Why AL Wild Card Game home-plate ump could be good news for A's vs. Rays


The A's have a daunting task ahead as they face the Tampa Bay Rays in Wednesday's AL Wild Card Game.

For starters, they have to face Charlie Morton who has had a sensational season and has dominated the A's. 

In his two outings against the A's, Mortin's limited the Green and Gold to just a .133 batting average and one run on six hits. Morton also struckout13 of the 45 batters he's faced in those outings. 

Overall, the two-time All-Star notched a 3.05 ERA with 240 strikeouts in 194.2 innings this season.

He'll be facing a lineup that loves to hit home runs, which isn't great news for the A's. Morton has an impressive league-leading 0.7 home runs per nine innings pitched rate.

OK, now that we have all the bad news out of the way, there is some good news for the A's -- and it has to do with who will be behind the plate.

San Francisco Chronicle's Susan Slusser says Chad Fairchild, who will be the home plate umpire, does not appear to favor Morton:

That certainly favors the A's.

We have yet to find out who will get the ball for Oakland, but there is much speculation that Sean Manaea will get the nod. The left-hander has been outstanding since returning from shoulder surgery.

[RELATED: Why A's should start Manaea in AL Wild Card Game]

In September, Manaea has gone 4-0 with a 1.21 ERA and 0.78 WHIP with 30 strikeouts. 

We don't know who starts for the A's, but we can guarantee there will be a strong turnout from A's fans. The Coliseum is expected to host 50,000 fans for the one-game postseason matchup.

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