Athletics

How Sox numbers vs. LHP could change A's plans for Game 3

Athletics

Heading into Game 1 of the AL Wild Card Series on Tuesday, everyone knew the Chicago White Sox absolutely dominated against left-handed starters. They were 14-0 against them during the regular season.

So when Jesús Luzardo was announced as the A's starter, many fans held their breath. It turns out, for good reason.

Luzardo didn't fare too well, ging up six hits and two home runs in the A’s 4-1 loss. The A’s are ready to move on and concentrate on Game 2, but after seeing the power display the Sox put on Luzardo, Oakland manager Bob Melvin might consider switching things up for Game 3 -- if the series gets that far.

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“I mean, still we need to get past tomorrow, then we’ll think about Game 3,” Melvin said after Tuesday's loss. “We knew going in -- you could see the numbers. I’m not sure they faced too many guys that threw with the velocity Luzardo did, but they had a good approach to him on the board, but still, tomorrow’s the game we need to win first.”

Melvin still hasn’t announced who would be the A's Game 3 starter, which could mean he’s taking it day-by-day and not getting ahead of himself for the best-of-three series.

 

Sean Manaea is a candidate to make that start, but that seems unlikely given Chicago's numbers against southpaws. He posted a 4.50 ERA this season with 45 strikeouts across 54 innings in 11 starts.

Chis Bassitt will start Game 2, so the right-handed pitchers Melvin could use in Game 3 are Mike Fiers, Frankie Montas and Mike Minor. Montas, who isn’t the pitcher most anticipated him to be in 2020, posted a 5.60 ERA in the regular season with 60 strikeouts in 53 innings and a 1.509 WHIP. 

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The A's could always dip into their MLB-best bullpen early if needed, and Melvin isn’t nervous to do that.

“Once the postseason comes around these guys will be able to pitch three days in a row,” Melvin said. “So we’re just trying to keep it as close as we possibly can.”