Five things to know about Oakland A's

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • Oakland Athletics third baseman Jake Lamb fields a ground ball during a baseball workout in Oakland, Calif., Monday, Sept. 28, 2020. The Athletics are scheduled to play the Chicago White Sox in an American League wild-card playoff series starting Tuesday.

    Oakland Athletics third baseman Jake Lamb fields a ground ball during a baseball workout in Oakland, Calif., Monday, Sept. 28, 2020. The Athletics are scheduled to play the Chicago White Sox in an American League wild-card playoff series starting Tuesday. Associated Press

 
 
Updated 9/28/2020 6:30 PM

Playing a schedule against teams from the AL and NL Central during the regular season due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, the White Sox are heading out to the West Coast for the opening round of the playoffs.

They draw the Athletics at Oakland. Here are five things to know about the A's:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Boffo bullpen:

Oakland's relief pitchers led the major leagues with a 2.74 ERA, but that number is a little deceiving.

The A's bullpen was 10-2 with a 1.87 ERA over the first 34 games of the season and 4-3 with a 4.30 ERA over the last 26.

It's still a solid group, headed by closer Liam Hendricks (3-1, 1.78 ERA, 14 saves).

Shaky offense:

While the Sox finished first in the AL with 96 home runs and second with a .261 batting average and 306 runs scored, Oakland ranked 14th with a .225 average, tied for eighth with 274 runs and ninth with 71 homers.

Chicago ties:

The Athletics have several players that used to be with the White Sox.

Star shortstop Marcus Semien and Chris Bassitt, who starts Game 2, were acquired from the Sox in a trade for Jeff Samardzija after the 2014 season.

Frankie Montas pitched for the Sox in 2015 and reliever J.B. Wendelken was a minor-leaguer from 2013-15. Another bullpen arm, Joakim Soria, was with the White Sox in 2018.

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Infielder Tommy La Stella played for the Cubs from 2015-18 and second baseman Tony Kemp was with the Cubs last year.

Key loss:

The A's are playing without star third baseman Matt Chapman, who had 10 home runs and 25 RBI before having season-ending hip surgery two weeks ago.

First baseman Matt Olson leads Oakland with 14 homers and 42 RBI.

Postseason blues:

The Athletics are in the playoffs for the sixth time in nine years, but they've been far from successful.

Oakland has been eliminated in the first round five straight times, the last three in the wild-card game.

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