If the A's beat the Chicago White Sox and advance out of the AL Wild Card Series, a familiar foe awaits Oakland in the AL Divisional Series.
The Houston Astros completed a wild-card sweep over the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday, beating the AL Central winners 3-1 at Target Field. There's no love lost between the A's and Astros, with plenty of bad blood stemming from former Houston/current Oakland pitcher Mike Fiers shedding light on his old club's sign-stealing strategies and extending to this season's benches-clearing brawl at the Coliseum.
Tensions will be high if the A's make it to the ALDS, but that apparently would be news to Astros shortstop Carlos Correa. Correa apparently doesn't spend much time on social media, as he told reporters Wednesday that the Astros' critics will be devoid of reason to dislike them now that Houston has won a best-of-three playoff series without stealing opposing pitchers' signs and relaying said signs by hitting a garbage can.
"I know a lot of people are mad," Correa told reporters Wednesday. "I know a lot of people don't want to see us here. But what are they going to say now?"
Probably the same things they've said all season.
A Twitter account dedicated to chronicling the Astros' lowlights this season has accrued nearly 313,000 followers in about eight months of existence. Said account has almost 64,000 more followers than Correa's.
Perhaps playing games in empty stadiums due to a global pandemic has allowed the Astros to develop an Us Against The World mindset without needing to pay attention to how deeply reviled they are by many baseball fans.
Given the aforementioned animosity between the two teams, the A's would probably love nothing more than to give the Astros a reality check. As if Oakland needed any additional motivation ahead of a winner-take-all Game 3 on Thursday at the Coliseum.