MLB

Rays beat Athletics to reach ALDS

By Sports Desk October 02, 2019

The Tampa Bay Rays will face the Houston Astros in the American League Division Series after trumping the Oakland Athletics 5-1.

Tampa Bay were too good for Oakland as they outclassed the Athletics in Wednesday's MLB wild-card clash.

Charlie Morton tossed five innings while allowing one unearned run, Yandy Diaz hit two homers and the Rays combined to hit four in total.

Here are three takeaways from the Rays' convincing win over the Athletics midweek:

 

Don't get it twisted, Morton is one of the most clutch pitchers in MLB

Yes, the Athletics missed some opportunities in the wild-card game and no, a lot of people do not know much about Morton, but over the last three years, he has turned into one of the most clutch pitchers in MLB and one of the best in general.

Morton did not have great control on Wednesday, but he fought through five innings and only allowed one run which was unearned after a three-base error on a Marcus Semien ground ball. The 35-year-old righty did enough to earn the win and has now come away with victories in three winner-take-all games in the playoffs since 2017.

He was the winning pitcher in Game 7 of the AL Championship Series in 2017 as well as Game 7 of the World Series. Since signing with the Astros in 2017, Morton has revitalised his career, going 45-16 and making back-to-back All-Star games. His first year with Tampa Bay has been a great one and he is showing no signs of slowing down with age.

Missed opportunities

The A's were one of the best-hitting MLB teams all year long. They were eighth in runs scored, 11th in on-base percentage, 10th in slugging and 10th in OPS. They finished fifth in home runs and also showed the ability to string hits together and beat teams if they could not hit the ball out of the park.

But Oakland became plagued by a problem late in the season and that problem reared its ugly head again in the wild-card game. While the A's were OK with runners in scoring position for the season (.252 batting average), they were abysmal down the stretch finishing the year on a two-for-46 slump.

They struggled again midweek, leaving the bases loaded in the first inning and runners on first and third in the fourth. What is worse though is they had at least a runner on base in every single inning of the game except the ninth and yet they could not score an earned run.

The A's could not figure out how to plate a runner at the end of the year and it cost them.

A historic skid

This is not funny anymore.

The A's cannot win a winner-take-all game to save their lives. With their loss to the Rays on Wednesday, Oakland have lost nine straight winner-take-all games. What makes it seem even worse though is when you hear the last time the A's won one.

That was in 1973. And again, to make matters worse, six of those nine games have been at home.

Related items

  • Astros will be in World Series again – Altuve bullish after sign-stealing scandal Astros will be in World Series again – Altuve bullish after sign-stealing scandal

    Houston Astros star Jose Altuve is adamant the embattled franchise "will be fine" and will be in the World Series again after the sign-stealing scandal.

    The Astros sacked general manager Jeff Luhnow and manager A.J. Hinch after the duo were suspended following an MLB investigation into allegations of sign stealing.

    Luhnow and Hinch were given year-long bans by MLB while Houston were fined $5million and have been forced to forfeit their first and second-round picks in the 2020 and 2021 drafts.

    In a statement, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said the Astros were warned about the league's policies on sign stealing in September 2017 and "took no action" to comply with these during their run to a maiden World Series title later that season.

    But on Saturday, 2017 American League MVP Altuve told reporters: "Believe me, in the end of the year, everything will be fine.

    "We're going to be in the World Series again. People don't believe it, we will. We will. We made it last year, we were one game away of winning it all."

    Altuve – a six-time All-Star and 2015 Gold Glove winner – added: "I have two options. One is cry, and one is go down and play the game and [perform] and help my team. And you know what one I am going to do."

    "It's a tough situation, and as a team, we have to stay together and go through this as a team like we've been doing, always," added five-time Silver Slugger Altuve.

    "We have to talk about it at spring training and try not to let things in the past distract us for next year."

     

  • Giants hire Nakken as MLB's first full-time female coach Giants hire Nakken as MLB's first full-time female coach

    The San Francisco Giants have hired Alyssa Nakken to their coaching staff, making her the first full-time coach in MLB history.

    A former Sacramento State softball player, Nakken was hired along with Mark Hallberg by new Giants manager Gabe Kapler on Thursday.

    "In every organisation, environment affects performance, and baseball clubhouses are no different," Kapler said in a release. 

    "That's why in addition to assisting the rest of the coaching staff on the field, Mark and Alyssa will focus on fostering a clubhouse culture that promotes high performance through, among other attributes, a deep sense of collaboration and team."

    Nakken will hope to help the Giants bounce back from a disappointing 2019 season in which they finished 77-85.

    Kapler took over from Bruce Bochy, who led the Giants to three World Series titles in five years from 2010-2014, in November.

  • Springer, Astros settle on one-year deal Springer, Astros settle on one-year deal

    George Springer and the tainted Houston Astros avoided arbitration by settling on a one-year deal.

    Astros star Springer will reportedly earn $21million in 2020 following Thursday's announcement.

    The deal comes as the sign-sealing scandal engulfs the Astros – who sacked general manager Jeff Luhnow and manager A.J. Hinch.

    Luhnow and Hinch were fired after the duo were handed one-year suspensions following an MLB investigation into allegations of sign stealing.

    The Astros were fined $5m and forced to forfeit their first and second-round picks in the 2020 and 2021 drafts.

    In a statement, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said the Astros were warned about the league's policies on sign stealing in September 2017 and "took no action" to comply with these during their run to a maiden World Series title later that season.

    Springer – a three-time All-Star and two-time Silver Slugger – was a key figure in Houston's triumphant season, crowned World Series MVP.

    The 30-year-old has called Houston home since he was drafted by the Astros in 2011, while he made his debut three years later.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.