2020 American League Wild Card Series 4

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2020 American League Wild Card Series
Oakland Athletics logo
2020 American League Wild Card Series logo
Chicago White Sox logo
Oakland Athletics
36 - 24 in the AL
2 - 1
Series Summary
Chicago White Sox
35 - 25 in the AL

Overview[edit]

The Teams[edit]

Athletics

White Sox

Umpires[edit]

Series results[edit]

Game Score Date Starters Time (ET)
1 Chicago White Sox 4 Oakland Athletics 1 September 29 Lucas Giolito (1-0) Jesus Luzardo (0-1) 3:00 pm
2 Chicago White Sox 3 Oakland Athletics 5 September 30 Dallas Keuchel (0-1) Chris Bassitt (1-0) 3:00 pm
3 Chicago White Sox 4 Oakland Athletics 6 October 1 Dane Dunning (0-0) Mike Fiers (0-0) 3:00 pm

Results[edit]

Game 1 @ Oakland Coliseum[edit]

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
White Sox 0 1 2 0 0 0 0 1 0 4 9 0
Athletics 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 3 0
WP: Lucas Giolito (1-0); LP: Jesus Luzardo (0-1); SV: Alex Colome (1)
Home Runs: CHI - Adam Engel (1), José Abreu (1), Yasmani Grandal (1)
  • Attendance: none

The White Sox put on a dominant performance to win Game 1, behind some outstanding pitching by Lucas Giolito and a three-homer barrage, handing Oakland its sixth straight postseason loss. The Athletics had waited until that morning to announce their starting pitcher before settling on rookie lefthander Jesus Luzardo, a surprising choice not because Luzardo did not have outstanding stuff, but because the White Sox had absolutely feasted on lefties all season, going 14-0 when facing a southpaw starting pitcher. Luzardo would be no exception.

But most importantly, the White Sox did not play cute games with their starter, delegating their ace Giolito, author of a no-hitter earlier this year. He had one of the best days of his career, as he completely baffled the A's batters over the first six innings, setting down all 18 men he faced in order, by which point the White Sox had built a 3-0 lead. The spell was broken by Tommy La Stella, who opened the 7th with a single up the middle. However, there were no cracks in Giolito's armor, as he struck out the next two batters and induced Matt Olson to pop up to third to end the inning. He came back to start the 8th but was lifted after giving up a walk to Mark Canha and a single to Jake Lamb, Canha eventually coming in to score Oakland's only run on a ground out by Ramon Laureano. The A's got all of three hits on the day, all of them singles.

The contrast with the White Sox batters could have been starker. The Pale Hose brought out their big bats early, and used the long ball as their weapon of choice. Luzardo allowed a couple of singles in the 1st, but got out of the inning without allowing a run. In the 2nd however, CF Adam Engel opened the scoring with a solo homer after one out then in the 3rd, Tim Anderson led off with a single, as he had done in the 1st, and José Abreu went deep with two outs, making the score 3-0. The way Giolito was pitching, this was a comfortable lead, and the Sox threatened to do more damage in the 4th when Engel doubled with one out. This marked the end of Luzardo's day, replaced by J.B. Wendelken who retired the next two men to strand Engel. The A's excellent bullpen then did its work until the 8th, when it was Yasmani Grandal who went deep, against reliever Joakim Soria. The A's did get that run back in the bottom of the 8th, but Alex Colomé was perfect in the bottom of the 9th, nailing down the 4-1 win.

