Athletics

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Athletics

The AL Wild Card Game officially is set. The A's will host the Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday night at the Coliseum.

Oakland hasn't announced its starting pitcher yet, but the Rays will go with veteran right-hander Charlie Morton.

Here's our projection for the A's 25-man roster and starting lineup for the game:

Roster

Pitchers (11): Sean Manaea, Homer Bailey, Chris Bassitt, Liam Hendriks, Yusmeiro Petit, J.B. Wendelken, Joakim Soria, Jesús Luzardo, A.J. Puk, Jake Diekman, Ryan Buchter

Catchers (2): Sean Murphy, Josh Phegley

Infielders (6): Matt Olson, Jurickson Profar, Sheldon Neuse, Marcus Semien, Matt Chapman, Franklin Barreto

Outfielders (6): Mark Canha, Ramón Laureano, Robbie Grossman, Khris Davis, Chad Pinder, Seth Brown

Starting lineup

SS Marcus Semien
3B Matt Chapman
1B Matt Olson
CF Mark Canha
RF Ramón Laureano
DH Khris Davis
2B Jurickson Profar
C Sean Murphy
LF Robbie Grossman

LHP Sean Manaea

Analysis

The A's still haven't announced whether Sean Manaea or Mike Fiers will get the start, but we are giving the edge to Manaea, who has been nearly unhittable in his five September starts. Manaea is 4-0 with a 1.21 ERA and 0.78 WHIP, with 30 strikeouts against seven walks.

Oakland has a few decisions to make at the bottom of the lineup. Manager Bob Melvin either could go with Jurickson Profar or Sheldon Neuse at second base. We're projecting Profar against the right-handed pitcher, with Neuse as a possible defensive replacement later in the game.

 

Behind the plate, Sean Murphy seems to have passed Josh Phegley as the starter, particularly because of his defensive excellence.

In left field, Seth Brown would have been a good bet a couple of weeks ago, but the 27-year-old rookie is in an 0-for-16 slump, so we predict that veteran Robbie Grossman gets the nod.

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We're projecting 11 pitchers on the roster, including starter Homer Bailey as some insurance for Manaea. Of course, Bassitt can pitch several innings as well if necessary.

Ideally, the A's will use a formula of Manaea, Jesús Luzardo and Liam Hendriks to earn the victory.