Good morning, Athletics Nation!
The Oakland A’s won a postseason series!! Thanks to a thrilling Game 3 victory Thursday over the Chicago White Sox in the Wild Card Round, the green and gold are headed to the ALDS to face the Houston Astros. They haven’t moved on since 2006, and they haven’t captured a winner-take-all game since 1973.
However, eight other teams won’t be as fortunate in the Wild Card Round, including the Sox themselves. Six clubs have already been eliminated from the first round of the postseason, with two more to come on Friday, and it’s refreshingly weird to not be including the A’s on that list. Here’s a quick run through the bracket.
In the American League, the White Sox were the only team who took it to a third game before falling — all the other series ended in sweeps. First up are the No. 1 Tampa Bay Rays, who breezed past the No. 8 Toronto Blue Jays. After winning Game 1 by a 3-1 score, in Game 2 they led 7-0 by the 2nd inning, and the Jays never mounted any serious comeback in an 8-2 final. Final: Rays move on, Blue Jays eliminated
Tampa Bay will face a division rival in the ALDS, as the No. 5 New York Yankees overcame the No. 4 Cleveland Indians. After a dominant Game 1 smashing by New York, Game 2 was a thriller. Each team led on multiple occasions, and Cleveland had the advantage entering the 9th, but the Yankees mustered one more rally to snatch a last-minute 10-9 victory. The Indians’ vaunted rotation got blasted twice, and their former player Gio Urshela hit a grand slam against them in the wild second game. Final: Yankees move on, Indians eliminated
Rounding out the AL are the No. 6 Houston Astros, who upset the No. 3 Minnesota Twins. In Game 2, Jose Urquidy and Cristian Javier essentially piggybacked the start, and the Twins couldn’t figure them out in a 3-1 loss. Minnesota scored only two runs in the pair of games, both driven in by Nelson Cruz, and they’ve now lost 18 straight postseason games dating back to 2004 — that’s the longest postseason futility streak in the history of North American pro sports. Final: Astros move on, Twins eliminated
The Minnesota Twins have lost 18 consecutive postseason games.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) September 30, 2020
The streak started in 2004, continued in 2006, grew into kinda messed up in 2009, was like WTF in 2010, got super painful in 2017, stopped making any sense in 2019 and in 2020 is sadly amazing and amazingly sad.
In the National League, the No. 1 Los Angeles Dodgers made short work of the No. 8 Milwaukee Brewers. It turns out all Clayton Kershaw needed to pitch well in the playoffs was a sub-.500 opponent, as he fired eight shutout innings with 13 strikeouts and only a walk and three hits. Final: Dodgers move on, Brewers eliminated
The No. 2 Atlanta Braves also took care of business, against the No. 7 Cincinnati Reds. Game 2 stayed within regulation length after the opener went 13 frames, and in 22 total innings the Reds didn’t score a single run, the longest any MLB team has ever gone without scoring to begin a postseason. They lost 1-0 and 5-0, squandering a gem from Trevor Bauer and a nice start by Luis Castillo, respectively. Atlanta took advantage of their own gems from Max Fried and Ian Anderson. Final: Braves move on, Reds eliminated
The other two NL series are still ongoing. The No. 4 San Diego Padres and No. 5 St. Louis Cardinals are split 1-1, after a dramatic 11-9 slugfest in Game 2 went the Padres’ way in the end. However, Game 2 between the No. 3 Chicago Cubs and No. 6 Miami Marlins was postponed due to weather, so they’ve only played one game with Miami up 1-0.
Click here to see the live bracket, including schedule info for the remaining Wild Card Round games.
Next up for the A’s is the ALDS against the Astros. It won’t begin until Monday, as teams need a couple days to gather in their new bubbles and perform intake protocols. Oakland and Houston will play their best-of-five series in Los Angeles, at Dodger Stadium.
