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A capsule look at the Athletics-Yankees playoff game

October 2, 2018
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Oakland Athletics Stephen Piscotty, right, and Matt Olson celebrate as both score on Piscotty's home run against the Los Angeles Angels in the second inning of a baseball game in Anaheim, Calif., Sunday, Sept. 30, 2018. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

A look at the American League wild-card game between the Oakland Athletics and New York Yankees:

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Schedule: Wednesday, at New York, 8:08 p.m. EDT (TBS).

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Season Series: Split 3-3.

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Projected Lineups:

Athletics: LF Nick Martini (.296, 1 HR, 19 RBIs), 3B Matt Chapman (.278, 24, 68, 42 2Bs, 100 runs), 2B Jed Lowrie (.267, 23, 99, 37 2Bs), DH Khris Davis (.247, 48, 123), RF Stephen Piscotty (.267, 27, 88, 41 2Bs), 1B Matt Olson (.247, 29, 84), SS Marcus Semien (.255, 15, 70), CF Ramon Laureano (.288, 5, 19 in 48 games), C Jonathan Lucroy (.241, 4, 51).

Yankees: LF Andrew McCutchen (.255, 20, 65 for Pirates and Yankees) or Brett Gardner (.236, 12, 45, 16 SBs), RF Aaron Judge (.278, 27, 67, 152 Ks in 112 games), SS Didi Gregorius (.268, 27, 86 in 134 games), DH Giancarlo Stanton (.266, 38, 100, 211 Ks), CF Aaron Hicks (.248, 27, 79 in 137 games), 3B Miguel Andujar (.297, 27, 92, 47 2Bs), 1B Luke Voit (.322, 15, 36 in 47 games for Cardinals and Yankees; .333, 14, 33 in 39 games with Yankees), C Gary Sanchez (.186, 18, 53 in 89 games), 2B Gleyber Torres (.271, 24, 77 in 123 games).

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Starting Pitchers:

Athletics: RH Liam Hendriks (0-1, 4.13 ERA overall; 0-1, 2.08 in 8 games as “opener”).

Yankees: RH Luis Severino (19-8, 3.39, 220 Ks).

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Relievers:

Athletics: RH Blake Treinen (9-2, 0.78 ERA, 38/43 saves, .158 BA against), RH Jeurys Familia (8-6, 3.13, 18/24 saves with A’s and Mets), RH Fernando Rodney (4-3, 3.36, 25/32 saves with A’s and Twins), RH Lou Trivino (8-3, 2.92, 4 saves), LH Ryan Buchter (6-0, 2.75), RH Shawn Kelley (2-0, 2.94 with A’s and Nationals), RH Yusmeiro Petit (7-3, 3.00), RH Emilio Pagan (3-1, 4.35), RH J.B. Wendelken (0-0, 0.54 in 13 games), RH Mike Fiers (12-8, 3.56 with A’s and Tigers) or LH Brett Anderson (4-5, 4.48).

Yankees: LH Aroldis Chapman (3-0, 2.45, 32/34 saves, .136 BA against, 93 Ks in 51 1/3 IP), RH Dellin Betances (4-6, 2.70, 4 saves, 115 Ks in 66 2/3 IP), LH Zach Britton (2-0, 3.10, 7/10 saves for Orioles and Yankees), RH David Robertson (8-3, 3.23, 5 saves), RH Chad Green (8-3, 2.50), RH Jonathan Holder (1-3, 3.14), LH J.A. Happ (17-6, 3.65 for Blue Jays and Yankees; 7-0, 2.69 in 11 starts with Yankees), RH Masahiro Tanaka (12-6, 3.75), RP Lance Lynn (10-10, 4.77 for Cardinals and Yankees).

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Matchups:

This is the fourth postseason meeting between the franchises. Yankees swept Oakland in the 1981 ALCS and won Division Series in five games in 2000 and ’01. ... Yankees took two of three from A’s at home in May, and Oakland did the same in September. ... Series matches two of the top three home run-hitting teams in the majors. Yankees launched a big league-record 267 this year, while A’s finished with 227. Oakland set franchise record with 569 extra-base hits. ... Oakland hit 135 homers on the road, third-most all-time. ... A’s averaged 5.5 runs per game on the road, best in the majors and almost a run higher than at home. ... Lucroy leads the majors with 31 runners thrown out stealing, but Yankees aren’t much of a threat on the bases with only 63 stolen bases. ... Laureano leads majors with nine outfield assists since making his debut Aug. 3. ... New York skipper Aaron Boone will be managing his first postseason game after replacing Joe Girardi last offseason.

