Athletics

A's expecting 'rowdy' atmosphere at Coliseum for AL Wild Card Game

A's expecting 'rowdy' atmosphere at Coliseum for AL Wild Card Game

For the first time in six years, the A's will play a playoff game at the Coliseum.

Oakland edged Seattle 1-0 on Saturday night to lock up home-field advantage in the AL Wild Card Game. The A's will host the Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday night and the team is expecting a wild atmosphere.

"I've pitched at the Coliseum in the playoffs before," starting pitcher Brett Anderson told reporters. "There's not an atmosphere like it. It's going to be rowdy. It will be fun to watch."

A's manager Bob Melvin can't wait to see what the Coliseum looks like.

"There are going to be 50,000 people in Oakland, I've got a feeling," Melvin said. "When we get that big of a crowd at home, they have an effect. So we're excited about going home in front of our fans. There's a great bond between us and the fans there and they can get pretty loud." 

The A's have played terrific baseball at home this season, going 52-27 at the Coliseum, the fourth-best home record in MLB. Now the atmosphere will ratchet up to another level, one that most of the team has yet to experience.

"The crowd's going to be -- these guys have no idea," Anderson said. "It's going to be fun. It's like a Raiders game. You get the Black Hole, you get crazy people. Usually there's some sort of down period in baseball, or even between innings, but the last time I started there, there was just constant noise and so it's pretty fun to be a part of."

Despite clinching a playoff spot on Friday, the A's were disappointed that they let an opportunity for home-field advantage slip away. They certainly made up for it on Saturday.

[RELATED: Cash discusses challenges of Coliseum]

"That's what everybody was talking about when they came off the field -- that we're going back to Oakland," Melvin told reporters. "That was huge. Obviously, we wanted to get in and the next objective was to get home. So both things done and we'll probably give some guys (the day) off tomorrow."

The A's still haven't announced a starting pitcher for the Wild Card Game, but it figures to either be left-hander Sean Manaea or righty Mike Fiers. The Rays will go with All-Star right-hander Charlie Morton. First pitch is set for 5:09 p.m. PT.

Ex-Giant, A's third base coach Matt Williams will next manage in Korea

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Ex-Giant, A's third base coach Matt Williams will next manage in Korea

The A's coaching staff could look much different next season. 

A source told NBC Sports Bay Area's Alex Pavlovic that quality control coach Mark Kotsay interviewed for the Giants' managerial opening, the San Francisco Chronicle's Susan Slusser reported Monday that bench coach Ryan Christenson is a candidate for the Pittsburgh Pirates and third base coach Matt Williams has a new job lined up. 

Williams confirmed to NBC Sports California's Ben Ross in a text message that he will manage the Kia Tigers in Korea's KBO next season. MLB Network's Jon Heyman first reported the news, and Slusser was the first to confirm Heyman's report. 

The A's hired Williams in November 2017. He previously managed the Washington Nationals from 2014 through 2015, winning National League Manager of the Year in his first season in Washington's dugout. The 17-year MLB veteran compiled a 179-145 record as a manager, but Williams was fired by the Nationals after his second season with the team. Williams, who played for the Giants for 10 seasons, covered San Francisco as a studio analyst for NBC Sports Bay Area in 2017 after serving as the Arizona Diamondbacks' third base coach in 2016.

[RELATED: A's Stay or Go candidate for 2020 season: Ryan Buchter] 

Oakland made the playoffs in both of Williams' seasons as third base coach, losing in the AL Wild Card Game each time. 2018 and 2019 marked just the fifth time the A's qualified for the playoffs in consecutive seasons since moving to Oakland.

If the A's are going to play in the postseason again next October, they're likely to have some new faces in the dugout and in the third-base box. 

Why new MLB rules could mean A's won't bring back Ryan Buchter in 2020

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Why new MLB rules could mean A's won't bring back Ryan Buchter in 2020

Editor's note: Over the next two weeks, we will examine 10 A's players who may or may not return to Oakland next season. For each player, we will provide reasons why the A's should bring him back and reasons why they should not, followed by a final determination.

Ryan Buchter, LHP

Contract: Second year of arbitration (projected to get $1.8 million after earning $1.4 million this season)

Reasons to bring him back

Buchter did exactly what the A's brought him in to do -- retire left-handed hitters. The 32-year-old southpaw limited lefties to a .238 batting average, with 33 strikeouts and seven walks.

Buchter's overall numbers were respectable as well. He went 1-1 with a 2.98 ERA and 1.43 WHIP in 45 1/3 innings. That follows a 6-0 record in 2018 with a 2.75 ERA and 1.20 WHIP.

Reasons to let him go

With MLB changing its rules next season to require a pitcher to face a minimum of three batters, Buchter will lose a lot of value. The so-called LOOGY (left-handed one-out guy) role will disappear and lefty specialists will have to face some right-handers as well.

Right-handed hitter batted .274 off Buchter with 17 strikeouts, compared to 16 walks. While his overall ERA was under 3.00, Buchter allowed 15 of his 36 inherited runners to score, a rate of 41.7 percent. That's nearly 10 points higher than the league average of 32 percent.

Final verdict

Buchter had some good stretches over the past two seasons, but with rule changes and his high walk and hit rate, it's probably time for the A's to move on without him.

[RELATED: Why A's reliever Treinen could be non-tender candidate]

Right-handed hitters notched a .904 OPS against Buchter this season in 83 plate appearances. That will be an even bigger problem next year. Oakland can find better relievers for that $1.8 million price tag.

While $1.8 million is an affordable number, Oakland seems unlikely to bring Buchter back in 2020.