Who’s Got More Swag? AL Wild Card Rays @ A’s

Before I head off to the House that Al Davis Built Renovated, here’s the breakdown in tonight’s death match.  This game has the makings of a classic.

Pitching

Rays

Don’t let anyone tell you the Rays don’t have starting pitching.  On the contrary, they have the hardest throwing starting pitchers in the game.  Charlie Morton pumps 95+ with a cartoonish curveball, assuming the Ace role as Blake Snell has battled back from injury.  Morton’s post-30 renaissance is most definitely a certain type of swag.  Since joining the Astros in 2017 at age 33, Morton has gone 45-16 with a 3.24.

In the pen, Emilio Pagán, a former Athletic who came over in the 3-team Profar trade, rose from AAA in April to strikeout 96 Big Leaguers in 70 innings and earn the Rays’ Closer role.  Not a bad call-up for Kevin Cash, who squeezed the best ERA in the American League out of a staff that had ONE guy making over $600K (Morton at $15 Million).

A former Pittsburgh Pirate like Morton, the 6’8″ Tyler Glasnow might be poised to explode into the national conversation in the 2019 Postseason.

 

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Even nastier in this uni.

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He throws 100, wears fun socks and knickers, and hasn’t really been touched in 2019.  The Rays staff is stacked.  AL playoff hitters probably wouldn’t mind seeing them bounced in the Wild Card.

A’s

WPW follower Sean Manaea gets the Wild Card start, rocking one of the most bad-ass and intricate arm sleeves in The Show.

 

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From playing Little League in jeans to starting in the Postseason. @seanmanaea’s come a long way 😂 #BASHletics

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Manaea spent most of the season recuperating from an injury and growing out a formidable ‘fro/perm situation.  Its incredible that all of that business can fit in a hat.

Manaea, who no-hit the eventual World Champion Red Sox last year, has a humble swag that inspires confidence.

Speaking of no-hitters, Mike Fiers was one of two pitchers to complete one this year, back in May vs. the Reds.  It was Fiers’ second of his career, putting him among the 35 pitchers who have ever thrown multiple no-no’s.

 

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We’d like to interrupt your Saturday evening to bring you some important news:

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Fiers also did this.  You may not be feeling the look of a “G” ‘stache, but you cannot deny that there’s a certain level of confidence you have to take out there with you if you are rocking this in front of thousands of people.

Yusmeiro Petit deserves mention for his green glove which we could not identify (please comment), and the fact that the dude is an absolute workhorse out of the pen.

Closer Liam Hendricks might have been the league’s best reliever in 2019, striking out an absurd 124 batters in 85 innings pitched.  He’s the pride of Australian baseball at the moment; and everybody knows that the Aussie accent is swaggy.

This is a tough one, because both of these staffs are so strong.

Advantage: Draw

Catcher

Rays

 

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Go down, and get it!

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Travis d’Arnaud has hit himself into this lineup after being released by the Mets, and while his numbers are solid, his Nike gear is just “meh.”

A’s

Sean Murphy got the call in September and got hot right away, and he’ll likely get the start over Phegley in the game of his life.

 

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Magnificent Manaea. #RootedInOakland

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Murphy’s defense is strong, and his all-green Rawlings Yadi chest protector is stronger.  We found one set of Yadi gear on the web, and that’s via SidelineSwap, used.

Advantage: A’s

First Base

Rays

Yandy Diaz gets the start at 1B for the Wild Card, and he’ll lead off for the Rays.  Diaz, at 6’2, 215, is not your typical leadoff guy.  He’s got broken bat home run power, and if he can avoid becoming a defensive liability, he’ll be dangerous for the Rays.

Yandy will be backed up by Ji-Man Choi, who wears a first base mitt from the same company that makes Eric Thames elbow guard, Nine Sports (we think its called that).

 

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Looked up “swag” in the dictionary. This is it.

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Choi has that “Hefty Lefty” Swag.  Look for him in a big pinch-hit spot late in the game.

A’s

Since Matt Olson returned to the A’s lineup on May 7, they A’s have gone 82-43.  He is arguably the best all-around first baseman in the American League, with one of the sweetest swings.

Olson has a knack for big hits, and while the beginning of his swing is a little funky, the finish evokes Ted Williams.  When he knows he got it, he enjoys the view, takes a few steps, and drops the bat softly—no flip necessary.  The all-white Harper 3s ($90 at Baseball Express) are the perfect compliment to Olson’s game.

Olson is equally excellent in the field, already having gone Gold in just his first full season (2018).

Olson’s Rawlings PROSDCT (available via Rawlings.com for $460) is an instant classic.  With respect to Ji-Man Choi’s jolly swag, this one is a clear-cut choice for Oakland.

Advantage: A’s

Second Base

Rays

One of the truly great elements of baseball is that you can line up 25 Aaron Judge’s and 25 Jose Altuve’s and you’d have no idea who was going to win.  Looks can be deceiving.

Brandon Lowe looks like the bat boy.  The bat boy can ball.  Lowe and his Marucci Los15 (available as a CB15 at BBX for $120-$150) have accumulated seventeen bombs in 82 games and an All-Star appearance.

