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Rays, Athletics lineups for AL Wild Card game

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The American League side of the playoff bracket will begin with the AL Wild Card game tonight at 8 PM ET on ESPN, featuring the Rays and Athletics in Oakland. The Rays went 96-66 during the regular season, finishing a distant seven games behind the Yankees. The A’s went 97-65, finishing an even more distant 10 games behind the Astros.

Here are your starting lineups.

Rays

1B Yandy Díaz – .267/.340/.476, 14 HR, 38 RBI (347 PA)
DH Tommy Pham – .273/.369/.450, 21 HR, 68 RBI (654 PA)
LF Austin Meadows – .291/.364/.558, 33 HR, 89 RBI (591 PA)
C Travis d'Arnaud – .263/.323/.459, 16 HR, 67 RBI (365 PA)
3B Matt Duffy – .252/.343/.327, 1 HR, 12 RBI (169 PA)
RF Avisaíl García – .282/.332/.464, 20 HR, 72 RBI (530 PA)
SS Willy Adames – .254/.317/.418, 20 HR, 52 RBI (584 PA)
CF Kevin Kiermaier – .228/.278/.398, 14 HR, 55 RBI (480 PA)
2B Michael Brosseau – .273/.319/.462, 6 HR, 16 RBI (142 PA)

SP Charlie Morton – 16-6, 3.05 ERA< 240 K, 57 BB (194 2/3 IP)

The Rays are back in the playoffs for the first time since 2013. Hard to believe it’s been that long, but the club had strung together five consecutive seasons of finishing in third place or worse.

Morton had a career year and is a solid No. 3 in the AL Cy Young Award race behind the Astros’ Gerrit Cole and Justin Verlander. The Rays received a lot of press for popularizing “the opener” plus reigning AL Cy Young Award winner Blake Snell had a down year, so Morton stepped up as the de facto ace of the staff.

Athletics

SS Marcus Semien – .285/.369/.522, 33 HR, 92 RBI (747 PA)
RF Ramón Laureano – .288/.340/.521, 24 HR, 67 RBI (481 PA)
3B Matt Chapman – .249/.342/.506, 36 HR, 91 RBI (670 PA)
1B Matt Olson – .267/.351/.545, 36 HR, 91 RBI (547 PA)
CF Mark Canha – .273/.396/.517, 26 HR, 58 RBI (497 PA)
2B Jurickson Profar – .218/.301/.410, 20 HR, 67 RBI (518 PA)
DH Khris Davis – .220/.293/.387, 23 HR, 73 RBI (533 PA)
LF Robbie Grossman – .240/.334/.348, 6 HR, 38 RBI (482 PA)
C Sean Murphy – .245/.333/.566, 4 HR, 8 RBI (60 PA)

SP Sean Manaea – 4-0, 1.21 ERA, 30 K, 7 BB (29 2/3 IP)

The A’s are appearing in the AL Wild Card game for a second consecutive year. They lost last year to the Yankees, 7-2. Should they win tonight, the A’s will advance into the ALDS for the first time since 2013.

Manaea underwent shoulder surgery in September 2018 and didn’t return until rosters expanded last month. In five September starts, Manaea dazzled with a 1.21 ERA and a 30/7 K/BB ratio across 29 2/3 innings. Although it is a small sample size, the performance isn’t hard to buy into as Manaea has shown that kind of potential before, particularly when he no-hit the eventual world champion Red Sox on April 21, 2018.

Washington Nationals roster and schedule for 2020

Nationals roster and schedule
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The 2020 season is now a 60-game dash, starting on July 23 and ending, hopefully, with a full-size postseason in October. Between now and the start of the season, we’ll be giving quick capsule previews of each team, reminding you of where things stood back in Spring Training and where they stand now as we embark on what is sure to be the strangest season in baseball history. First up: The Washington Nationals roster and schedule:

NATIONALS ROSTER (projected)

When the season opens on July 23-24, teams can sport rosters of up to 30 players, with a minimum of 25. Two weeks later, rosters must be reduced to 28 and then, two weeks after that, they must be reduced to 26. Teams will be permitted to add a 27th player for doubleheaders.

