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Athletics name Sean Manaea starter for AL Wild Card game

The A’s are going with the high upside lefty Sean Manaea over the safer veteran Mike Fiers.

Sean Manaea of the Oakland Athletics pitches against the Texas Rangers at Oakland Coliseum on Saturday, September 21, 2019 in Oakland, California. Photo by Daniel Shirey/MLB Photos via Getty Images

The Oakland Athletics announced on Tuesday afternoon that left-hander Sean Manaea will start for the team in the 2019 American League Wild Card Game, according to A’s reporter Ben Ross. The A’s host the Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday, October 2nd, with first pitch scheduled for 8:08 p.m. on ESPN. Charlie Morton will start for the Rays.

The Rays knew their starter as soon as they clinched, while the A’s had a tougher decision to make. Veteran Mike Fiers was considered by some to be the front-runner to start in the one-game playoff. He led the rotation, finishing the season 15-4 with a 3.90 ERA and a WHIP of 1.19, while going 9-1 with a 2.54 ERA in 16 starts at the Coliseum in 2019. However, he stumbled in September, putting up an ERA and 7.84 in five starts.

Manaea did not even take the mound for the first time this season until September after undergoing shoulder surgery last September. It’s a small sample size, but Manaea dominated in his return. In five starts, the lefty was 4-0 with an ERA of 1.21 and a WHIP of 0.78. Even with Fiers’ September struggles, some might view him as the safer call. Going with Manaea, however, seems like the smarter aggressive call.

Early money has been on the A’s at DraftKings Sportsbook. The team opened as -129 favorites, while the Rays were +114 underdogs. Those numbers have moved to -136 and +120 respectively.

Odds and lines subject to change. See website for actual odds.
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