For the second straight season, the Oakland A's are heading to the MLB playoffs.
Oakland clinched a spot in the AL Wild Card Game on Friday when Cleveland lost to the Nationals, 8-2. They will face the Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday night. Oakland now has a magic number of two. The A's went 4-3 against the Rays in the regular season this year and 5-1 against the Indians.
Just like last season, the A's got off to a slow start, winning just 19 of their first 44 games.
This will be the A's third Wild Card Game appearance since 2014. Oakland lost 7-2 to the Yankees last season and 9-8 to the Royals in 2014. Both of those games were on the road.
The A's haven't won a postseason round since 2006, when they swept the Minnesota Twins in the ALDS. The Green and Gold have lost eight consecutive winner-take-all games, with their last win coming in the 1973 World Series.
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The A's look to put an end to that ominous streak Wednesday night, as they take aim at the 10th World Series title in franchise history, and the first since 1989.
There are two types of people in the world: Those who love bat flips in baseball, and those who are wrong to dislike them. This post is not for the latter.
A's outfielder Mark Canha received some very prestigious honors. He possessed the No. 1 bat flip of the 2019 season by MLB Network.
During the bottom of the fourth on a 2-1 count against the Angels on March 30, Canha got ahold of a Felix Peña pitch and sent a ball over the fence at the Oakland Coliseum.
It was a beaut:
That's not the best part. It was what he mouthed following the homer that sealed the deal:
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It's bat flippin' season baby -- every season.
That was the best flip of the year which only means the next season brings more competition -- and if you're familiar with Canha's ways -- there will be more flips ... and fewer apologies for them.
Teams in the AL West continue to make moves this offseason, while the A's watch from afar. The latest is a two-time Cy Young award winner reportedly joining the Texas Rangers.
The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal reported Sunday that the Rangers have acquired starting pitcher Corey Kluber from the Cleveland Indians for outfielder Delino DeShields Jr. and pitching prospect Emmanuel Clase. Levi Weaver of The Athletic also reported there are expected to be more players sent to Cleveland.
Kluber, who turns 34 years old in April, was limited to just seven games last season due to injuries and put up the worst numbers of his eight-year career in limited innings. But when healthy, the right-hander still is one of the best arms in all of baseball.
Prior to Kluber's injury-riddled 2019, he had averaged 31 starts per year and 206 innings pitched from 2013 to '18. In that six-year span, he also averaged 227 strikeouts and only 43 walks.
The Rangers now have added Kluber, Jordan Lyles and Kyle Gibson to their rotation this offseason. As they move into their new stadium, the Rangers are expected to continue making moves, too.
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Adding Kluber clearly is a positive for the Rangers, but it's another negative for the A's. He has a 2.29 career ERA against Oakland in nine appearances -- eight starts -- but now will face them much more in 2020.
While the A's are more focused on keeping their young core intact long-term, the Angels added star third baseman Anthony Rendon and the Rangers traded for Kluber. The AL West has been owned by the Astros and A's in recent seasons, but the rest of the division is coming for them.