Edit: Michael Brosseau is starting at 2B.  We have no idea if he’s got swag, so, uh…

A’s

Jurickson Profar may not get the nod over Sheldon Neuse for the Wild Card, but if it was a swag-only decision, he’d be a lock.

Jurickson wore a one-of-a-kind Belgard glove to start the year, eventually switching back to Wilson (another beauty).

Profar’s yellow Belgard elbow and leg guards added to the flair on “Green Fridays.”  The A’s will be rocking these jerseys tonight, too.

Profar’s Adidas Afterburner 5s (Baseball Express for $25-$80) were the final detail that really made Profar one of the best dressed on the field every night.  If he starts, he gives the A’s the swag advantage at 2B.

Advantage: A’s

Third Base

Rays

Matt Duffy isn’t really going to fare well in this matchup.

A’s

Matt Chapman catches everything in his area code, hits clutch homers seemingly on a nightly basis, and looks like a Greek God.

The Nike’s are fire, whether in green and yellow…

…or classic A’s white.  Jungle cat stance for days.

Chapman’s game model Wilson A2K MC26 (available at Wilson.com for $360), which he has not yet gamed, is already a fan fave.  Chapman is a cold-blooded killer on the diamond.

Advantage: A’s

Shortstop

Rays

Willy Adames, even before he got to the Big Leagues, has had plus swag.

We noticed this back when he was in the 2016 Futures Game where he stood out among the likes of Andrew Benintendi, Gary Sanchez, Dansby Swanson and Yoan Moncada among others.

Adames’ Rawlings stupidly swaggy glove incorporates Hypershell materials, which cannot be duplicated.  The most similar option on Rawlings.com is this PRO-204 with Hypershell back at $260.

A’s

Marcus Semien has Hard Hat/Lunch Pail Swag that doesn’t often show up on the WPW pages, but it plays… every single day.

Semien is a legitimate MVP candidate for the A’s, clocking in for every single A’s game this year, racking up 33 bombs (tied with Xander Bogaerts for most among AL SS’s), 92 RBI (2nd to Bogey), and 123 runs scored (first) from the shortstop position.

While Semien is a formidable adversary, Adames’ glove game is too strong to overcome in this matchup.  Rays in a photo finish.

Advantage: Rays

Left Field

Rays

 

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Finished strong. 💪

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When you’re coming into October after a September in which you slugged .744, you’re probably feeling pretty good about yourself.  Austin Meadows brings that AL Player of the Month Swag into his first playoff game.

Meadows frequently rocks the Harper 3s like Matt Olson, still one of our favorite cleats out there.

A’s

The A’s have run out a committee in left, recently mixing Jurickson Profar in, while Robbie Grossman has gotten the majority of the time out there.  No matter who it is, we’re going with Meadows.

Advantage: Rays

Center Field

Rays

The center field position is a showdown of epic defensive proportions.

Kiermaier is a WPW legend who has starred several times on our YouTube channel:

He’s a “balls-to-the-wall” player, our favorite kind, and his Platinum Rawlings PRO303 is impossibly sexy.  While Kiermaier does not match up well vs. Manaea, he gets the start in center because he is THAT GOOD in the field.

A’s

Then there’s “The Laser,” Ramon Laureano.

When your nickname is “Laser,” that immediately puts you in an elite category of swag.  Its just too good of a nickname, and its well-earned.

The 16th rounder from Northeast Oklahoma A&M can beat you FROM ANYWHERE ON THE FIELD.

We all know this.

He has LOUD POP.  Is a ferocious competitor.  Holds grudges.  HARDEST 90 IN THE SHOW.  Literally my favorite player.

And then he walks up with the flashiest BG’s in the game, an exclusive pair of the Easton Walk-Off ($25 on Baseball Express).

Interestingly, he started with Trout 5s, then must have picked up a deal with adidas (see above) because he later wore adiZeros ($100-$120).

No matter.  This is actually an easier decision than I had expected.

Note: Melvin is starting Laureano in right field, and Canha in center.  To me, this seems like an obvious health precaution for Laureano who would literally run straight through a brick wall to make a play.

Advantage: A’s

Right Field

Rays

Avisail Garcia is a formidable presence at the plate.  Not much experience watching this guy hit but he’s not far removed from a .330 season.  Could be a factor.

A’s

Bat Flippin’ Mark Canha isn’t sorry.

The guy has raked all year despite having the worst walk up song in baseball.  (Madonna – Vogue)  (G-Form Leg Guard, which Jake of WPW loves)

He and Machado both wore this elbow guard for Players’ Weekend.  G-Form has picked up some players in the Big Leagues due to their protective products.

Advantage: A’s

DH

Rays

Tommy Pham, WPW follower, gets it.

 

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Players Weekend cleats with a tribute to @nipseyhussle #ripnipseyhussle @stadiumcustomkicks @mikejordan_artist #playersweekend

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These Nipsey Hussles were fire for Players Weekend.

A’s

Then again, when Krush is Krushing, he’s on another planet of swag.

He broke these out for Players Weekend and then walked up to a remix of the Super Mario theme, which I tried (in vain) to Shazaam.  That was when this was decided.

Advantage: A’s

Final: A’s 7, Rays 2

The swag is on Oakland’s side, but this game will be an absolute dogfight.

One comment

  1. Yusmeiro has a vudu glove they have an Instagram @vudu_proglov3s

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