GameThread #52: A's vs. Giants

Cespedes needs an oven mitt for his hot bat - Bob Levey

The Battle of the Bay, holiday edition! Tutu-Late has his right hand on the "rec" button, left hand on a cold one.

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What else can be said about this strange, healthily hateful dynamic between the A's and the Giants? Two franchises located a scant few miles apart but in completely different worlds. I think the Battle of the Bay might be the only success of interleague play (even a blind squirrel Selig finds a nut). These games are rowdy, sold out, typically high drama, and the fans, players, and media are all into it.

Just from last year we had Seth Smith yelling "go home Giants!" after Derek Norris' walk-off last year, Clovis native Ryan Cook forsaking his childhood team with a vengeance, and Colin Cowgill decimating Tim Lincecum at the plate.

So many on this site have written at great lengths about the Giants, but for those A's fans that live in the Bay Area during this unprecedented era of Giants fan smugness, it can all be summarized into one beautiful phrase: Fuck the Giants!

Bay Area native Bob Melvin knows the bragging rights at stake:

"I’ve often said for people in the Bay Area, it’s an exciting time of the baseball season for them because everybody’s watching it," Melvin said. "You can say all you want that it’s just four games against another team, but in the Bay Area, it takes on more importance than that. The stands are packed, whether it’s our place or their place, it’s a raucous crowd for both sides, and there are a lot of people who are fighting and arguing in bars and restaurants for their team. It’s kind of cool."

via Carl Steward, Bay Area News Group.

The all-time interleague series record is 47-45 A's, but I don't think that includes the 4-0 A's sweep that happened in some interleague games in 1989. The two teams come into today's game with virtually identical records, with the A's winning eight of their last nine.

Regarding today's game, on the field --

If you want to know what's up with the Giants from a baseball standpoint, Alex Hall has a solid Q&A with Grant Brisbee (of McCovey Chronicles) HERE.

The pitching matchup does not look favorable, with Dan Straily taking the mound against Madison Bumgarner (4-2, 2.89 ERA). However, it looked less then favorable when Straily came into Arlington last week, dragging along his with an 7.27 ERA over to face Yu Darvish. All he did was hold the Rangers to two hits in seven shutout innings to get the victory.

Straily has pitched better on the road this year, with a 4.13 ERA and .195 BAA on the road versus a 10.00 ERA and .306 BAA at home. Hopefully he'll forget that he slept in his own bed last night and the sold out crowd will fool him to thinking he's on the road.

Yoenis Cespedes is swinging well as of late. Last Saturday his line was an ugly .198/.262/.414/.675. Seven games later, he's at .219/.287/.452/.739. Hopefully we'll see him at post-2012 All-Star Break levels from here on out. He has been drawing walks and hitting singles, both good signs that he starting to become more selective and is moving past his "all-or-nothing" phase.

With an LHP on the mound, Nate Freiman is getting a rare second consecutive start after his mammoth home run and ringing double yesterday. He's been embracing his role player status, and is looking forward to adding his name to the Bay Bridge Series lore:

"It should be a blast," said Freiman, who'll be in the lineup Monday against Madison Bumgarner. "I'm sure it'll be packed, and people will be excited. We can't wait to get home and play these guys." -- (via John Shea, SFGate.com)

I think Coco Crisp getting on base and starting us off will be an important key to this series, as it was against the Rangers and Astros. Hopefully he'll help the A's strike first today.

Here are your lineups:

A final note: On this Memorial Day, it's worth taking a moment to remember the folks that have died in America's wars.

...

Let's Go A's!

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