There are a few games left to see who the A’s could face in the AL Wild Card round next week, but closer Liam Hendriks isn’t paying too close attention to who that could be.
There is one team, however, that Hendriks wouldn’t mind facing, and it won't surprise A’s fans that he wants to beat this team badly.
“For us, it doesn’t really matter who we play obviously,” Hendriks told reporters on Friday. “As a vindictive kind of thing, we want to take out the [Houston] Astros, but I don’t care who we play as long as we beat them -- that’s our biggest goal.”
Hendriks is excited for the expanded playoffs, knowing the A's won’t have to play the dreaded one-and-done wild-card game.
“We’re excited to not play in a one-game playoff for once, but of course it happens to be the year we win the division,” Hendriks said. “Obviously, we’ve got four games left to try and figure out who we’re playing. Hopefully, we can get everything locked in and ready to go there.”
Hendriks added he’s looking forward to playing at least two games, and “hopefully many more.”
There’s also a possibility the A’s face the Cleveland Indians. And while there won’t be much vengeance involved in that matchup, they would have to face a tough starter in Game 1.
“I think any team that comes up against Cleveland is going to be playing for Game 2 right now -- I mean you got Shane Bieber who is pretty much the best pitcher in baseball right now -- I don’t think there’s any question of that,” Hendriks added.
And what is Hendriks' plan to ensure the A’s get deep into the playoffs?
“If we play the baseball we’ve been playing at the start of the year and focusing on that, I think we’ll be all right,” he said.