This article is part of our FanDuel MLB series.
The Rays and Athletics will face off in the AL Wild Card game Wednesday at 8:09 PM Eastern time. Read on to see which hitters are primed to help their team advance through this one-game slate.
The Athletics are expected to mix and match with their deep bullpen and have starter Sean Manaea on a short leash. Despite displaying lower velocity on his fastball after returning from a shoulder injury, Manaea pitched to a sparkling 1.21 ERA in 29.2 innings over five starts. His peripherals (3.42 FIP, 3.98 xFIP) tell a different story, so expect manager Bob Melvin to fire up the bullpen at the first sign of trouble. That likely won't be the case for the opposing righty.
The Rays will counter with Charlie Morton, who could prove to be a tough matchup for a righty-heavy A's lineup after limiting batters from that side to a .247 wOBA this season. He has plenty of big-game experience, having pitched in a pair of Game 7 wins during Houston's 2017 World Series run, and was arguably the third-best pitcher in the AL during the regular season behind Astros duo Gerrit Cole and Justin Verlander. Morton posted a sparkling 3.05 ERA, 2.81 FIP and 30.4 percent strikeout rate overall, including 13.1 innings of six-hit, one-run ball in two meetings with Oakland.
When it came to lefty/righty and home/road splits this season, Morton had one glaring weakness — left-handed batters produced a .345 wOBA against him on the road while the other three permutations of batter orientation and venue all yielded no higher than a .252 mark. Matt Olson ($8,500) is Oakland's most potent slugger from the left side and should earn serious consideration for your MVP slot after posting a .391 wOBA against righties this season, especially if you fancy Oakland's chances of ultimately pulling this one out at home. Fellow left-handed hitter Seth Brown ($4,000) should be a near lock for your lineup if he starts given his affordability and .379 wOBA against righties over a 61 at-bat sample. Switch-hitting Jurickson Profar ($5,000) prefers to bat from the right side but could be worth a look given his platoon advantage and Morton's splits.
On the Rays side, Yandy Diaz ($7,000) was just activated off the 60-day DL and is likely to occupy the leadoff spot against a left-handed starter after posting a .402 wOBA against southpaws. Travis d'Arnaud ($4,500) hits in the heart of the order and had a respectable .362 wOBA against lefties. Willy Adames ($5,500) hits near the bottom of the order but finished strong with an .871 OBP after July 26.
If Robbie Grossman's over his recent shoulder injury, the switch-hitter could be worth a look at his $4,000 valuation simply due to always having the platoon advantage. Khris Davis ($6,500) only hit 23 home runs this season after three consecutive campaigns with at least 42, but his power upside is hard to ignore and he's the only Oakland hitter with multiple career home runs off Morton (Olson and Profar each have one).
Even with a left-handed starter on the mound for the hosts, don't hesitate to roll with Austin Meadows ($9,500) if you have the cap space, as the left-handed slugger is unlikely to face Manaea more than twice and produced a .395 wOBA on the road this season. The deep Rays could answer some of Oakland's mixing and matching by employing some pinch hitters throughout the game, but Meadows isn't a candidate to be pinch-hit for. Given his lofty valuation, Meadows should be used in your MVP or All-Star slot if you lock him in.