You can tell what Major League Baseball thinks about the Oakland A’s by the fact that the A’s were assigned the worst starting time – three straight noon games – in the wild card playoffs followed by an American League Division Series against the Houston Astros in which the times aren’t much better.
The best-of five series starts Monday with a 1:07 p.m. game, with a 1:35 p.m. game Tuesday and a 12:35 p.m. game start on Wednesday. Should the series get extended, games Thursday and Friday would be at 12:35 as well.
Baseball and the ALDS broadcaster, TBS, will be putting the Yankees and the Rays in primetime for the duration. If that’s less of an issue in the ALDS over the wild card, it’s because now all the AL playoff games are being played in Southern California, which means a bunch of 4-5 p.m.-ish starts for the Yankees and the Rays, and bad sun angles that will inundate San Diego’s Petco Park at that time, making for a less-than-optimum playing experience.
Oakland outfielder/designated hitter Mark Canha says the A’s, while not happy about the seemingly endless series of day games, understand that’s part of the price of doing business while wearing green-and-gold.
“The Oakland A’s will always be underrated and underappreciated,” Canha said Monday. “That’s just the nature of the business. I think we’re a “small market” team, and I think people probably expected the White Sox to win the last series.”
Of course, part of the business is having to do an 8 a.m. zoom call where the question about the A’s being underrated were posed.
“It’s something, whether we are underrated or not underrated amongst whoever’s opinion that may be,” Canha said. “I feel like we kind of wear that as a badge, as a motivator.”
As for the early starts themselves, Canha says he’s taking them as an advantage because the A’s as a team play lots of day games in the Oakland Coliseum, so they are day-game savvy even if the site of the game has shifted south to Dodger Stadium.
“We’re kind of used to it now,” Canha said. “Luckily, we’ve had all our wild card series game early, so I’m at the point now where I’m waking up at 7 a.m. automatically, even yesterday when I didn’t have to be up early.
“It’s a normal day game scheduled, we play a lot of day games, and it’s kind of something that we’re used to. At this point, rise to the occasion whenever that may be.”
The A’s have felt underrated in the American League West the last couple of seasons despite back-to-back 97-win seasons in 2018 and 2019 because the Astros were winning 100-plus. The A’s turned the tables in this pandemic-shortened season with a 36-24 record in the 60-game season that included winning seven of 10 against the 29-31 Astros.
“We know the Astros well, obviously” Canha said. “You kind of have to know what you have to do to beat them, and there’s a confidence behind that. There’s less the element of surprise and more of the element of just, we have to go out there and execute. That’s what this series will be about.”
Follow Athletics insider John Hickey on Twitter: @JHickey3
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