A's go with six SP on roster for Wild Card

September 29th, 2020

OAKLAND -- The A’s are hoping to get through the American League Wild Card Series against the White Sox without needing a Game 3. But in case a decisive third game arrives, they’ll keep plenty of pitching options on the table.

Six starting pitchers were named to the A’s Wild Card Series roster: Sean Manaea, Mike Fiers, Frankie Montas and Mike Minor join Jesús Luzardo and Chris Bassitt, who are slated to start the first two games of the best-of-three series.

The roster features 13 pitchers in total, including J.B. Wendelken, who missed the final five games of the regular season after being placed on the injured list for unspecified reasons. Wendelken’s return is a boost for an A’s bullpen that touted the lowest ERA in baseball, in large part to his emergence as a high-leverage reliever. The right-hander posted a 1.80 ERA with 31 strikeouts over 25 innings and stranded 17 of 25 inherited runners.

“He’s been good for us all year,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “Postseason, you tend to use your bullpen a little bit more. He’s been a guy that not only has pitched well, but similar to [Yusmeiro] Petit, has been a guy that comes in with runners on base and does a good job. I know he feels a lot more comfortable after facing hitters heading into today.”

Chad Pinder, who returned to the club on the final day of the regular season after a right hamstring injury sidelined him for two weeks, is on the roster. Melvin said Pinder is a full-go for defense, likely to form a left-right platoon with Jake Lamb at third base.

Given Pinder's career numbers against White Sox starter Lucas Giolito -- 2-for-5 with a double -- he was in the Game 1 starting lineup against the right-hander as the designated hitter.

“He’s swung the bat well,” Melvin said of Pinder.” He has some history off Giolito, who can be a tough guy to string a bunch of hits together against. We’re a little down on power, and I know he’s pretty excited about getting the start today.”

Here is the full A's Wild Card Series roster:

Pitchers (13): Liam Hendriks, Jake Diekman, Joakim Soria, Yusmeiro Petit, J.B. Wendelken, T.J. McFarland, Lou Trivino, Jesús Luzardo, Chris Bassitt, Sean Manaea, Mike Fiers, Frankie Montas, Mike Minor

Catchers (2): Sean Murphy, Jonah Heim

Infielders (8): Matt Olson, Tommy La Stella, Marcus Semien, Jake Lamb, Chad Pinder, Tony Kemp, Vimael Machín, Nate Orf

Outfielders (4): Mark Canha, Robbie Grossman, Ramón Laureano, Stephen Piscotty

Designated hitter (1): Khris Davis