Are we really surprised the White Sox won when a left-handed pitcher was starting? For a team so into statistics, the Oakland A’s completely ignored a pretty important and obvious key to the Sox success, and it showed quickly.
Chris Bassitt will start Game 2. But why not Game 1? The importance of winning the first game in a three-game series can’t be underestimated. But judging by the rotation Oakland announced Monday, it was pretty obvious the A’s were setting themselves up to lose the first and win the second.
If Tuesday was a one and done game, would Bassitt still not earn the start? Bob Melvin shared that they had been planning to use Jesús Luzardo in the playoffs, but did seeing their opponent not make them change their plan?
Last season Sean Manaea earned the Wild Card start and lost the game early. Today, Luzardo did the same. When the lefty stepped off the mound and finished his day with three earned runs early, he sat next to a buddy who could relate. Yup, Manaea.
A’s fans are frustrated and have been for years. From not keeping their star players to having great records that get them into postseason only to fall short. Year after year. The White Sox were able to get a win without star outfielder Eloy Jimenez, who worked out on Monday but was out of the lineup.
You can’t really blame the rookie pitcher for the three earned runs. The A’s bats failed Luzardo too. Whether White Sox starter Lucas Giolito pitched great or not (he did), their offense continued to struggle. Bob Melvin has mentioned that it is a clean slate going into post season, but after Tuesday’s game it’s pretty clear: The slate has not been cleared, and the A’s slumping batting average has followed them into the postseason.
Melvin said the Sox may not have faced a lefty with the velocity that Luzardo. Turns out though, even with the velocity and abilities Luzardo has, their stats line up.
It will come down to Wednesday with Chris Bassitt. Assuming Bassitt gets enough run support to earn the win tomorrow, a third starter will be tricky. Oakland could use LHP Manaea or they could finally hand the baton to veteran Mike Fiers, who has been passed up for three straight seasons now and continues to sit on the bench to watch his team lose. Frankie Montas pitched 113 pitches on Sunday and is out of the running.
The A’s decision seems simple but it seems like the playoffs arrive, they lose all knowledge of how to get the job done.