The A’s have seized control of their destiny in the American League Wild Card race, taking control of the top Wild Card spot in a heated three-horse race. Oakland currently leads the Tampa Bay Rays by 1.5 games for home field advantage in the Wild Card game and they are three games up on the Cleveland Indians, who are on the outside looking in at the AL playoff picture. Can the A’s keep pace in the postseason race with a victory at home versus the Royals on Tuesday night?
Lopez hoping to finish season strong as starter
Kansas City is scheduled to turn to right-hander Jorge Lopez on Tuesday evening at the Coliseum in Oakland, California. Lopez has split time between the bullpen and the starting rotation for Kansas City in 2019, going 4-7 with a 6.09 ERA in 36 appearances (15 starts). The 26-year-old recently rejoined the rotation on August 31 and he’s been solid over his last two turns, allowing just three runs (two earned) in 11 ⅓ combined frames, winning both. He’s actually 3-0 since the All-Star Break, despite posting a 5.12 ERA, but he owns a healthy 1.59 ERA in two September starts.
Whit Merrifield, the latest contestant to try the “Bunt on Matt Chapman” challenge pic.twitter.com/KwElgQebFc
— Martín Gallegos (@MartinJGallegos) August 28, 2019
Lopez has made only one appearance versus the A’s this season, but it was a forgettable one. The Royals’ right-hander gave up five runs in just 1 ⅔ frames in his last relief appearances back on August 26. This will be his first career start against Oakland.
Anderson finding success despite paltry strikeout rate
Veteran left-hander Brett Anderson will take the hill for the Athletics in the second game of their series versus the Royals. Anderson has been a key cog in the rotation this season, compiling a 12-9 record and a 4.07 ERA in 29 starts. Despite boasting a mediocre 4.61 K/9, he’s surrendered three earned runs or less in seven of his last eight outings. The A’s lefty as won each of his last two decisions on the mound and is fresh off surrendering two runs (one earned) in five innings of work on the road versus the AL-leading Houston Astros. Ironically, Anderson has been better on the road (8-3, 3.40 ERA) than at home in the pitcher-friendly Coliseum (4-6, 4.86 ERA) so far this season.
Stay hot Marcus Semien 🔥 pic.twitter.com/HFncuoRDZo
— A's on NBCS (@NBCSAthletics) September 15, 2019
The 31-year-old has yet to face the Royals this season and he’s only made one start against them dating back to the 2016 season. It’s very possible Anderson erased that outing from his memory, as he surrendered a whopping eight earned runs and lasted just 1 ⅓ frames in his lone start versus the Royals during that span.
However, the A’s lefty will have a bit of an advantage the first time through the order in this one. According to Baseball Savant, current Royals have just six career plate appearances off Anderson heading into this matchup.
- Royals are 3-7 in Lopez’s last 10 road starts.
- Royals are 1-6 in Lopez’s last 7 starts with 4 days of rest.
- Royals are 0-6 in Lopez’s last 6 starts vs. a team with a winning record
- Athletics are 4-0 in their last 4 during game 2 of a series.
- Athletics are 9-2 in their last 11 games vs. a team with a winning % below .400.
- Athletics are 28-8 in their last 36 home games vs. a team with a road winning % of less than .400.