It was always going to lead to this.
After an offseason that saw A's starter Mike Fiers rightfully blow the whistle on the Houston Astros' 2017 sign-stealing scandal, the A's and Astros now will meet in the American League Division Series with the right to go to the ALCS on the line.
But despite the obvious plot lines, the Astros claim they aren't focusing on getting vengeance on Fiers and the A's.
Dusty Baker asked what he thinks his players feel about facing Mike Fiers: “Nobody’s mentioned his name. I haven’t heard Mike Fiers name all year..It’s like he’s not even present.” #Astros pic.twitter.com/gGPGQF0WD3— Mark Berman (@MarkBermanFox26) October 2, 2020
"Nobody has mentioned his name," Astros manager Dusty Baker told reporters on a video conference call Friday. "I haven’t heard Mike Fiers’ name all year until you just said it right now, you know what I mean?
"It’s like he’s not even present."
Fiers was on the 2017 Astros team that used an elaborate sign-stealing scandal to win the World Series. After being a division rival for two seasons, Fiers felt compelled to come forward and open up about how the Astros were so successful that season.
The revelation led to a war of words between the Astros and basically everyone else in baseball. Both the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers have been itching to face the Astros in the postseason, as both believe Houston cheated them out of a title or title-opportunity in the Yankees' case.
There remains a chance the Astros could face the Yankees in the ALCS and the Dodgers in the World Series, but first, they will have to face the A's and the man who torched their reputations.
The A's and Astros faced 10 times this season, but Fiers wasn't on the mound in any of those games. While the A's likely will open the ALDS in Los Angeles with Chris Bassitt and Jesús Luzardo in Games 1 and 2. With no off days during the five-game series, Fiers could take the mound in Game 3, 4 or 5.
It's hard to believe the Astros haven't had Fiers and the A's on their mind, along with the rest of their critics. Following their Wild Card Series win over the Minnesota Twins, Astros shortstop Carlos Correa took a shot at those who have been coming at the Astros, who finished the season with a 29-31 record and only made the postseason due to the expanded playoffs in a shortened season.
"I know a lot of people are mad," Correa told reporters Wednesday. "I know a lot of people don't want to see us here. But what are they going to say now?"
Well, Carlos, they are probably still going to say you cheated your way to a title, only got into the playoffs due to unique circumstances and eliminated a team that's allergic to playoff success. Just spitballing, though.
One thing's for sure though -- A's vs. Astros is going to be a lot of fun.