|Oakland's Fiers puts hot streak on line vs. Yanks|
Right-hander Mike Fiers will attempt to extend his streak of unbeaten starts to 19 and the host Oakland Athletics will go for a second consecutive win over the New York Yankees when the clubs continue their three-game series Wednesday night.
Veteran Homer Bailey quieted the Yankees' bats in the series opener Tuesday, leading Oakland to a 6-2 win.
While Bailey, acquired at the trade deadline, is hoping to pitch the A's into the postseason and himself into their rotation should the club get there, there's no doubt that Fiers (11-3, 3.46 ERA) would be No. 1 on the team's postseason depth chart.
That wasn't the case last season, when Oakland elected to go with an "opener" -- Liam Hendriks -- at Yankee Stadium in the American League wild-card game instead of Fiers, who had struggled on the road after joining the A's at midseason.
Fiers has once again made his mark mostly on the home field this season, going 5-0 in his past 10 Oakland outings.
Then again, he hasn't lost anywhere since May 1 at Boston. Beginning with his no-hitter against the Cincinnati Reds on May 7, Fiers is 9-0 with a 2.40 ERA in 18 starts.
The 34-year-old veteran is 2-1 with a 5.06 ERA in six career starts against the Yankees.
Left-hander J.A. Happ (10-7, 5.40 ERA) is scheduled to oppose Fiers as the Yankees seek to snap a two-game losing streak.
Happ has alternated losses and wins in his past four outings, but he hasn't won on the road since June 6 at Toronto.
He's had success against the A's, going 4-1 with a 3.47 ERA in 11 games (nine starts), but most of that came at home. He is just 1-1 with a 4.31 ERA in six games (five starts) in Oakland.
While the Tuesday loss didn't impact New York's 10-game lead in the AL East, slugger Aaron Judge said before the contest that the Yankees didn't head west seeking a vacation.
"You know how rowdy (Yankee Stadium) gets in the postseason and how crazy these fans are, and we love it. We feed off of that energy," Judge said. "We've got to keep winning and make sure we keep that home-field advantage for the postseason."
Judge gave family and friends a reward for making the 90-minute drive from his hometown of Linden, Calif., smacking his 13th home run of the season in the eighth inning.
The homer came off Oakland's Joakim Soria when many in attendance had hoped A's manager Bob Melvin would opt for left-hander A.J. Puk, one of the franchise's top prospects who was promoted to the majors for the first time earlier in the day.
Puk saw no action in the game, but Melvin said he wouldn't hesitate debuting him even against a powerful team like the Yankees.
"I'm not afraid to use him in a big spot," Melvin told reporters before the game. "Jake (Diekman) has been doing a nice job for us as that late lefty. A.J. is a guy we're not afraid to put on some righties, too."
--Field Level Media