These five A’s who could push Oakland into the ALDS

These five A’s who could push Oakland into the ALDS

The A’s are just hours away from taking on the Tampa Bay Rays at the Coliseum for their second straight wild-card game. Who should you keep an eye on? All of them, sure, but here are five key names that could be influential in getting this team to the ALDS, where Houston awaits.

LHP Sean Manaea: The wild-card game’s starter for the A’s has been sharp in all five of his starts since returning from last year’s season-ending shoulder surgery. He has a 1.21 ERA with 30 strikeouts and a .775 WHIP this year.

LHP Jesús Luzardo: There is no guarantee that Luzardo will come out of the bullpen, of course. That all will depend on how this wild game flows. But, if Manaea deals his typical five-to-seven-inning outing, Luzardo may well be the first guy out of the ‘pen. The natural starter has been a stellar reliever, compiling a 1.50 ERA and 16 strikeouts in 12 innings with a .667 WHIP.

The Matts: OK, we cheated a little combining Matt Chapman and Matt Olson. They are very different players, and yet they make one of the most dynamic duos in all of baseball.

One big defensive play could dictate this game, so having arguably the best third baseman and first baseman in the league on the corners could be key to reining in opposing runs. They are also two cornerstone hitters in this lineup. Olson’s left-handed bat could be key against right-handed Rays starter Charlie Morton. Chapman started to regain his timing of late and should be making some noise, too.

OF Ramón Laureano: Laureano had a soft landing upon his return back to the team Sept. 6 from a shin injury. He wasn’t playing in back-to-back games for a few series until the last week or so of the regular season.

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