October Confidential: A's

Rival players offer inside look at facing the AL Wild Card winners

October Confidential: A's

How do you beat the Athletics? MLB.com asked rival players from around Major League baseball to offer an inside look at how best to face the AL Wild Card winners.

Sonny Gray
"Throws hard. If you get to two strikes, it's really tough because he's got that power breaking ball, and it's hard lay off with two strikes."
-- AL West third baseman

"Whenever I've faced him, he's always tough to pick up. He hides the ball well. He kind of slings it late and throws it pretty hard, so it gets on you. When he's got that big curveball, he's pretty good. He's mainly a two-pitch guy, so if he doesn't have one of those working that day it might be a little easier to hit him."
-- AL West outfielder

  Date   Result Highlights
  Sept. 30   KC 9, OAK 8 video

"He's another kind of power-arm guy. He's got pretty good velocity with some good movement on his fastball. His sharp breaking ball is his go-to pitch when he's ahead. He throws it pretty hard and gets a real sharp break out of it. It seems like it keeps breaking, so even when guys think they give it up enough when they can put the bat on the ball, it's got an extra few inches of depth that most guys don't get on their breaking ball."
-- AL West catcher

Jeff Samardzija
"Throws hard. Has a great two-seamer and can reach back throw 97 mph whenever he wants, and he has a good slider and a good split. He's the definition of a power pitcher."
-- AL West third baseman

"He's got 95 mph, and it has sink. He can throw 93 with a cutter, and throwing two on opposite ends of the spectrum are tough in itself. And he's got a good splitter to lefties and a good slider to righties. He's very tough to hit when he's on."
-- AL West outfielder

"He's a power guy. He'll come at you with his fastball pretty aggressively. His cutter that he's developed is a pretty good pitch for him that complements his sinker really well, because they go in opposite directions but look pretty similar coming out of his hand. His split has really developed into a real plus swing-and-miss pitch for him, so he really relies on that late movement of his cutter and his splitter to get weak contact."
-- AL West catcher

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Scott Kazmir
"Everything out of his hand is the same: slider, changeup, fastball, cutter. It's hard to pick up spin on the ball and everything looks the same. He can work in and out and has a good slider to righties back foot and a good changeup."
-- AL West third baseman

"He's tough. He's got plus velocity and a plus breaking ball. His arm slot doesn't make an easy guy to pick up very well also. He's got those things going for him that make him difficult to be consistent."
-- AL West catcher

Sean Doolittle
"You almost know it's coming every time, that fastball. He throws it up in the zone and it's really hard to square up. So just kind of keep it right in line and it's hard to barrel the ball up against him."
-- AL West third baseman

"You pretty much know what you're going to get. He's not afraid to come at you with all fastballs. He's a higher arm slot guy, too, so he pitches effectively up in the zone, which makes it difficult with his plus velocity."
-- AL West catcher

Josh Donaldson
"The one thing I've noticed with him is that against lefties he tends to dive over the plate, because he expects guys to flip breaking balls and changeups away. You can't be afraid to throw hard and in on him if you're a lefty. I know that's his hot zone, but against different-side pitchers, he's expecting off-speed away and sometimes gets jammed with a good fastball inside. If you can show him off-speed pitches away, kind of like a show-me pitch, and then come back in, you can get him out. But you can't miss your spot. If you don't get far enough inside, he can really hurt you."
-- AL West pitcher 1

"Donaldson is a really good all-around hitter, has a great approach. He's also a good out-over-the-plate -- like Trout -- and down hitter. You could pitch him up all day. Curveballs up, sliders up, fastballs up. Perfect example of a guy who might have a lot of success again him is Chris Young of Seattle. That guy lives -- everything he throws is up, and then he'll spot his slider down and away. Donaldson, you've got to show him in off the plate at least once in an at-bat to keep him honest and keep him from diving out over the plate. Get him to chase up."
-- AL West pitcher 3

Brandon Moss
"Up and in. Can't hit it. I don't want to say that. I don't want to jinx myself, but he's got a pretty slow bat. Are these anonymous? Slowest bat probably in the whole division. But he can crush things if they're out over the plate."
-- AL West pitcher 2

"He has a great downward swing, as well. A lot of these guys do now in the big leagues. I think how I got him out, I had success against him. He was just a steady dose of sliders and curveballs down and away and hard up and away. So he can't get that good follow-through on this swing."
-- AL West pitcher 3

"Moss has probably the best left-handed pop out of all those lefties that you've mentioned. He has a hole down and away for sliders and you can occasionally bust him up and in with the fastball. Throw him a couple fastballs in a row in, and he has the ability to get his hands through and turn on the ball. If you stay away, he has the ability to hit the ball out the other way as well. I know we shift him to pull, but I'm always conscious of him driving the ball the other way. That's high praise for him. He can hit the ball to all fields."
-- AL West pitcher 4