Who has a corner in a AL furious label game, Royals or A’s?

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A demeanour during a American League furious label playoff between a Kansas City Royals and Oakland Athletics:

8:07 p.m. ET, TBS

Matchup: Jon Lester (16-11, 2.46 ERA) vs. James Shields (14-8, 3.21 ERA).

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This season: Royals won deteriorate array 5-2, holding 3 of 4 in Kansas City.

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Lester vs. a Royals: He’s 9-3 with a 1.84 ERA – his best opposite any AL organisation – in 13 career starts. He threw a no-hitter opposite them in 2008. This year he kick them in all 3 starts, with a 2.61 ERA.

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Shields vs. a A’s: Shields has a career 6-4 record with a 3.82 ERA in 15 starts opposite a A’s, including a 1-0 symbol with a 3.21 ERA in dual starts this year.

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Trending up: The Royals don’t yield many descent fireworks, carrying strike a fewest homers in a majors this season, though they led all of ball in steals for a second year in a row. The offense also picked adult some steam when shortstop Alcides Escobar was changed to a leadoff mark on Sept. 13. He batted .375 in his final 14 games in that purpose as Kansas City softened a outlay from an normal of 4 runs a diversion all deteriorate to 4.4. The A’s attack, in a despondency many of a second half, has gotten a new boost from lefty-swinging outfielder Josh Reddick, who is earning some starts opposite left-handers. Reddick batted .485 with 9 RBI in his final 10 games, including a pivotal triple in a win that clinched a wild-card mark Sunday. The superb pitching that put a A’s in position to strech a playoffs has continued during a descent downturn. Oakland starters had a 2.62 ERA in their final 24 games and did not travel a beat in a final five, an Oakland record.

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Trending down: Scoring has been severe for both teams, many of a deteriorate for Kansas City and a final dual months for Oakland. The Royals did not have a singular hitter strech 20 home runs or 75 RBI. Instead, they count on speed – they’re a usually bar with 3 25-base stealers — to make runs. That proceed would be many some-more effective if their on-base commission were improved than .314, that ranked in a center of a container in a AL. The Royals also miss a top-notch lefty out of a bullpen, with Francisley Bueno (4.18 ERA) being their No. 1 option. That could infer an emanate opposite a platooning A’s, nonetheless a right-handed K.C. relievers have been effective opposite many hitters. Oakland was heading a majors in runs scored during 5 a diversion when it traded Yoenis Cespedes on Jul 31. Through a multiple of his absence, injuries and formerly prolific hitters cooling down, a A’s offense struggled mightily a rest of a way. The bar strike .233 after a All-Star break, lowest in a AL. At 29-38, a A’s had a misfortune second-half record ever for a organisation that done a playoffs. Two vital contributors to that downturn have been Brandon Moss (.173 after a ASG) and Coco Crisp, who batted .189 in his final 54 games.

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Close and late: Nobody has a improved organisation of late-inning relievers than a Royals, who posted a 72-1 record when heading after 7 innings and 79-1 when forward after eight. Closer Greg Holland ranks second in a majors over a final dual seasons with 93 saves, and initial in save commission during 94.9 (converting 93 of 98). In his final 8 innings, Holland has authorised dual bottom runners (both around walk) while distinguished out 14. His setup group are usually as nasty. Wade Davis and Kelvin Herrera total for a 1.20 ERA, pitching 142 innings but giving adult a home run. The A’s underline a rarely effective bullpen as well, ranking second in ERA in a AL during 2.91. Sean Doolittle took over as a closer in mid-May and finished with 22 saves in 26 chances, mostly powerful hitters with his mid-90s fastball. Doolittle’s 12.78 strikeouts per 9 innings set an A’s record (min. 60 innings). He’s skilfully set adult by eighth-inning male Luke Gregerson (2.12 ERA) and Dan Otero (2.28), with Fernando Abad (1.57) as a lefty specialist.

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In a end: Oakland played both a array opposite Kansas City during a time when a Royals were enjoying their longest prohibited spell of a season, going 24-6 and losing uninterrupted games usually once from Jul 22-Aug. 23. The usually dual wins a A’s got out of those 7 games were behind Lester, a unqualified stopper. This is also a pitcher with a 2.11 ERA in 13 postseason outings, including dual wins and an 0.59 ERA in final year’s World Series. (How did he not win Series MVP honors? Oh yeah, there was that Big Papi guy.) In a one-game elimination, a intelligent income is on a organisation that has a prohibited starter with a story of postseason success. That’s a clarification of Lester, who went 6-4 with a 2.35 ERA in his 11 starts for Oakland. Shields comes in with a improved nickname – Big Game James – and he did have a excellent September, induction a 2.31 ERA. But his postseason certification – 2-4, 4.98 ERA – are not scarcely as impressive. The A’s sputtering offense should be means to blemish out usually adequate runs to allege behind Lester and a plain bullpen.​

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Projected Lineups:

Athletics: CF Coco Crisp (.246, 9 HRs, 47 RBIs, 19 SBs), DH Adam Dunn (.219, 22, 64, 159 Ks with Oakland and Chicago White Sox), 3B Josh Donaldson (.255, 29, 98, 31 2Bs), LF Brandon Moss (.234, 25, 81, 153 Ks), RF Josh Reddick (.264, 12, 54), SS Jed Lowrie (.249, 6, 50), 1B Stephen Vogt (.279, 9, 35), C Geovany Soto (.253, 1, 11 with Oakland and Texas), 2B Eric Sogard (.223, 1, 22).

Royals: SS Alcides Escobar (.285, 3, 50, 31 SBs), RF Nori Aoki (.285, 1, 43, 17 SBs), CF Lorenzo Cain (.301, 5, 53, 28 SBs), 1B Eric Hosmer (.270, 9, 58), DH Billy Butler (.271, 9, 66), LF Alex Gordon (.266, 19, 74, 12 SBs), C Salvador Perez (.260, 19, 70), 2B Omar Infante (.252, 6, 66), 3B Mike Moustakas (.212, 15, 54).

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Relievers:

Athletics: LH Sean Doolittle (2-4, 2.73, 22/26 saves, 89/8 K/BB ratio), RH Luke Gregerson (5-5, 3.12, 3 saves), RH Ryan Cook (1-3, 3.42, 1 save), RH Dan Otero (8-2, 2.28, 1 save), LH Fernando Abad (2-4, 1.57), LH Eric O’Flaherty (1-0, 2.25, 1 save), LH Drew Pomeranz (5-4, 2.35).

Royals: RH Greg Holland (1-3, 1.44, 46/48 saves), RH Wade Davis (9-2, 1.00), RH Kelvin Herrera (4-3, 1.41), LH Brandon Finnegan (0-1, 1.29), RH Jason Frasor (3-0, 1.53), LH Francisley Bueno (0-0, 4.18), LH Scott Downs (0-2, 3.14), RH Aaron Crow (6-1, 4.12).

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