Despite wrestling away the AL West crown from the Astros in 2020, Canha can’t help but still feel like an underdog entering the AL Division Series between the two division rivals at Dodger Stadium. And he’s perfectly fine with that.
“I think the Oakland A’s will always be underrated and underappreciated,” Canha said. “That’s just the nature of the business. We’re a ‘small market’ team. I think people probably expected the White Sox to win the last series.
“Whether we are underrated or not, I feel like we wear that badge as a motivator.”
But at the same time, Oakland players realize the importance of not letting their emotions get the best of them as they prepare for the best-of-five series.
“I’m over those guys,” Manaea said of the Astros. “With all that stuff, I’m just over it. It’s just another team and I’ve just got to go out there and perform.”
Even with the A’s going 7-3 against the Astros in head-to-head matchups this season, they know Houston is not a team to be taken lightly. These Astros have been on the big stage before and know what it takes. So while Oakland has proven to be a better team during the regular season, now is the chance for the A’s to take things a step further by ending Houston’s season, and then perhaps getting that respect.
“I think everybody finds their motivation differently,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “I’m just excited about being here. We’re playing a really good team that has been here a bunch. My focus is on how we can best go about beating them.
“The [sign-stealing] issues happened a while ago. I don’t know that they’re prevalent at this point. Maybe certain guys get motivated by that. I think we’re just motivated that we got through the first round and have an opportunity to move forward again.”