October Confidential: A's vs. Royals

October Confidential: A's vs. Royals

The Athletics will be in Kansas City to face the Royals in the American Wild Card Game tonight at 8 ET on TBS. The Royals will be looking to win their first postseason game since the 1985 World Series, while the A's are trying to make the kind of extended postseason run that has eluded them during the Billy Beane era.

What's the best way to beat each of these teams? To find out, we asked players from across their respective divisions to give the inside intel on how these clubs can be beaten. Our sources were granted anonymity in exchange for their candor.

KANSAS CITY ROYALS

James Shields

"His best pitch is his changeup. He'll throw that at any time in any count. You know he's going to battle. He's not going to give in or groove one over the plate to you. You have to worry about his cutter, his curveball and his changeup, basically. You just have to get him over the plate and get the ball. If you get that curveball or changeup down, you're going to have a tough time."
-- AL Central infielder

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

Greg Holland

"A lot of guys don't pick up his slider but I see it pretty well. You just have to lay off the slider. If he beats you with it and throws three strikes with it, you just tip your cap. So you try to get a heater. If he throws one over, you gotta on that. Because you're not going to make a living hitting his slider or his splitter."
-- AL Central infielder

Alex Gordon

"If you can get him looking for a breaking ball, you can get a fastball by him. I've done that a few times. He can hit a hanging breaking ball well, and he did off me this year. But he's a guy you can go in and then expand away late. Try to get him to look for a slider and then go with a fastball. If you can get him looking for something, you can get him with another one. And I think people know that."
-- AL Central pitcher

 Read the complete Royals October Confidential » 

OAKLAND A'S

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

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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

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

 Read the complete A's October Confidential »