Oakland A’s: The battle to get past the Wild Card

Maybe this will be the year for the Oakland A’s in their quest to get over the Wild Card hump.

While the Oakland A’s have had a great deal of postseason success over their franchise history, the same cannot be said for the past few years. In fact, ever since winning Game Seven in the 1973 World Series, the A’s have yet to win a game that would have eliminated them from the playoffs.

That futility has been magnified in the Wild Card Era. The A’s last three playoff appearances came via the Wild Card, with each game being marked in defeat. The 2014 Wild Card loss was truly devastating, as the A’s held a four run lead into the bottom of the eighth inning, and scored again in the top of the 12th inning before succumbing to the Royals.

And that has been the story for the A’s over the past few years. They have had a great run of success in the regular season, even getting hot right before the playoffs. But once the calendar changes over to the postseason, that magic just is not there.

Perhaps this will be the year that changes everything. The A’s young guns, Jesus Luzardo and A.J. Puk, will not be on an innings limit, and will be firing into October. While both were part of the Wild Card roster last season, having that duo from the start of the year, and continuing into the playoffs, can make a major difference.

The A’s can count on more than just that dynamic duo. Sean Manaea is also back and healthy for the season, and could be the best option for a Wild Card Game. Having Manaea start, and the potential for Luzardo and/or Puk to follow out of the bullpen to further shorten the game, can change the tide the contest.

Likewise, the A’s could get more from their lineup. Matt Chapman and Matt Olson have already established themselves as key parts of the lineup, but other players are ready to ascend. Ramon Laureano appears ready to make the leap to stardom, and Sean Murphy should give the A’s a lot more production from the catcher spot.

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Maybe this is the year for the Oakland A’s. After years of failure in the postseason, perhaps this will be the year they can get past the Wild Card Game and advance into the playoffs.