In a bizarre strategy for this one-and-done game, Oakland started Liam Hendriks, a career middle reliever and occasional spot starter with a career ERA of 4.72 and only 25 innings pitched all year. Almost needless to say, the tough top of the Yankee line-up scored immediately, putting up two runs after their first two batters, courtesy of a monster homer by Aaron Judge.

Oakland started using this strategy in September. Hendriks started eight games in that single month. In the period from September 12th to the 21st, Hendricks started four games in 10 days. The strategy sort of worked. In the last seven of those eight games, pitching exactly one inning each time, Hendricks allowed no earned runs, and only four hits altogether.

In terms of winning, however, the strategy achieved mediocre results. The A’s won just four of the eight games he started.

I suppose all this discussion of Hendricks is really just academic. The A’s scored only two runs, which is unlikely to produce a visiting win at the new Yankee Stadium, which has been a hitters’ paradise. The Yankees average 5.6 runs scored per game at home, so the odds against a visitor beating them with two runs are about 8-1. The reality was even harsher than those theoretical odds. There were eleven times this year when the visiting team scored exactly two runs at Yankee Stadium, and the Yankees won all eleven. In other words, the A’s weren’t going to win with two runs even if Hendricks had struck out the side.