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

  • Mets ace DeGrom & Astros' Verlander scoop Cy Young Award honours Mets ace DeGrom & Astros' Verlander scoop Cy Young Award honours

    New York Mets star Jacob deGrom secured back-to-back National League Cy Young Award honours, while Houston Astros ace Justin Verlander was also recognised again in the American League.

    MLB's biggest pitching prize was announced on Wednesday, with DeGrom topping the votes in the NL and Verlander in the AL midweek.

    DeGrom became the 11th pitcher to secure successive Cy Young Awards after appearing at the top of all but one of the 30 ballots this year.

    "Words can't express it," DeGrom said. "I said it was a dream to win one, but to win back to back, honestly, I'm kind of speechless right now."

    A three-time All-Star, DeGrom had a 1.89 ERA and .538 opponents' OPS in his final 23 starts, covering 152 innings, as the Mets missed the playoffs for the third consecutive season.

    DeGrom led the NL in strikeouts (255) and ranked second in ERA (2.43) after the Mets posted a 77-85 win-loss record in 2019.

    As for Houston's Verlander, the eight-time All-Star finally added to his 2011 AL Cy Young Award.

    Verlander produced one of his best seasons as the Astros reached the World Series before falling to the Washington Nationals – leading the league in wins (21), innings (223), batting average against (.172) and WHIP (0.80).

    The 36-year-old finished ahead of Astros team-mate Gerrit Cole, who has been linked with a move away from Houston.

  • Giants name Kapler as manager Giants name Kapler as manager

    The San Francisco Giants appointed Gabe Kapler as their manager on a three-year contract on Tuesday.

    Kapler, 44, was fired by the Philadelphia Phillies last month after two disappointing seasons during which they went 161-163.

    The Giants announced the appointment of Kapler, who replaces Bruce Bochy after the 64-year-old retired at the end of the 2019 MLB season.

    "Our top priority in the next manager was to find someone who can build strong relationships with our players, coaches, front office and fans, and someone who has the drive and desire to win," Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi said.

    "After an exhaustive and comprehensive search, we are delighted to welcome Gabe Kapler as the next manager of the San Francisco Giants."

    Kapler played for numerous MLB teams, winning the World Series with the Boston Red Sox in 2004.

  • Twins' Baldelli, Cardinals' Shildt crowned Managers of the Year Twins' Baldelli, Cardinals' Shildt crowned Managers of the Year

    The Minnesota Twins' Rocco Baldelli and St Louis Cardinals' Mike Shildt were named Managers of the Year in tight votes on Tuesday.

    Baldelli became the eighth rookie manager to win the award after the Twins claimed the American League (AL) Central title before falling short in the AL Division Series.

    The 38-year-old finished with 106 points to win AL Manager of the Year, just ahead of the New York Yankees' Aaron Boone (96), while the Tampa Bay Rays' Kevin Cash (33) was third.

    "You take on a responsibility, and it's one that you take seriously when you take on the role of manager," Baldelli said, via the Twins' website.

    "You don't do it for anything that points back to yourself. You don't do it for awards. You do it to bring a group together in the best possible way you can.

    "When you do get acknowledged for something individual, it's an interesting feeling, but you are certainly floored by being acknowledged in that way."

    The National League race was also close, with Shildt (95 points) finishing ahead of the Milwaukee Brewers' Craig Counsell (88) and Atlanta Braves' Brian Snitker (45).

    The Cardinals reached the NL Championship Series before being swept by eventual World Series champions the Washington Nationals.

© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.