Apparently, finishing in the basement for three straight seasons isn’t all that detrimental.
On Monday night, the Oakland A’s clinched a playoff berth and a likely showdown with the New York Yankees in the wild card game after the Yanks beat the Tampa Bay Rays 4-1. Not only did that loss clinch a spot for the Athletics, but it also officially eliminated the resurgent Rays from contention.
The A’s then went out and beat the Mariners 7-3 after learning news of the Rays’ loss.
The Bronx Bombers are two games ahead of the A’s in the race to host the one-game playoff and if the two teams finish with identical records, the Yankees own the tie-breaker.
The American League’s five playoff teams are settled then, but overall placement in the AL West is also yet to be determined. Houston, which also knows a thing or two about finishing last, leads Oakland by 4.5 games with six games to go on its schedule and trimmed it’s magic number to just two with a 5-3 win over Toronto on Monday.
The A’s improbable run to the playoffs comes with the interesting fact that they are the first team on record (since 1988) to make the post-season with the lowest opening day payroll, which was pegged at $66 million.