In light of that, there is a great degree of latitude for which specific players will break summer camp. For now, though, here are who we expect to be on the Nationals roster to begin the season:

Catchers:

Yan Gomes
Kurt Suzuki

Infielders:

Eric Thames
Starlin Castro
Carter Kieboom
Trea Turner
Howie Kendrick
Asdrúbal Cabrera

Outfielders:

Juan Soto
Victor Robles
Adam Eaton
Michael Taylor
Andrew Stevenson

Starters:

Max Scherzer
Steven Strasburg
Patrick Corbin
Aníbal Sánchez
Austin Voth
Erick Fedde

Relievers:

Sean Doolittle
Daniel Hudson
Will Harris
Tanner Rainey
Wander Suero
Hunter Strickland
Roenis Elías


BREAKDOWN:

The Nationals shocked the world last year, recovering from an abysmal start to the season to win an NL Wild Card before cutting through the Dodgers, Cardinals, and Astros to win the first championship in franchise history. While the roster is largely unchanged, there is one gaping void: the loss of third baseman Anthony Rendon, who signed with the Angels. Rendon, a perennial MVP candidate, led the majors with 126 doubles and the NL with 44 doubles while smacking 34 homers with a 1.010 OPS last season. He’ll be replaced by the young Carter Kieboom and the veteran Kendrick and Cabrera. Those are some large shoes to fill.

With Rendon out of the picture, Juan Soto becomes the crux of the Nationals’ offense. Last year, he tied Rendon with 34 homers while knocking in 110 runs. He also, impressively, drew 108 walks, by far the highest on the team. The Nationals will likely have to utilize their speed even more. Last year, Soto stole 12 bases while Adam Eaton swiped 15, Victor Robles 28, and Trea Turner 35.

As was the case in 2019, the pitching will be how the Nationals punch their ticket to the postseason. Max Scherzer finished third in Cy Young balloting, his seventh consecutive top-five finish. The club retained Stephen Strasburg and brings back Patrick Corbin as well. There really isn’t a better 1-2-3 in the game. The rotation will be rounded out by Aníbal Sánchez and one of Austin Voth or Erick Fedde, though both are likely to see starts during the season.

The back of the bullpen is led by closer Sean Doolittle, who posted an uncharacteristically high — for him — 4.05 ERA last year. He still saved 29 games and averaged better than a strikeout per inning, so they’re in good hands. Daniel Hudson and Will Harris will work the seventh and eighth innings leading up to Doolittle.

As mentioned in the Braves preview, it’s tough to make any definitive statements about a 60-game season. Variance is going to have much more of an effect than it would in a 162-game season. Additionally, the NL East is highly competitive. It would be wrong to say with any degree of confidence that the Nationals will win the NL East. For example, the updated PECOTA standings from Baseball Prospectus only project a five-game difference between first and last place in the NL East. What we can say is that the Nationals will give everyone a run for their money in 2020.

NATIONALS SCHEDULE:

Every team will play 60 games. Teams will be playing 40 games against their own division rivals and 20 interleague games against the corresponding geographic division from the other league. Six of the 20 interleague games will be “rivalry” games.

  • July 23, 25-26: vs. Yankees
  • July 27-28: vs. Blue Jays
  • July 29-30: @ Blue Jays
  • July 31-August 2: @ Marlins
  • August 4-5: vs. Mets
  • August 7-9: vs. Orioles
  • August 10-13: @ Mets
  • August 14-16: @ Orioles
  • August 17-19: @ Braves
  • August 21-24: vs. Marlins
  • August 25-27: vs. Phillies
  • August 28-30: @ Red Sox
  • August 31-September 3: @ Phillies
  • September 4-6: @ Braves
  • September 7-8: vs. Rays
  • September 10-13: vs. Braves
  • September 15-16: @ Rays
  • September 18-20: @ Marlins
  • September 21-23: vs. Phillies
  • September 24-27: vs. Mets

The entire Nationals schedule can be seen here.