The Oakland A’s bats went dormant once again, leaving the team in a must-win situation on Wednesday.
The story of the afternoon was Lucas Giolito and there was no doubt from the start. The young right handed pitcher dominated the Oakland A’s in a convincing 4-1 win on Tuesday afternoon.
Oakland and Chicago have been two teams powered by the home run throughout the 2020 season and in the first game of a three game series, the White Sox came out ahead in that category.
Bob Melvin said on Monday that he had “no doubts” in Jesus Luzardo’s ability to handle the pressure of starting Game 1 of a playoff series, but the young lefty struggled in his first playoff start.
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Luzardo only lasted 3.1 innings and allowed three runs on six hits and struggled early with his command of the fastball. Although Luzardo can hit 96 MPH on occasion, challenging a powerful offense like the White Sox proved to be dangerous.
Even after the loss, Luzardo was not discouraged. “I know there’s a lot of pessimism going around, but not in this clubhouse. Whatever is said negatively about our team, we don’t let that get in our head. Bassitt’s going to dominate tomorrow and our hitters are gonna hit. We’ll go to game three and see what happens,” said Luzardo.
Bob Melvin explained post-game that the outcome of Game 1 may impact if they use a left-handed or right-handed pitcher in Game 3. Mike Fiers has had success against the White Sox in the past, but Oakland seems to like Sean Manaea as a postseason starter as well.
For Chicago, Lucas Giolito dazzled in a seven inning performance that was almost more impressive than his final line was.
Giolito retired the first 18 batters he faced, and finished with only one earned run and eight strikeouts. After going out for the beginning of the eight inning, Giolito clearly was tired and allowed the A’s only run on a fielder’s choice ground ball by Ramon Laureano.
The A’s came into the series as the number two seed in the American League, but there was only one game separating the records of Oakland and Chicago. In a three game series between two teams who appear so evenly matched, one dominant game is a big difference maker.
“We can’t score one run and think that we’re gonna win tomorrow, and put that much pressure on our starters. Offensively, we have to show up,” said A’s manager Bob Melvin.
For Oakland, Chris Bassitt will take the mound on Wednesday to try and salvage the A’s first AL West title since 2013. With documented success against lefty pitchers, the White Sox will have to face the A’s best right handed pitcher in a pivotal Game 2.
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Bassitt was the AL Pitcher of the Month in September and at this point in time, he is the best hope for the Oakland A’s to break their 6 game postseason losing streak.