- Ross: A’s exorcise playoff demons, beat White Sox to advance to ALDS
- Gallegos: A’s advance, win 1st playoff series since ‘06
- Gallegos: A ‘Hercu-Liam’ effort by Hendriks propels A’s
- Hickey: HercuLiam Effort By Athletics Pushes Wild Card Troubles into the A’s Past
- Hickey: Athletics Put Wild Card Hex Behind Them, Beat White Sox to Advance to ALDS vs. Astros
- Hickey: Melvin Takes Great Delight in Being Able to Write Khris Davis Into Athletics’ Lineup
- Hickey: Athletics’ Diekman on Having Three Straight Noon Starts: `It’s horseshit’
- Slusser: A’s Jake Diekman blasts noon game times but says winning would ensure better schedule ($)
- Slusser: Chad Pinder, lots of walks, help A’s top White Sox to advance past first round ($)
- Kroichick: A’s Chad Pinder helps fill the gap at third base in Matt Chapman’s absence ($)
- Kawahara: From Petit to ‘Hercu-Liam,’ A’s bullpen huge in Game 3 ($)
- Lockard: How the A’s won the cat-and-mouse game in a grueling series-clinching victory ($$$)
- Lockard: A resurgent Frankie Montas and Chad Pinder’s return propel A’s into the playoffs ($$$)
- Thompson: A’s exorcise postseason demons, now we get to see how good they are ($$$)
- McTaggart: Heated Astros-A’s rivalry hits October
- Shea: How A’s Ramón Laureano was distracted during his in-game ESPN interview ($)
- Lindbergh: I Don’t Like Live, In-Game Interviews in MLB Playoff Games. Does This Make Me a Grump?
- AN: 3 former White Sox players led Oakland A’s to postseason series win over Chicago
- Wild Card Series, Game 3: Oakland A’s win a playoff series!
MLB News & Interest
- You already read about it above
- Today in Baseball History
Game 3 Highlights
Win! THE A’S WON A PLAYOFF SERIES!!!
It started weird
This is the first winner-take-all game in postseason history where neither starting pitcher completed 2 innings.— Sarah Langs (@SlangsOnSports) October 1, 2020
Then it warmed up
Murph keeps the A’s in it with one swing of the bat pic.twitter.com/ffbyBlg388— A's on NBCS (@NBCSAthletics) October 1, 2020
Then Pinder became a hero
Best of Twitter
NOPE NOPE NOPE
Hendriks is all smiles after the win pic.twitter.com/g1hzr2V1ae— A's on NBCS (@NBCSAthletics) October 1, 2020
Once more for the people in the back
Jake Diekman on #Athletics playing three noon playoff games in a row: "I think that’s horseshit. And I’m sorry but we’re the second seed and we play three noon games in a row. That’s terrible."— Matt Kawahara (@matthewkawahara) October 1, 2020
According to AN, they switched out their second-best jersey for their best jersey
A’s breaking the tradition and switching to the hone whites today after winning in the kelly greens yesterday.— Martín Gallegos (@MartinJGallegos) October 1, 2020
Pinder finally writes his chapter in this team’s story
Pinder has so patiently bided his time to play for .... well, years, really. A team leader behind the scenes, beloved by the players and the staff. I am sure they're all thrilled to see him come through in a big situation.— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) October 1, 2020
Apparently Hendriks was indeed available
Liam’s slowest pitch today was 97.5 after 49 pitches yesterday..special— Vince Cotroneo (@vincebaseball) October 1, 2020
And Red Bull, if he’s anything like Chris Bassitt
Liam Hendriks touched 100 mph in the ninth after throwing 49 pitches: "It was a mixture of adrenaline and fear."— Martín Gallegos (@MartinJGallegos) October 1, 2020
T-shirt coming (seriously though, the design is done and it’ll be released by this afternoon)
Bob Melvin called Liam Hendriks “Hercu-Liam” after his save today following 49 pitches yesterday. Hendriks says he’d like a shirt with that on it, stat.— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) October 1, 2020
Fair enough. Three days off (from playing, at least) until the next game!
Liam Hendriks' first comments: "To be honest, I need a nap."— Ben Ross (@BenRossTweets) October 1, 2020