Oakland A’s: Mike Fiers was the right choice despite the results
By David Hill
The Oakland A’s gambled by giving Mike Fiers the ball for Game Three. Although he struggled, the A’s had the right idea in mind.
In theory, Mike Fiers was the right option for Game Three. The Oakland A’s had just watched Chris Bassitt flummox the powerful White Sox lineup, his below average velocity countering their ability to hit the ball hard. As Fiers was essentially the type of pitcher that Bassitt can aspire towards, it made sense to try the same approach.
Fiers had even had success against the White Sox in the past. In eight games, and 51.1 innings, he posted a 4-0 record with a 1.58 ERA and a 1.071 WHiP, striking out 44 batters with only ten walks. The White Sox had a .231/.282/.308 batting line over those games, with just two homers. History was on the A’s side.
But these were not the same White Sox. They were not even close to the same team he faced last season and fired seven shutout innings against. This was the start of what Chicago hopes will be a contending team for the next decade.
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And that proved to be the case in Game Three. Fiers only recorded five outs, allowing a run on five hits and a walk. He gave up a blast to Luis Robert that may still be traveling, as the White Sox were not fooled at all by his arsenal. The A’s needed Yusmeiro Petit to escape a bases loaded jam in the top of the second, or the game could have gotten out of hand early.
The decision to go to Fiers can even go beyond the similarity to Bassitt. He had been one of the A’s better starters down the stretch, posting a 3.43 ERA and a 1.296 WHiP over his final 39.1 innings, allowing just three homers. He struck out 30 batters with 11 walks, showing the type of command the A’s hoped for.
Although Fiers did not live up to his end of the bargain, the A’s still got the desired result. They hammered the White Sox bullpen for six runs between the fourth and fifth innings, holding on for a 6-4 victory as they advanced to the second round.
Mike Fiers seemed to be the right choice for the Oakland A’s. In the end, they still won the game, even though Fiers struggled.