Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez tags out Oakland Athletics first baseman Matt Olson attempting to score on a sacrifice fly on May 12, 2018, at Yankee Stadium.

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The Ultimate Yankees-A's Wild-Card Preview

October 02, 2018 - 2:43 pm
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By WFAN.com

The Yankees will host the Oakland A’s on Wednesday night in the American League wild-card game. The winner will advance to face the Boston Red Sox in the ALDS, while the loser will head home.

Here’s pretty much everything you need to know about the matchup.

THE BASICS

When: 8 p.m. Wednesday

Where: Yankee Stadium (capacity 47,309)

Radio: WFAN

TV: TBS

Weather: As of Tuesday, the forecast for Wednesday evening called for temperatures in the mid to high 60s, clear skies and very little wind.

THE RECORDS

The Yankees finished 100-62 this season, their first 100-win season since they won the World Series in 2009. The Bombers, however, finished eight games behind the Red Sox for the AL East title.

MORE: Keidel: The Yankees' Yearly Mandate Has Never Changed

The A's were 97-65, their best season since they went 103-59 in 2002 before falling in the ALDS. Oakland finished six games back of the Astros in the AL West.

HEAD-TO-HEAD

The Yankees and A's split their head-to-head series 3-3 this season, with the home teams taking two of three in each series. Here are the results of all six games (home team in ALL CAPS):

May 11 -- Athletics 10, YANKEES 5
May 12 -- YANKEES 7, Athletics 6 (11 innings)
May 13 -- YANKEES 6, Athletics 2
Sept. 3 -- ATHLETICS 6, Yankees 3
Sept. 4 -- Yankees 5, ATHLETICS 1
Sept. 5 -- ATHLETICS 8, Yankees 2

STARTING PITCHERS

Luis Severino will take the mound for the Yankees. The 24-year-old right-hander was 19-8 this season with a 3.39 ERA. Severino's season has been a tale of two halves. He went 14-2 with a 2.31 ERA before the All-Star break but is 5-6 with a 5.57 ERA since. In his last outing against the A's, on Sept. 5, in Oakland, he lasted just 2 2/3 innings, allowing six runs (five earned) on six hits.

Liam Hendriks will start for Oakland. The 29-year-old righty missed more than two months of the season with hip and groin injuries. The Australian pitched in 25 games this season, going 0-1 with a 4.13 ERA. While Hendriks has made eight starts, he has rarely pitched more than one inning in those outings. Look for the A's to count on their loaded bullpen again Wednesday. Hendriks has not allowed a run in his past 11 appearances, including a one-inning outing against the Yankees on Sept. 4. 

BULLPENS

Yankees: New York is known for its fearsome bullpen that is led by left-handed flamethrower Aroldis Chapman (2.45 ERA with 32 saves). The Yanks' stable of relievers also includes former Orioles closer Zach Britton and four-time All-Star Dellin Betances as well as Chad Green, Jonathan Holder and Dave Robertson.

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A's: Just like the Yankees, Oakland's bullpen is a strength. In fact, the Athletics' bullpen ERA was slightly better than the Yankees' this season (3.37 vs. 3.38). Closer Blake Treinen has enjoyed a dominant season, going 9-2 with a 0.78 ERA and 38 saves. Meanwhile, Ryan Butcher, Lou Trivino, Yusmeiro Petit, Shawn Kelley and ex-Met Jeurys Familia are all heavily used relievers with ERAs that are 3.00 or better.

TOP HITTERS

Yankees: The Bombers broke the MLB record with 267 home runs this season. And while Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton are probably the first names that spring to mind when baseball fans think of the Yankees' mighty lineup, rookie third baseman Miguel Andujar has arguably been the team's MVP this season, hitting .297 with 27 home runs and 92 RBIs. Of course, the dynamic duo of Judge and Stanton cannot be overlooked. They combined for 65 home runs and 167 RBIs this season despite that Judge missed about six weeks with a broken wrist. Meanwhile, trade acquisition Luke Voit (.333 with 14 homers) has been a godsend at first base. Didi Gregorius, Gleyber Torres and Aaron Hicks also are dangerous hitters. And catcher Gary Sanchez (.186, 18 home runs) has struggled all year, but he still packs the potential to change a game with one swing.

Oakland Athletics slugger Khris Davis
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A's: Oakland actually finished second in the AL in home runs this season, albeit 40 homers behind the Yankees' pace. Designated hitter Khris Davis led the big leagues with 48 home runs and was second with 123 RBIs. The A's have four other hitters who had at least 23 home runs -- first baseman Matt Olson (.247, 29 homers), right fielder Stephen Piscotty (.267, 27 homers), third baseman Matt Chapman (.278, 24 home runs) and second baseman Jed Lowrie (.267, 23 homers).

MANAGERS

New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone looks on in the dugout before a game against the Atlanta Braves at SunTrust Park in Atlanta, GA.
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Yankees: Aaron Boone is in his first season as a major league manager, going 100-62. He replaced Joe Girardi, who was not retained after last season despite taking the Yankees to within one game of the World Series. 

A's: Bob Melvin is in his eighth season as Oakland's manager. He is 634-599 (.514) with the A's and 1,127-1,107 overall as a manager, which also includes seven seasons between the Seattle Mariners and Arizona Diamondbacks. He is a two-time Manager of the Year. Melvin definitely has the experience advantage in this matchup.

WILD-CARD HISTORY

This is the Yankees’ third appearance in the wild-card game since Major League Baseball expanded its playoff format in 2012 to allow for the one-game round. They’re 1-1 in their first two wild-card games, losing to Dallas Keuchel and the Houston Astros 3-0 in 2015, and then beating the Minnesota Twins 8-4 last season. Both of those games were played at Yankee Stadium.

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Oakland has played in the wild-card game once before, losing 9-8 in 12 innings in 2014 on the road to a Kansas City Royals team that went on to reach the World Series.

DID YOU KNOW?

Melvin played in nine games for the Yankees in 1994.