Opinion

National pundits weigh in with pick for American League Wild Card Game winner

Oakland Athletics third baseman Josh Donaldson took a high throw as the Royals’ Josh Willingham advanced to third on a throwing error in a game on Aug. 13.
Oakland Athletics third baseman Josh Donaldson took a high throw as the Royals’ Josh Willingham advanced to third on a throwing error in a game on Aug. 13. The Kansas City Star

I asked various baseball writers and broadcasters for their picks for Tuesday’s Wild Card Game at Kauffman Stadium.

Paul Hagen, Philadelphia Daily News: This is practically a coin flip, but I’ll take the Royals for two reasons: They get the last at bat. And the pressure is on Oakland given their second-half woes and recent lack of postseason success.

Al Leiter, MLB.com: I just get some feeling that a couple runs early, Shields is going to go goose egg for goose egg with Lester and if it gets to the bullpen, I believe in that bullpen. So I look for KC to be moving on.

Bob Nightengale, USA Today: Royals 2, Athletics 1 (11 innings)

Buster Olney, ESPN: I picked Oakland (because of) Lester’s experience.

Jeff Passan, Yahoo Sports: A’s 1, Royals 0: With two evenly matched teams, the difference will be who blinks first. Problem for the Royals is Jon Lester doesn’t blink.

John Perrotto, USA Today: Royals 2, Athletics 1. Big Game James makes the trade all worthwhile and the home fans get to see the Royals win.

Tracy Ringolsby, MLB.com: There is a reason he is known as Big Game James. Enough said.

John Shea, San Francisco Chronicle: The A’s are beaten down, lacking momentum, embarrassed about their epic fall, but, man, they’ve got a lot of making up to do, and that might all play out against the Royals. Lester’s the difference-maker, and all signs have the A’s pulling it out.

Jayson Stark, ESPN: I’m picking Oakland. I’m dying to pick the Royals. Just can’t bet against Lester in a game like this.

The writers at Fox Sports made their predictions and Jon Morosi is the only one to pick the Royals to win. Ken Rosenthal, Rob Neyer, Gabe Kapler and C.J. Nitkowski all picked the A’s to win.

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