MLB Game Picks – Tuesday, September 30, 2014

So it begins. The post season begins today with the wild card game. The big question is whether you can call it a playoff game or an extra day of the season to see who has a right to get to the playoffs. That is one of the points of weirdness created by the one game, do-or-die format. And since there is only one game today and one tomorrow, it begins the post season in sort of a slow, measured way when splash would be better.

We work with what we have, however, and today the Kansas City Royals host the Oakland Athletics. The Royals are this year’s Pirates, the Cinderella team many would like to see move on and deeper into the playoffs. The A’s are the smart organization that almost thought themselves out of the playoff picture completely this season. So who will win the game?

The pick:

The Athletics over the Royals: Jon Lester and James Shields will not shy away from this responsibility and both have been through this before. There won’t be any butterflies they cannot handle. It comes down to which one will actually perform and hold down the other club. The offense for the A’s took a deep hit in August and September with the loss of Cespedes and some key injuries. But in the last week of the season, seemed to regain a bit of its pop. Jon Lester has had great success in his career against the Royals with a 9-3 record and a sub-two ERA over the years. But he fares slightly worse in Kansas City itself. James Shields has been a much better pitcher on the road during his time with the Royals. He is pitching at home here. The Royals’ offense is susceptible to being shut down because of their free-swinging ways. And Lester can use that. I hate to be there harbinger of bad news, but I think the A’s win.

Season: 1365-1089

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