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Big Picture:

Athletics: Oakland finished last in AL West the past three seasons before breaking through this year under manager Bob Melvin. The A’s (97-65) were just 34-36 on June 15 and 11 games out of a playoff spot before going a major league-best 63-29 the rest of the way. ... Oakland is making its ninth playoff appearance this century but has advanced past the Division Series just once, in 2006. The team is 1-13 during that span with a chance to move on, including a 9-8 loss in 12 innings to Kansas City in the 2014 wild-card game. ... The 22-win improvement from last year is the third-biggest turnaround in Oakland history. ... Oakland is 70-2 when leading after seven innings, with the only losses coming after a playoff berth was clinched. A’s also went a major league-best 31-14 in one-run games. ... Following injuries to Sean Manaea, Jharel Cotton and several others, the A’s made do with a patchwork rotation all year. The only starter who began the season with the team and remains on the active roster is Daniel Mengden. Melvin used 15 starters, frequently employing a reliever in an “opener” role down the stretch. None of the team’s five starters to begin the season are expected to be on the wild-card roster. The A’s got 45 wins out of their bullpen, thanks in part to the “opener” strategy. ... Davis led the majors in homers and leads all players with 133 over the past three seasons. ... A’s were last in the majors in steals (35) and second-to-last in sacrifice bunts (6). ... Trivino had a 1.16 ERA over his first 45 games and an 8.20 mark in his final 22.

Yankees: Reliant on the home run, the Bronx Bombers wanted the win-or-go-home game at Yankee Stadium, where they were 53-28 during the regular season. ... New York became the first team to hit 20 or more home runs from all nine slots in the batting order, a big reason behind the Yankees’ 100-62 record, their best since winning the 2009 World Series. Still, they finished eight games behind rival Boston in the AL East. ... Several key players are coming off injuries. Judge missed seven weeks with a broken right wrist, returned in mid-September and hit .220 with one homer and six RBIs in 13 games. ... Gregorius missed five games in late September after tearing cartilage in his right wrist while sliding across home plate to score the run that clinched a postseason berth. Hicks, who doubled in Gregorius with that run, missed three games during the final week with left hamstring tightness. Chapman did not pitch between Aug. 21 and Sept. 20 because of left knee tendinitis. ... Yankees are hosting AL wild-card game for third time in four years. They lost to Houston in 2015 and beat Minnesota last season even though Severino got just one out in the first inning. He left with a 3-0 deficit, but the bullpen came through and the bats responded.

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Watch For:

— Bullpen Game. Hendriks was outstanding in the “opener” role, allowing four hits and two walks over seven shutout innings in his last seven starts. While the A’s have often followed the “opener” with an experienced starter, Melvin might opt for a full bullpen game against the Yankees in hopes of giving Treinen a late lead to protect. Treinen’s ERA is the lowest ever for a pitcher with at least 75 innings. Hendriks would be the fourth pitcher to start a postseason game after a winless season, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Virgil Trucks started twice for Detroit in the 1945 World Series after returning from World War II and making one regular-season appearance. The others were Milwaukee’s Yovani Gallardo in 2008 after returning from a torn knee ligament, and St. Louis’ Chris Carpenter in 2012 following surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome.

— Young Stars. The Yankees’ lineup was invigorated by two rookies who came up early this season in Andujar and Torres. Andujar’s 47 doubles broke the franchise rookie record set by Joe DiMaggio in 1936. Voit, a July acquisition from St. Louis, has filled the offensive void at first base created by Greg Bird’s season-long slump.

— Hot Corner. A big reason for Oakland’s success has been the defensive brilliance of Chapman at third base. He makes the highlight-reel plays look routine and is skilled coming in on bunts, ranging back for popups, going into foul territory or to his left. He has a strong arm, too, which helps him complete the toughest plays.

— Whoops. Sanchez’s defense has remained a problem for the Yankees. His 18 passed balls were five more than any other big league catcher, raising his two-year total to 34. He also was behind the plate for 45 wild pitches in 76 games, raising his two-year total to 98 allowed. He does have a powerful arm and threw out 12 of 40 runners attempting to steal.

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