The White Sox and A's had themselves a bullpen game to determine who would face the Astros. The Coward Mike Fiers threw 39 pitches in 1.2IP, allowing 5H/1ER to start it off. Ultimately, the A's string of eight pitchers was slightly better than the White Sox' string of nine pitchers, and the A's won the game 6-4, and the series 2-1. It was Oakland's first playoff series win since the 2006 ALDS. Game 1 is Monday vs Oakland at Dodger Stadium.
*FanGraphs currently has the Houston/Oakland ALDS at 56.5-43.5 Houston.
*FiveThirtyEight has it 53-47 Houston and I'll just cross my leg over my other leg and let you tell me the last time FiveThirtyEight had an outcome wrong in October of an election year.
*McTaggart: The heated Astros/A's rivalry hits the postseason. Reddick:
We have to grind it out and get our butts in gear. Playing a team in your division is going to give you an upper hand recognizing and knowing how...[bullpen] guys are going to pitch you, and starters, because they've faced you before.
Oakland's Liam Hendriks:
I think there's a little bit of us wanting to make sure they know what they've done and we can prove it to them that they weren't the top team in the AL West. But we also don't want to be petty and let our emotions get the best of us.
Houston was 3-7 against Oakland in the "regular" "season," with Oakland outscoring the Astros 38-35. Five of those losses were within two runs, as were all three of Houston's wins. The Astros took both ends of a double-header on August 29 before COVID forced the rescheduling of the third game on August 30.
*Chandler Rome: A Best-of-Five-in-Five-Days series is going to require some careful pitching management, but Dusty deserves some credit for how he's deployed the pitching staff this season.
*SI's Stephanie Apstein: Will riding the bullpen help the A's against the Astros?
*ESPN: Looking for some playoff spice? Astros/A's could be for you.
*Justin Verlander had
Rob Manfred Tommy John Surgery on Wednesday, and his timetable to return is 12-14 months which [takes off socks] is somewhere between October-December 2021. So unless he signs an extension, his time in Houston is over.
*Roberto Osuna is happy for his teammates:
I'm very proud of these guys. It's been a tough year for them and I'm so happy for them to go to Minnesota, sweep them and move on to the next round.
Osuna said Tommy John surgery was recommended, but a second opinion said otherwise. Osuna:
I started playing catch about three weeks ago and I've been feeling much better. So at this point right now, we don't believe we're going to need surgery, which is good. Hopefully, it stays this way and continues to get better and better.
Ahhh the old Verlander recovery plan. Worked out well for him, too.
*In two games (22 Innings) against the Braves, the Reds' "offense" scored exactly zero runs on 13 hits. The Reds were 1x15 with runners in scoring position in two games.
*A reporter for NFL Network tweeted the following yesterday:
A bus driver who drove the Tennessee Titans last weekend in Minnesota also drove MLB's Houston Astros on their trip for a playoff series this week against the Twins, per sources. After the Titans' COVID-19 outbreak surfaced, the Astros removed the driver.
*Human Delight Fernando Tatis, Jr. hit two home runs, becoming the third youngest player to hit multiple homers in a game, behind Carlos Correa and Andruw Jones.
*The untold story of the 2018 Olympics cyberattack, the most deceptive hack in history.
*Psyche: How to wait well.
*A Musical Selection: