Oakland Athletics (33-21) vs. Los Angeles Dodgers (39-16)
Could this be a potential World Series preview? It may feel that way as the top team in the National League, the Los Angeles Dodgers, welcome the team with the second-best record in the American League, the Oakland Athletics, for the final contest of their three-game series.
Both teams have already punched their tickets to the postseason, as the A’s have clinched the AL West title while the Dodgers have won the NL West. For the Athletics, the challenge is to now prove that they can go head-to-head with Los Angeles. They have done well with that, splitting the last eight between these teams. Los Angeles won the opening game of this series on Tuesday. This three-game series is the only time the two will play each other in the regular season.
A’s Look to Make the GradeThe Oakland Athletics have not lost any of their last five series. The last series loss was to the San Diego Padres when they dropped two of three September 4-6. If Oakland is going to keep that streak alive, they will have to win Wednesday and Thursday, as they already dropped the first game of this series.
Unfortunately for Oakland, they are not playing their best baseball right now. The ERA is sixth-best in baseball at 3.69, but they have a 4.03 ERA in September. It has been the longball that has been the main culprit, as Oakland has given up 27 homers in 20 games. That is not the formula a team wants as they look to put together a long playoff run.
Right-hander Mike Fiers looks to put the fire out for Oakland. He is 6-2 with a 4.67 ERA in 10 starts this season. While the rest of the Oakland staff is having issues with keeping the ball in the part, that has not been the case for Fiers. He had a string where he gave up six homers in three starts from August 6-16 but, since then, has allowed just one homer of his last six starts.
In his last outing against Colorado in Denver, Fiers allowed one run on seven hits in six innings. That ended a mediocre run where he had allowed seven runs in 11 innings over his first two September starts.
Dodgers Red-Hot Heading to PostseasonAfter winning on Tuesday, the Dodgers have now won six of their last seven games. That included taking three of four from the Rockies in Denver over the weekend.
The Dodgers also find that their pitching staff is getting hit around a little harder as the season winds down. Los Angeles has the top ERA in baseball at 3.04, but they are at 3.58 in September.
The Dodgers have not named their starter for Thursday, which could be a sign that they intend to use four or five guys minimum in this contest to give everyone a little work before heading into the postseason. With an off-day on Monday and two off days before the playoffs begin, L.A. wants to make sure they have their rotation in the right order come playoff time. With five games left in the regular season, no NL team can catch them for the top spot and they only need two wins to ensure they have home-field advantage throughout the postseason.
Los Angeles Dodgers:
- 3-7 in their last 10 interleague games against teams with a winning record.
- 28-8 in the third game of their last 36 three-game series.
- 4-1 in their last five games against teams with a winning record.