The San Francisco Giants and the Oakland A’s will meet for three games starting on Friday night at the Oakland Coliseum (image is from rollinghills.com)
By Jerry Feitelberg
OAKLAND–The A’s welcome their cross-town rivals, the San Francisco Giants, to the Oakland Coliseum for three games starting Friday.
It should be a fascinating series with lots at stake for both teams. The A’s currently own the third-best record in the American League. They are a game and 1/2 behind the Chicago White Sox for the number one slot.
They trail the Tampa Bay Rays by 1/2 game for the second-best record. The Giants would be in the playoffs if the season ended today. They are 28-28 and own one of the two Wild Card spots in the National League. The Philadelphia Phillies are also 28-28 and would be in the playoffs, too. The Giants play the Seattle Mariners Thursday night, and their status could change.
The A’s played the Giants earlier this year in San Francisco. The A’s came from behind in two of the games to stun the Giants. On August 14th, the Giants blew a 6-0 lead and lost 8-7 in ten innings.
Stephen Piscotty hit a grand slam in the ninth off Giants’ closer Trevor Gott to tie the game. They scored a run in the tenth, and the A’s bullpen closed out the game. The next night, lightning struck again for Oakland.
The Giants led 6-3 in the ninth. Trevor Gott was in to close. A’s catcher Sean Murphy hit a solo homer to make in 6-4. With two men on, Mark Canha blasted a three-run dinger to win it for Oakland 7-6. The A’s won the finale of the series 15-3. The Giants will be looking for payback this weekend.
The team, under the first-year skipper Gabe Kapler has improved since the series with the A’s. The Giants are stacked with guys that have a lot of pop in their bats. The A’s starters will have their work cut out for them to shut the Giants’ offense down.
The G-men are led by outfielders Mike Yastrzemski, Alex Dickerson, Austin Slater, and Darin Ruf. All are hitting about .280 or higher. Yaz has nine dingers and 33 RBIs. Dickerson has eight and 24 RBIs.
The greybeards in the infield, Evan Longoria, Brandon Crawford, Brandon Belt, Wilmer Flores, Donovan Solano, are all raking at the plate. Longo is hitting .282 with six homers and 25 RBIs.
Solano’s average is .351 with five round-trippers and 28 ribbies. Belt’s numbers are .305, eight big flys, and 24 RBIs. Flores .283, nine home runs, 23 RBIs. Crawford is resurgent as his average is .281, five homers, and 18 RBIs.
The A’s announced righty Chris Bassitt will start on Friday night. The A’s have not determined the pitchers for Saturday and Sunday. The Giants have not indicated their pitchers for the series yet.
The Giants’s starters are Johnny Cueto, Kevin Gausman, Logan Webb, Tyler Anderson, Drew Smyly, and former A’s starter Trevor Cahill. Smyly pitched on Wednesday and will not be available. The Giants’ closer Trevor Gott is on the 10-day IL. Kapler will use lefties Caleb Baragar, Wandy Peralta, Tony Watson, and Sam Selman. Righties Sam Coonrod, sidewinder Tyler Rogers, and Cahill probably see action.
The A’s are 31-19 with ten games left. The A’s pitching has been outstanding. Mike Fiers, who beat the Colorado Rockies on Wednesday, will not see any action. A’s manager Bob Melvin will probably use Frankie Montas, Mike Minor, or Jesus Luzardo.
The A’s bullpen has done a stellar job for the Green and Gold this season. Pitchers that will see action will be Yusmeiro Petit, J.B.Wendelken, Jake Diekman T.J.McFarland, Lou Trivino, Joakim Soria, along with closer Liam Hendriks.
The A’s have been inconsistent on offense so far this year. Designated hitter Khris Davis is having a down year. Stephen Piscotty injured his knee and may not be available. Matt Chapman is having hip surgery and is sone for the year. Chad Pinder has a hamstring problem and may not play.
The A’s love players that can play multiple positions. Mark Canha has played all three outfield slots. Tony Kemp can play a couple of infield positions. Tommy La Stella has played second and third for the A’s. After being released by the Arizona D-Backs, Jake Lamb, signed as a free agent, has played third and is five-for-eleven as an Athletic. Lamb has also been the DH.
The A’s offense has failed to take advantage of the opportunities they had with runners in scoring position. The guys hit home runs, but getting hits in bunches has not happened this year. Bob Melvin knows it’s a problem, but has not yet come up with a solution.
As mentioned above, it’s always fun when these two teams get together. The season series winner gets to keep the Bay Bridge Trophy and bragging rights for a year. Usually, the Coliseum would be jammed to the gills with fans. Not so, this year. It’s a shame, but it’s the reality due to Covid-19. Turn on the TVs, folks, and enjoy three games of great baseball.