Oakland Athletics pitcher Frankie Montas who gets the start against the San Francisco Giants on Fri Aug 14th at Oracle Park in San Francisco works against the Houston Astros in the first inning of a baseball game Saturday, Aug. 8, 2020, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
By Jerry Feitelberg
SAN FRANCISCO–The Oakland A’s and San Francisco Giants are both enjoying a day off on Thursday. The teams will begin Part One of the annual Bay Bridge Series Friday night at Oracle Park. They will play three games in San Francisco and three more in Oakland in September.
The A’s are currently in first place in the AL West with a record of 13-6. The Giants are in last place in the NL West with a record of 8-12. The Giants would love nothing better than to upset the A’s applecart this weekend.
Let’s take a look at the starting pitchers. Friday night’s game will feature the A’s Frankie Montas going against the Giants’ Johnny Cueto. Montas, named the American League’s Player of the Week, won his last two starts and struck out fourteen over fourteen innings of work. Overall, he is 2-1 with an ERA of 1.57.
The Giants’ Cueto pitched against the Los Angeles Dodgers last week. He had a no-hitter going into the sixth inning. He lost it when veteran outfielder Hunter Pence misplayed a fly ball that fell for a hit. Cueto is 1-0 and has an ERA of 2.57 against Oakland.
On Saturday, rookie left-hander, Jesus Luzardo, pitches for the Green and Gold. Luzardo won his first Major League game last week over the Houston Astros. He went five and 2/3rds innings and allowed just two runs.
The Giants will start Kevin Gausman. Gausman, a former Baltimore Oriole, went six and 1/3rd innings and allowed one run facing the Dodgers last week. Gausman is 1-2 with a 2.77 ERA in four starts against the A’s.
Sean Manaea will go for Oakland on Sunday. Manaea has not had a great start to the season. He has yet to go five complete innings. In his last start against the LA Angels on Monday, he was unable to make it out of the third innings.
The A’s are hoping that Manaea can get back on track. The Giants will send righty Logan Webb to the hill to face Oakland. Webb is 1-1, and his ERA is 2.71. Against Houston, Webb went three and 1/3rd innings and gave up five runs, and two were unearned. In his only start against the A’s in 2019, Webb went four and 2/3rds innings and allowed four runs.
The A’s, winners of 97 games in 2018 and 2019, are optimistic about making the playoffs again in 2020. They have a strong starting rotation, excellent bullpen, and a roster full of versatile position players.
Shortstop Marcus Semien leads the a’s offense, third baseman Matt Chapman, first baseman Matt Olson, centerfielder Ramon Laureano, right fielder Stephen Piscotty, and left fielder Mark Canha add potent bats to the A’s cause.
The A’s are also solid on defense. Laureano made three sensational plays in Wednesday’s game against the Angels. Chapman is a Platinum Glove winner, and Matt Olson has two Gold Gloves, and Marcus Semien nearly won one last year.
The Giants are a team that is rebuilding. They have a new manager, Gabe Kapler. Andrew Bailey, the former A’s closer, is the pitching coach. Ron Wotus remains at third base for San Francisco.
The Giants will feature several familiar faces in the lineup. Brandon Crawford will be at shortstop. Brandon Belt at first and Evan Longoria will be at third. These three have not hit well to start the season. Crawford is at .208, Belt at .135, and Longo at .213. Second baseman Donovan Solano, who is day-to-day, leads the team with a batting average of .458. He has one home run and 15 RBIs to his credit.
The Giants will play Mike Yasztremski in center, Alex Dickerson in right, and Austin Slater in left. Yaz is hitting .314 with four home runs, twelve RBIs, and an OPS of 1.077. Dickerson stats are .271 BA, two Homers, and 5 RBI. Slater, also day-to-day with a sore right elbow, is hitting .342 with three dingers and four ribbies.
His OPS is 1.076. Pablo Sandoval or Hunter Pence may see time as the designated hitter. Pence can also play in the outfield if needed. Hunter, who had a bounce-back year with Texas in 2019, has had a rough start. Wilmer Flores, the ex-Met, can fill in at third or first base, if necessary.
The following players man the Giants’ bullpen. The Giants will use Trevor Gott as the closer. Shaun Anderson, sidewinder Tyler Rogers, Jarlin Garcia, Caleb Baragar, Sam Selman, Wandy Peralta will all see action over the weekend.
The A’s bullpen has been very reliable for Bob Melvin and the A’s. Yusmeiro Petit, Joakim Soria, Jake Diekman, J.B.Wendelken, T.J.McFarland, Lou Trivino, and closer Liam Hendriks have been consistent throughout the first nineteen games of the season.
The A’s, as mentioned earlier, cannot take the Giants lightly. Good teams don’t let opportunities such as this to slip through their hands. The A’s know the key to success is winning series. On the other hand, the Giants hope to beat the starch out the guys from across the Bay. It is always fun when these two teams get together. It should be no different this weekend.