Game 2 @ Oakland Coliseum[edit]

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
White Sox 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 1 3 10 2
Athletics 2 2 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 5 7 0
WP: Chris Bassitt (1-0); LP: Dallas Keuchel (0-1); SV: Jake Diekman (1)
Home Runs: OAK - Marcus Semien (1), Khris Davis (1); CHI - Yasmani Grandal (2)
  • Attendance: none

The Athletics won their first postseason game since 2013 when they defeated the White Sox, 5-3, in Game 2, evening the series. This time there was no controversy around their choice of starting pitcher, as Chris Bassitt had just been named the American League Pitcher of the Month. Bassitt was excellent, allowing just one one run in seven innings, giving his teammates an opportunity to take the lead. They did that quickly, attacking Dallas Keuchel from the get-go. They scored twice in the 1st and twice more in the 2nd to take an early lead that was never in doubt until the very end of the game. The runs came on a fielding error by 2B Nick Madrigal with two outs and the bases loaded in the 1st, and in the 2nd on a two-run homer by Marcus Semien with Sean Murphy on first base. They added an insurance run in the 4th on another homer, this one a solo shot by Khris Davis. After one more batter, Keuchel was removed from the game, replaced by Jimmy Cordero after just 3 1/3 innings.

While Bassitt was cruising along, three relievers - Cordero, Dylan Cease and Codi Heuer - combined to pitch 4 2/3 scoreless innings for the White Sox, keeping the game within reach, even if the five-run deficit was a pretty steep one. Bassitt started off the 8th by allowing a single to Tim Anderson and gave way to Liam Hendriks. The A's bullpen had been suffocating all season, but this time, it wasn't really the case, although they did enough to keep the Sox from tying the score. Hendriks gave up a two-run homer to Yasmani Grandal to bring the score to 5-2, then in the 9th after two strikeouts, Hendriks allowed singles to Madrigal and Anderson, then walked Yoan Moncada to load the bases. He gave way to Jake Diekman, but Diekman walked Grandal to force in a third run. Up next was Jose Abreu, the White Sox's best hitter all season, with a chance to turn the game around, but he grounded out to second base to end the game.

Game 3 @ Oakland Coliseum[edit]

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
White Sox 0 1 2 0 1 0 0 0 0 4 12 1
Athletics 0 0 0 4 2 0 0 0 x 6 8 1
WP: Frankie Montas (1-0); LP: Evan Marshall (0-1); SV: Liam Hendriks (1)
Home Runs: CHI - Luis Robert (1); OAK - Sean Murphy (1)
  • Attendance: none

The Athletics won their first postseason series since the 2006 Division Series by defeating the White Sox, 6-4 in Game 3. It was a very entertaining game that featured a ton of strategy and pitching changes as both managers threw out all the stops in order to come out on top in the must-win game. Both teams took their time in naming their starting pitcher, waiting until a couple of hours before game time to designate rookie Dane Dunning in Chicago's case, and veteran Mike Fiers in Oakland's. Both of them would be out of the game quickly however, as both teams used every arm available in this game.

Things started quickly as Tim Anderson led off the top of the 1st with a single off Fiers, and then went to third on a double by Jose Abreu with one out. But Fiers got out of trouble by retiring the next two batters, and it was now Oakland's turn to turn on the pressure. Tommy La Stella hit a lead-off single and after two outs, Mark Canha hit a single as well, moving La Stella to third base. In what was likely a premeditated move, White Sox manager Rick Renteria immediately made a pitching change, bringing in Garrett Crochet, who was still pitching for the University of Tennessee when the coronavirus pandemic had shut down spring training back in March. The hard-throwing lefty struck out Matt Olson on four pitches to end the inning. In the 2nd, Luis Robert started the inning with a monster home run off Fiers that travelled almost 490 feet to left. Fiers struck out the next two batters, but when he allowed a single to Nick Madrigal and a double to Anderson, then loaded the bases by walking Yasmani Grandal, it was his turn to make an early visit to the showers, as he gave way to Yusmeiro Petit. Petit got Abreu to ground out to third to end the inning. In the bottom of the inning, Crochet struck out Khris Davis but felt something in his forearm in doing so, and was immediately removed from the game in what was certainly not a premeditated move. The White Sox would need to dig deep into their bullpen as Aaron Bummer took over, getting the next two outs. After two innings, the score was just 1-0, but there had already been five pitchers in the game!

