Home and Away: Predicting the American League Wild Card Game

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What a game last night. The Milwaukee Brewers and Washington Nationals put on a real show. Unfortunately for the Brewers, things fell apart in a hurry during the bottom of the 8th inning. Hopefully, tonight’s other Wild Card matchup between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Oakland A’s delivers the same amount of drama.

The Tampa Bay Rays finished the season well, winning 7 of their last 10 games. With Charlie Morton taking the mound at Oakland, the Rays will feel confident of their chances. He’s got the same winning record at Home and Away and his experience should keep him from being overwhelmed by the moment. Oakland’s best hitter, Marcus Semien, pretty much owns him, however.

This is how they stack up.

  • Home: 48-33; Away: 48-33
  • Starting Pitcher: Charlie Morton Home 8-3; Away 8-3
  • Starting Pitcher ERA/WHIP: Home 2.59/0.96; Away 3.59/1.23
  • Closer: Emilio Pagan Home 9 SV; 15 SVO; WHIP 0.71; 2.15 ERA/ Away 11 SV; 13 SVO; WHIP 0.98; 1.76 ERA
  • Team Hitting: wOBA .321; wRC+ 103; Avg .254
  • Best Hitter: Austin Meadows Home wOBA .364; wRC+ 135; Avg .296/ Away wOBA .395; wRC+ 149; Avg .285
  • Pitcher vs. Best Hitter (Career): Charlie Morton vs Marcus Semien Avg .357; 14 AB; 1 R; 5 H; 2 2B; 2 BB; 1 SO; .938 OPS
  • Misc: Team WAR 23.0; Charlie Morton’s K/9 is 12.34 at Home vs. 9.66 Away

Oakland A’s are the team nobody wants to play. They are dangerous against anyone, except maybe the highly favored Houston Astros. Sean Manaea takes the mound after a paltry 5 games played all season. He has been dominant during his appearances, however, and the A’s are surely banking on having the upper hand since the Rays have yet to see him live this season. It’s a question whether he’ll be overwhelmed by the moment. (Though you can make the case that no-hitting the Red Sox at Fenway Park was a pretty big moment.) Another question is whether their shaky bullpen will hold up to protect a lead should they have it.

This is how they stack up.

  • Home: 52-29; Away: 45-36
  • Starting Pitcher: Sean Manaea Home 2-0; Away 2-0
  • Pitching ERA/WHIP: Home 2.13/0.87; Away 0.53/0.71
  • Closer: Liam Hendricks Home 11 SV; 14 SVO; WHIP 0.84; 1.59 ERA/ Away 14 SV; 18 SVO; 1.11 WHIP; 2.04 ERA
  • Team Hitting: wOBA .327; wRC+ 107; Avg .249
  • Best Hitter: Marcus Semien Home wOBA .389; wRC+ 152; Avg .292/ Away wOBA .356; wRC+ 1233; Avg .277
  • Pitcher vs. Best Hitter (Career): Sean Manaea vs Austin Meadows No Data
  • Misc: WAR 28.5; Sean Manaea’s sample size (5 games total) is so small that he’s almost as much of a mystery to his teammates this season as to the Rays hitters.

Staff pick: Oakland A’s (By a hair.)

Vitamin Cee’s pick: Tampa Bay Rays

IMAGE SOURCE: Creative Commons

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