KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Athletics ace Jon Lester will have Geovany Soto behind the plate for the first time when he takes the mound in Tuesday night's AL wild-card game against the Kansas City Royals.
A's manager Bob Melvin opted for Soto at catcher over Derek Norris, who has worked well with Lester down the stretch. The reason was simple: Soto is better at managing runners, and the Royals led the majors with 153 stolen bases.
Brandon Moss was the Athletics' designated hitter, which means Adam Dunn would probably have to pinch hit to appear in his first postseason game.
The Royals went with the lineup they've been using the past few weeks, with speedsters Alcides Escobar, Nori Aoki and Lorenzo Cain at the top of the order.
Meanwhile, Royals manager Ned Yost went with a nine-man pitching staff and Oakland counterpart Bob Melvin opted to keep eight pitchers for their AL wild-card game Tuesday night.
The winner advances to face the Los Angeles Angels in the division series Thursday.
The Royals are sending James Shields to the mound to start their first postseason game in 29 years. He'll be backed by one of the strongest bullpens in baseball, which includes left-hander Brandon Finnegan, the club's first-round pick out of TCU just this year.
The Athletics will start Jon Lester. He'll be backed by an equally stout bullpen and an offense that includes slugger Adam Dunn, making his first postseason appearance after playing 2,001 regular-season games for five clubs over 14 seasons.