Oakland Athletics vs. Kansas City Royals — 8 p.m. ET
American League Wild Card Game
Kauffman Stadium — Kansas City, MO
Weather: 80 degrees, partly cloudy
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Detroit Tigers fans can attest to the sheer delight that was in the air just about eight years ago when the Tigers hosted their first playoff game in 18 years back in 2006. So even though our teams battled all season long, you gotta give it up for the fans of the Kansas City Royals, playing in their first postseason games since winning it all in Game 5 of the 1985 World Series.
Conversely, one of the Tigers’ other rivals, the Oakland Athletics, will be the opponents standing in the way of the Royals advancing to an actual playoff round.
The Royals won the regular season series with ease, 5 games to 2.
The winner of this game will head to Anaheim to face the Angels in the ALDS beginning Thursday.
The Oakland Athletics called Kansas City home for 13 season from 1955 to 1967 after playing in Philadelphia from 1901 to 1954 and before relocating to Northern California prior to the 1968 season. This is the second time the teams have met in the playoffs, the last time coming with an Oakland three-game ALCS sweep in 1981.
How We Got Here
Athletics: Remember around the All-Star break when everyone just loved what the A’s did, adding several starting pitchers to seemingly put them over the edge? The loss of Yoenis Cespedes proved greater than anyone in Oakland ever imagined as the A’s struggled to score runs, lost baseball’s best record, lost the AL West by a huge margin, and barely withstood a rally from their division rival Seattle Mariners to clinch their appearance in the wild card game.
Royals: Nearly unbeatable after the All-Star break, Kansas City rolled back from third place in the American League Central to supplant the Tigers in first place for a couple weeks, before Detroit stopped fooling around. Kansas City missed out on a 163rd game to decide the division when they lost on Saturday in Chicago after losing a 3-0 lead to the woeful White Sox playing out the string.
Oakland’s prized trade deadline acquisition, Jon Lester (2.11 ERA in 13 postseason appearances) will face James Shields (first playoff appearance since 2011) for Kansas City, possibly pitching in his last game as a Royal.