Despite what Billy Beane and Tommy La Stella said recently, the A's have been salivating for a while at the thought of facing the Houston Astros in the MLB playoffs.
Last week, closer Liam Hendriks said as much, telling reporters that as "a vindictive kind of thing, we want to take out the Astros." He did hedge his comments by saying that he didn't care who the A's played.
But you just know the A's were happy the Astros beat the Minnesota Twins in their Wild Card Series.
Astros manager Dusty Baker spoke to local Houston reporters Saturday and issued a stern warning to the A's, who won the AL West and beat the Chicago White Sox in the Wild Card round.
The A's have every reason to be confident that they can beat the Astros. After all, Oakland won seven of the 10 regular-season meetings. While the best-of-five American League Division Series will be at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, the A's are the higher seed and will be the "home team" in three of the five games, if the series goes the distance.
The matchup between the A's and Astros has been a long-time coming. They both have dominated the AL West for the last few seasons, and now the A's are the top dog in the division.
Of course, the Astros were "better" the last few years because they were stealing signs. Current A's starter and former Astro Mike Fiers was the player to blow the whistle on Houston's cheating ways. Whatever the Astros might say, they know he's the guy that outed them and they likely want revenge against him.
Then there's the benches-clearing brawl between the two teams earlier this season after the Astros hit Ramon Laureano several times during a series at the Oakland Coliseum. That definitely hasn’t been forgotten by either team.
There is bad blood between the two sides, no matter what the A's try to say ahead of Game 1 of the ALDS on Monday. The A's wanted this matchup.
Baker also is right, though. Be careful what you ask for. The Astros, despite their 29-31 regular-season record, still are dangerous. But this is also Oakland's chance to take down their bitter rival and send them into an uncertain offseason.
Despite the unfavorable time slot for the A's, the series against the Astros is going to be must-see TV and full of drama. The tension is going to be high. Both teams want to win this series badly and get the last laugh against their division foe.