NEW YORK – The New York Yankees are hosting the American League Wild Card Game for the second straight season and are looking for the same success they enjoyed in 2017, when a win over the Minnesota Twins helped give them enough momentum to advance all the way to Game 7 of the ALCS. The Yankees will see a different opponent in 2018 as the 97-win Oakland Athletics visit Wednesday.
TV: 8:08 p.m. ET, TBS
New York won 100 games and set a record for most home runs during the regular season (267) despite being without slugger Aaron Judge for 50 games, but knows none of that matters now.
"I view that pressure as a privilege, and we'll all embrace that and look to apply that to our opponent," Yankees manager Aaron Boone told reporters of the one-game playoff. "Yeah, we've had a great season to this point, but that's now behind us, and the real season starts now. Our guys will be ready, and I look forward to watching them go out and do their thing (Wednesday) night."
The Athletics will eschew a traditional starter against that powerful New York lineup and will instead turn the game over to the bullpen, with Liam Hendricks serving as "opener" opposite Yankees ace Luis Severino.
"Part of potentially doing it this way is you're going to have to make some adjustments on the fly," Oakland manager Bob Melvin told reporters. "You can look at it and draw it out how you think it's going to go. Very rarely does it go exactly the way you think."
PITCHING MATCHUP: Athletics RH Liam Hendricks (0-1, 4.13 ERA) vs. Yankees RH Luis Severino (19-8, 3.39)
Hendricks made eight of his 25 appearances as a starter and posted a 2.08 ERA in that role over a total of 8 2/3 innings.
"Same as any other game," Hendricks told reporters. "I'm taking it the same way, warming up the same as I do, trying to keep it as much as a relief appearance as I can. All it means is I'm relieving in the first inning."
Oakland will carry 11 pitchers for the game and is considering using All-Star closer Blake Treinen (9-2, 0.78 ERA, 38 saves) for multiple innings.
Severino is getting a chance to start the wild card game for a second straight season and is hoping for a better showing than 2017, when he served up a pair of home runs and was charged with three runs on four hits in one-third of an inning.
"It means that they trust me," Severino told reporters. "They know that I can be good, that I can be better. I mean, you guys know me; I can have trouble, and the next start I can be good. If something bad happens, it happens at that time, I just get over it and keep working and get better."
Severino was ripped for six runs (five earned) on six hits and a walk in 2 2/3 innings at Oakland on Sept. 5.
1. Yankees 1B Luke Voit finished the regular season strong and was named the AL player of the week after hitting .458 with three homers and eight RBIs in his last six games.
2. Athletics DH Khris Davis led the majors with 48 home runs while batting .247 for the fourth consecutive season.
3. Oakland, which went 3-3 against New York during the regular season, is in the playoffs for the first time since losing the wild card game 9-8 in 12 innings to the Kansas City Royals in 2014.
PREDICTION: Athletics 4, Yankees 3