American League Wild Card: A’s at Royals – 09-30-2014


Oakland A’s at Kansas City Royals (-103, 6.5)

The Kansas City Royals are playing a postseason game for the
first time in 29 years when they host the Oakland Athletics in
Tuesday’s American League wild-card game. The Royals have been
perennial pushovers since winning the 1985 World Series before
recently emerging behind a rock-solid bullpen. Oakland, which
went 10-20 to finish this season, is in the postseason for the
third straight season and lost to the Detroit Tigers in the AL
Division Series each of the last two years.

Jon Lester, who was acquired from the Boston Red Sox
specifically for this situation, will be on the mound for the
Athletics. James Shields takes the ball for Kansas City and
will get the opportunity to back up his nickname of “Big Game
James.” Closer Greg Holland (46 saves, 1.44 ERA) and setup man
Wade Davis (9-2, 1.00) headline the Royals’ bullpen, but
Oakland is strong in the back end as well, led by closer Sean
Doolittle (22 saves, 89 strikeouts against just eight walks).

TV: 8:07 p.m. ET, TBS

LINE HISTORY: Books opened the Royals -110,
but has adjusted to -103. The total has held at 6.5

WEATHER: Temperatures will be in the mid-70s
under partly cloudy skies. Wind will blow from right field to
left field at 6 mph.

A’s (-177), Royals (-173)

“Oakland’s .433 win percentage since
the All Star Break is the worst for a playoff team in the past
80 years.  However, it is interesting to note that the
third worse 2nd Half record in recent history came in 2006 by
the Cardinals and they went on to win the World Series that
year.  Oakland’s recent struggles largely coincide to
trading away their cleanup hitter, Yoenis Cespedes, as
Oakland’s offense has since average -1.5 runs less per game.”
Expert Steve Merril.

WAG WAR: Josh Donaldson’s girlfriend Jillian
Rose Eric Hosmer’s girlfriend Kimberly Figueroa.

PITCHING MATCHUP: Athletics LH Jon Lester
(16-11, 2.46 ERA) vs. Royals RH James Shields (14-8, 3.21)

Lester went 2-0 with a 0.59 ERA in last season’s World Series
for Boston and has gone 6-4 with a 2.35 ERA in 11 starts since
Oakland acquired him from the Red Sox. He was 3-0 with a 2.61
ERA against the Royals this season – two of the wins came with
Oakland – and has career marks of 9-3 and 1.84 in 13 career
starts against Kansas City. Lester went 3-2 with a 2.00 ERA in
five September starts and his postseason numbers line up this
way: 6-4 and 2.11 in 13 career appearances (11 starts).

Shields was 1-0 with a 3.21 ERA in two starts against Oakland
this season and is 6-4 with a 3.82 ERA in 15 career outings
against the Athletics. He went 2-1 with a 2.31 ERA and 0.86
WHIP in five September starts. Shields went 2-4 with a 4.98 ERA
in six postseason starts with the Tampa Bay Rays before being
dealt to the Royals.



* Under is 12-4-1 in the last 17 meetings.
* Athletics are 1-4 in the last five meetings.
* Athletics are 4-0 in Lesters last four starts vs. American
League Central.
* Under is 4-1-1 in Shields’ last six starts overall.

COVERS CONSENSUS: 54 percent of wagers on
Covers Consensus are backing the Royals.


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