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26/01/2019 6:07 am  
Mike Fiers has been nothing short of spectacular since the Oakland Athletics acquired him from the Detroit Tigers in a waiver deal Aug. 6.On Sunday http://www.marinersfanproshop.com/authentic-ichiro-suzuki-jersey , the veteran right-hander tries to put a stop to Oakland’s mini-skid when he goes against the Tampa Bay Rays in the finale of a three-game series at Tropicana Field.By losing Saturday night, the A’s dropped their second tight decision in the last three games, which qualifies as a slump for one of the hottest teams in baseball.Article continues below ...They lost to the Rays, another hot team, meaning the series is on the line Sunday. But there’s more — a LOT more — at stake than just the series in this finale.Saturday’s loss kept the A’s from getting back to within a half-game of the losing New York Yankees for home-field advantage in the wild-card game. It also dropped Oakland 3 1/2 games back of the first-place Houston Astros in the American League West.In a game that featured the first matchup of “openers,” or relievers starting games worked by the bullpen Kyle Seager Jersey , Oakland rallied for two runs in the seventh inning to pull into a 4-4 tie but then lost 7-5 – their fourth setback in six games against the Rays this season. Jake Bauers’ three-run homer was the winner.Diego Castillo will again be the “opener” for the Rays on Sunday — after Saturday’s game saw Tampa Bay improve to 27-19 when starting a reliever.The Rays, 19-5 in their last 24 games and 13-3 in their last 16 home games, kept their slight chances of catching the A’s for the second wild card as they are eight games out.Fiers is 5-0 with a 2.72 ERA, has 42 strikeouts in 39 2/3 innings and has the opposition batting .208 against him in seven starts with the Athletics. He is 12-6 with a 3.29 ERA overall on the season, and comes in 1-1 with a 5.11 ERA in four career starts against the Rays.He has a 7.31 ERA in three starts at the Trop and has not worked against Tampa Bay this season.The A’s went to the “opener” because of Trevor Cahill’s back issue and may have to use the new system again Tuesday or Wednesday against the Los Angeles Angels.They rallied to tie and had the bases loaded with one out in the eighth inning before a strike-three call on Marcus Semien kept the score tied. The rally went nowhere and manager Bob Melvin was ejected by umpire Larry Vanover after the inning.“Obviously, I thought it was outside or I wouldn’t have been arguing like I did http://www.marinersfanproshop.com/authentic-nelson-cruz-jersey ,” Melvin said. “It is what it is. … He’s trying to grind through that at-bat (nine pitches) and drive in a run, you get a call that’s not a strike and now you don’t have the advantage where we were.”Bauers snapped a 5-for-63 slump with three hits and four RBIs.Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash talked before the game about the use of the reliever in the first inning and said it has helped Castillo and Ryne Stanek.“I don’t think going into it we put the greatest emphasis on the actual opener,” he said. “I think we’ve learned as the season has kind of evolved that that’s just as important, and it’s helped those guys’ psyche when they get on the mound. And hopefully it helps their psyche when they get on the mound in the seventh, eighth and ninth inning. Ryne and Diego both, they’ve gotten big outs in different roles.”‘The San Francisco Chronicle reported Saturday that the A’s will not be welcomed back in Nashville Carlos Ruiz Jersey , with speculation on a move of their Triple-A club to Las Vegas, soon to also be the home of the Raiders. Las Vegas finished an agreement with the New York Mets this month. A look at what’s happening around the majors today:REVVED-UP RIVALSLuis Severino starts for the Yankees when they host Boston in Game 3 of the AL Division Series. They’re 1-all going into the first playoff game between the teams in the Bronx since the Red Sox finished off a comeback from an 0-3 deficit in the 2004 ALCS at the old Yankee Stadium.Severino was 10-2 with a 2.74 ERA and .217 opponents’ batting average at home, and is coming off four sharp innings against Oakland in the AL wild-card game. Ex-Yankee Nathan Eovaldi starts for Boston — he allowed no earned runs in three of four starts this year vs. New York.ROCK ITThe Astros try to complete an ALDS sweep over Cleveland when Dallas Keuchel starts Game 3 at Progressive Field. The defending World Series champions used dominant pitching by starters Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole to open a 2-0 lead. Indians manager Terry Francona will tweak his lineup against the left-handed Keuchel, adding righty hitters Yandy Diaz and Brandon Guyer. Mike Clevinger pitches for Cleveland.Houston second baseman Jose Altuve says he’s all set to go. He irritated his troublesome right knee when he slipped leaving the batter’s box in Game 2 Saturday.NO BROOMSAfter holding off the Dodgers in a tense ninth inning, the Atlanta Braves aim to even the NLDS in Game 4 at SunTrust Park.Mike Foltynewicz, who gave up four runs and three hits in two innings in a 6-0 loss in the opener http://www.marinersfanproshop.com/authentic-randy-johnson-jersey , will pitch for Atlanta. The Dodgers could start Rich Hill.Los Angeles was denied its second straight sweep in the NLDS, having chased Arizona last year.REST UPAt this rate, the Milwaukee Brewers probably would rather keep playing. But they’ll have to wait a while after sweeping Colorado in the NLDS. The Brew Crew has won 11 in a row — by the time they host Game 1 of the NL Championship Series at Miller Park on Friday against the Dodgers-Braves winner, it will have been nearly three weeks since their last loss.The break will give the Brewers time to rest their deep pitching staff. It also will give fans more time to marvel over the postseason run by Erik Kratz — a 38-year-old journeyman catcher who has been part of 12 different major league organizations, he’s gone 5 for 8 in his first playoff action.

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