Mike Fiers provided one of the biggest boosts of the second half to help the A’s reach the playoffs, but come Wednesday night, he’ll have no part in the AL wild-card game.
Following the team’s workout at Yankee Stadium Tuesday afternoon, Fiers revealed he was left off the wild-card roster the A’s will assemble for Wednesday night against the Yankees.
The decision is a bit of a shock, considering Fiers was a leading candidate to enter the game following Liam Hendriks, who was named the opener for the one-game playoff. But after the A’s tried inserting Fiers in the second inning of Friday night’s loss in Anaheim, the experiment backfired as Fiers was touched up for five runs in his first two innings of work. Even with a record of 12-8 with a 3.56 ERA over 31 games combined with Detroit and Oakland in the regular season, including going 5-2 with a 3.74 ERA in 10 games with the A’s, there was no spot for the right-hander.
Instead Fiers said he was told the club will likely try a full-on bullpenning game, with Edwin Jackson available if needed as the only actual starter on the roster.
“It is what it is. Just gotta win the game,” said Fiers, who was obviously disappointed to be left off the roster. “It’s the organization’s way of winning games. If they feel that’s the best way to win games, that’s the way you gotta do it. Especially in a one-game playoff. There is no tomorrow if we don’t win.”
The competitor in Fiers was upset, but the rationalizer in him understands the move. The A’s bullpen finished the regular season with a 3.37 ERA, second-best in the AL.
Having made it this far with the bullpen as the backbone of the team, the A’s seem to be sending a clear message — you live by the bullpen, you die by the bullpen.
“You want to pitch in big games. Everyone wants to be a part of it and have their hand on it and help their team move on,” Fiers said. “But the way the bullpen is, you gotta go with those guys. They’ve carried this team all year.”