American League Wild Card: A’s @ Royals

This has absolutely nothing to do with the Dodgers. It does not matter. There’s one baseball game on tonight. Everyone will be watching it. You will be, too, so here’s a place to talk about it.

A’s
Royals
5:00 p.m.
Kansas City, Mo.
CF
Crisp
SS
Escobar
LF
Fuld
RF
Aoki
3B
Donaldson
CF
Cain
DH
Moss
1B
Hosmer
RF
Reddick
DH
Butler
SS
Lowrie
LF
Gordon
1B
Vogt
C
Perez
C
Soto
2B
Infante
2B
Sogard
3B
Moustakas

As I hardly need to tell you, this is the first time Kansas City has had playoff baseball since George Brett, Bret Saberhagen, Bud Black, Hal McRae and friends won the World Series in 1985. Is this really “making the playoffs,” since it’s merely a one-game play-in? I lean towards “yes,” if only because they got the first wild card spot, which is they they’re at home. If they’d gotten in as the second wild card, you could make the argument that two years ago that would have been meaningless. The first wild card has been around for nearly 20 years now. We don’t pretend that the Marlins don’t have two World Series titles.

For both teams, fairly — or more likely, not — this is something of a referendum on the two big trades they’ve made to add top starters in the last two years, since James Shields and Jon Lester are going head-to-head tonight. (Which should be awesome, by the way.) The Royals can now claim that Shields “took them to the playoffs,” which, I guess, though it’s arguable how much that matters if they lose tonight or in the ALDS, since he’s going to leave as a free agent following the year. Lester has been fantastic for the A’s despite their monumental collapse, and no, the trade that sent away Yoenis Cespedes to Boston for him was in no way the cause of their skid.

Come to think of it, at least one of these two impending free agents is going to be pitching the last game for their team tonight, in all likelihood. Kansas City should be rocking. I can’t say I have a heavy rooting interest in this one, so let’s say… Oakland. Why? Because if they lose, I’ll never be able to convince people that momentum isn’t a thing. (It’s not.)

About Mike Petriello

Mike Petriello
Mike writes about lots of baseball in lots of places, and right now that place is MLB.com.