The Oakland Athletics (88-74) visit Kauffman Stadium Tuesday night for a one game playoff with the Kansas City Royals (89-73), who are making their first postseason appearance since 1985. The pitching matchup will feature a duo who has faced off many times before in their AL East days. Former Rays pitcher James Shields takes the hill for Kansas City; opposing him for Oakland will be Jon Lester, who went 2-0 with a 1.62 ERA for the Red Sox in last year’s World Series.
“We’re matching up two of the most premiere big-game pitchers,” said Royals manager Ned Yost. “We know that it’s probably going to be a low-scoring affair.”
While there is a notable pitching duel, both offenses have struggled as well. The Royals are the first team to ever make the postseason in which they finished last in the league in home runs and walks. No Kansas City player hit over 20 home runs or registered over 75 RBIs. Since July 31st (when they traded Yoenis Cespedes to Boston) the A’s have been shut out seven times — they batted a paltry .233 as a team post-All Star break (27th in the league). Oakland also recorded the lowest winning percentage in the second half of the season (.433) for a playoff team since 1933.
“They started well in the first four or five months to get in a really good position for September,” said A’s designated hitter Adam Dunn. “It’s not how you get in, it’s if you get in…and we did.”
The Royals took five of seven games from the Athletics this season. First pitch is set for 8:07, and you can tune into coverage from Kansas City on ESPN 850 WRUF beginning at 7:30. The National League Wild Card game takes place on Wednesday night as the Pittsburgh Pirates host the San Francisco Giants.
For full audio from Ned Yost and Adam Dunn, click here: