-card game is giving way to its own separate round.
The rotation’s collective FIP speaks to a unit that is solid but may not have a bona-fide ace.
Frankie Montas has fallen short of expectations and endured a brutal end to August, allowing 18 earned runs over 9.2 innings. Sean Manaea boasts a 4.50 ERA, which is skewed by a .322 opponent batting average on balls in play, per FanGraphs. Chris Bassitt and Jesus Luzardo have both been very good, but Luzardo’s three innings in the 2019 wild-card game are the entirety of their playoff experience.
Minor’s performance has dipped significantly compared to his 2019 production (14-10, 3.59 ERA and 200 strikeouts), which was good enough to earn his first All-Star nod. The veteran southpaw might not make a big impact when the postseason rolls around.
The Athletics have a strong bullpen led by Liam Hendriks, Jake Diekman, J.B. Wendelken and Yusmeiro Petit. Getting into a position where the relievers have a lead to protect could be the issue.