In the 3rd, Eloy Jimenez led off with a double off Petit, but had to be replaced by a pinch-runner - back-up catcher James McCann - as he aggravated a pre-existing injury in running out the hit. One out later, McCann doubled Chicago's lead on Robert's single to center, and Nomar Mazara followed with another double that scored Robert, making it 3-0. Petit managed to finish the inning without further damage, but the Athletics were in trouble. They were unable to score in the bottom of the inning, but they chased Bummer when Bob Melvin sent in Chad Pinder to pinch-hit for Jake Lamb, Renteria replied by calling on Codi Heuer to pitch, and he got out without allowing a run, leaving the bases loaded. Frankie Montas became the third A's pitcher in the top of the 4th and he had the team's first 1-2-3 inning, then against Heuer in the bottom of the frame, Robbie Grossman drew a walk and with two outs, Sean Murphy homered to left field to cut the lead to 3-2. That prompted Renteria to make a mid-inning pitching change for the fourth straight inning, with Carlos Rodon being brought in. He walked La Stella, allowed a double to Marcus Semien, and then issued an intentional pass to Pinder to load the bases. Out came Rodon, in came Matt Foster, pitcher #6 for those keeping count. But Foster was visibly nervous and he walked Canha and Olson back-to-back, forcing in a run each time, and the White Sox now led 5-4. Davis flied out to mercifully end the inning, but it was now the White Sox who were in trouble, having burned through half of their bullpen with five innings left to play.

The White Sox managed to tie the score in the 5th on a single by Moncada, a well-timed stolen base and a single by Mazara. However, Oakland came right back against pitcher #7, Evan Marshall, after two quick outs. Murphy drew a walk, LaStella reached on catcher's interference and Semien walked as well, loading the bases once again. Pinder was next up and he singled to left, scoring two runs, for a 6-4 lead. No one would have predicted this at the time, but those were the last runs of the game. The pitching changes continued unimpeded though, as J.B. Wendelken replaced Montas in the top of the 6th and retired the White Sox in order. But Renteria had little choice but to leave Marshall for a second inning, as he was running out of live arms. Marshall gave him a solid inning though, then in the 7th it was Lou Trivino who came to pitch for Oakland. He got in hot water on an error by SS Semien that allowed Abreu to reach base, after which he hit McCann with a pitch. He managed to retire Moncada and Robert, but it was Jake Diekman who was summoned to record the final out. He walked Mazara to load the bases, but then got Adam Engel to ground out to end the threat. Jimmy Cordero retired the A's in order in the bottom of the 7th, and the White Sox had another good opportunity in the 8th. Joakim Soria was now on the mound, and he allowed a one-out single to Anderson, then walked Grandal who gave way to a pinch-runner, Jarrod Dyson. Abreu was the next batter, exactly the man the White Sox wanted in such a crucial situation, but he hit a hard grounder to Semien, who started an inning-ending double play. For those still counting, Alex Colome was pitcher #9 for the White Sox in the bottom of the 8th, but he kept the score at 6-4 without needing too many pitches, a good thing since had the White Sox managed to tie the game or take the lead, he would likely have had to come back to pitch the 9th. But that wasn't to be as Liam Hendriks, coming off a difficult 49-pitch outing the day before, came out for the 9th and, bulldog-like, challenged the White Sox batters with a string of hard fastballs after allowing a lead-off single to McCann. He struck out Moncada, Robert and Mazara in order, ending the game and confirming Oakland's place in the next round.

Further Reading[edit]

  • Martin Gallegos: "A's advance, win 1st playoff series since '06: Oakland now set to face AL West rival Houston in Division Series", mlb.com, October 1, 2020. [1]
  • Gabe Lacques: "Chicago White Sox vs. Oakland Athletics: American League Wild Card series preview, schedule, predictions", USA Today, September 29, 2020. [2]

Related Sites[edit]

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