Report: Dodgers to sign Mark Ellis


Report: Dodgers to sign Mark Ellis

The Dodgers have signed former Athletics second baseman Mark Ellis to a two-year deal worth 8.75 million. The contract also includes a team option for the 2014 season, according to Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal.Ellis hit .248 with seven home runs between the A's and Rockies last season. He started his career in Oakland in 2002 and hit .265 with 86 home runs in eight and a half seasons with the A's. Ellis is a Type B free agent, meaning the Rockies will receive a supplemental draft pick for losing him to the Dodgers.

A's clinch first playoff berth since 2014 with Yankees' win over Rays

A's clinch first playoff berth since 2014 with Yankees' win over Rays

The A's are headed to the playoffs.

Oakland officially punched its postseason ticket Monday, after the New York Yankees eliminated the Tampa Bay Rays from contention with a 4-1 win at Tropicana Field. 

The playoff berth is the first for the A's since 2014, when Oakland lost in extra innings to the Kansas City Royals in the AL wild card game. If Monday's standings positions hold, the A's again will play in the wild card game, most likely against the Yankees.

Entering Monday, Oakland trailed the Houston Astros by 4.5 games for first place in the AL West. The Yankees' win gave the Bronx Bombers a two-game lead for home-field advantage in the wild card game, but the A's could cut it again Monday with a win in Seattle against the Mariners.  

Those concerns can wait until Oct. 3, when the Yankees and A's would play in the AL Wild Card Game. For now, the green and gold have champagne showers in their future.  

Oakland or New York? A's players debate AL Wild Card game's location

Oakland or New York? A's players debate AL Wild Card game's location

Entering the final week of the regular season, it appears all but certain that the A's and Yankees will face off in the American League Wild Card Game. The only question remaining is which team will host it.

As of Monday, it would be the Yankees. New York leads Oakland by 1 1/2 games and owns the tiebreaker. But how much does home-field advantage actually matter in a winner-take-all game?

Since Major League Baseball introduced the Wild Card Game in 2012, road teams actually have gone 7-5 (4-2 in the National League and 3-3 in the American League). But the A's still say they would prefer to play the game at the Coliseum.

“I think we're comfortable with both, but at the same time, it would be more of an advantage to play here because this place is so loud,” outfielder Ramón Laureano told NBC Sports California. “It's really fun to play here when it's packed.”

Said designated hitter Khris Davis: “We'll embrace anything that comes our way. We'll accept the challenge if it's on the road, but if it's at home, I think we'd like that a little bit more. Just being in front of our own fans, there's nothing like home.”

Oakland's home and road records are similar this season. The A's finished their home schedule 50-31, and they're currently 44-31 on the road with six to play. But the offense has been significantly better away from the Coliseum.

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In 75 road games, Oakland has scored 406 runs, an average of 5.4 per game. At home, they totaled just 369 runs in 81 games, or 4.6 per contest. The A's also have belted a league-leading 123 home runs on the road, compared to 91 at home.

The pitching numbers present a different story, however. Oakland has allowed just 3.8 runs per game at home this season, compared to 4.4 on the road.

“You always want to play at home because this can be a real home-field advantage and we've played really well at home in the second half,” A's manager Bob Melvin said. “But if, hypothetically, we're in the playoffs and we play a Wild Card Game, we're not afraid to play on the road. We've done really well on the road this year, and our offensive numbers are a little bit (better).”

The statistical splits are more dramatic for the Yankees. New York has been dominant at Yankee Stadium, finishing its home schedule with a 53-28 record, while going 42-32 on the road. The Yankees' bats especially thrived at home, averaging 5.6 runs per game, compared to 4.7 on the road.

However, New York's pitching staff performed better outside of hitter-friendly Yankee Stadium. At home, the Yankees allowed an average of 4.3 runs per game. On the road, that number dropped to 3.8.

You can break down the numbers any way you want, but in a one-game scenario, all the stats go out the window. While both teams would prefer to host the game, they have each shown the ability to beat quality opponents on the road.