LOS ANGELES (CBS SF/AP) — Oakland closer Liam Hendriks pretty much summed it all up in one sentence as the A’s head into the American League Division Series against the Houston Astros on Monday.
“Obviously, as a vindictive kind of thing, we want to take out the Astros,” he said.
The A’s finally have found some success in the post season after years of early exits. It will be their appearance in the ALDS since they were blitzed by the Detroit Tigers in 2013.
Their opening game hopes will be resting on 31-year-old Chris Bassitt, who put in a stellar performance in Game 2 of the Athletics’ Wild Card Series victory over the White Sox.
Meanwhile, thanks to this COVID season, the games will not be taking place in either Oakland or Houston. They will be in Los Angeles where Josh Reddick and the rest of the Astros heard the “cheaters” chants and banging on garbage cans as the team’s buses pulled into Dodger Stadium for a series last month.
They were greeted by Dodgers fans still angry that the Astros illicitly stole signs during the 2017 World Series, when Houston won in seven games and celebrated on the Dodgers’ field.
“I was kind of disappointed there wasn’t enough out there,” Reddick said. “I know I’m stirring that pot.”
And stir the pot he did.
“All the Dodgers fans that probably still hold that grudge are going to be out here voicing their opinion,” Reddick said. “It’s all about silencing the haters, that’s what all this year was about. The trash talk seems to be a little bit more running, and I love it.”
Just like the shortened 60-game regular season, no fans will be inside Dodger Stadium for the best-of-five ALDS. The coronavirus pandemic largely has protected the Astros from having public scorn heaped on them this season.
Oakland A’s Mike Fiers rocked baseball when he revealed his old team’s scheme to The Athletic last year, saying the Astros used a camera in center field to steal signs and then banged on a trash can to let their hitters know which pitch the opposing catcher had signaled.
In a potentially awkward situation, Fiers could face the Astros if he takes the mound for Oakland. He hasn’t been particularly effective this season, and didn’t start against them when the A’s took seven of 10 games from the Astros this season.
“We never did anything in our rotation to make him miss the Astros,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said.
Fiers started the deciding Game 3 of the wild card series against Minnesota, but lasted just 12/3 innings.
If Fiers is the opposing pitcher, Reddick says, it’s about the game.
“Whoever is out there, you try to treat it the same and don’t let your emotions get the best of you,” he said. “The best way we can control our emotions is going out there and beating him and beating that team as well.”
Here’s the schedule:
Oakland vs. Houston
- Monday, Oct. 5: Houston (Greinke 3-3) vs. Oakland, 1:07 p.m. PST
- Tuesday, Oct. 6: Houston (Urquidy 1-1) vs. Oakland
- Wednesday, Oct. 7: Oakland vs. Houston
- x-Thursday, Oct. 8: Oakland vs. Houston
- x-Friday, Oct. 9: Houston vs. Oakland