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Oakland A's - San Francisco Giants preview: Bay Bridge Series #1

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The Athletics open up the annual rivalry series with the Giants with three at AT&T Park.

Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

The Oakland Athletics (44-53) travel across the Bay Bridge for three games against the San Francisco Giants (51-44), the first games of a six-game season series. The Giants entered Friday three games behind the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West, a half-game behind the Chicago Cubs for the second Wild Card, and four games behind the Pittsburgh Pirates for the top Wild Card spot.

The Giants have been on a tear of late, winning eight of their last nine contests and scoring 6.8 runs per game in the process against the Phillies, Diamondbacks, and Padres. Will the A's be able to stave off the Giants offense this weekend?

On the mound

Starter Ranks
A's AL/NL Rank Giants
1st (3.08) ERA 8th (3.88)
1st (3.43) FIP 9th (4.04)
6th (3.75) xFIP 8th (3.89)

The A's manage to avoid Chris Heston, who has already thrown a no-hitter this season and flirted with earlier this week against the Padres. They do face Madison Bumgarner on Saturday, however.

The most likely wins will come Friday and Sunday when they face Jake Peavy and Tim Hudson. Peavy only recently returned from a back issue that kept him on the disabled list from the middle of April to the beginning of July. In three starts since returning, he has a 3.20 ERA in 19⅔ innings.

Old friend Tim Hudson is in his 17th season of major league baseball and is throwing his worst season by ERA+ (75). The 39-year-old is making his second start since returning from the disabled list after incurring a strained right shoulder.

Friday (7:15 PM PDT) Saturday (1:05 PM PDT) Sunday (1:05 PM PDT)
Jesse Chavez vs. Jake Peavy Chris Bassitt vs. Madison Bumgarner Kendall Graveman vs. Tim Hudson
Right Hand Right Right Hand Left Right Hand Right
3.21 ERA 4.94 2.93 ERA 3.27 3.78 ERA 4.76
3.11 FIP 4.71 4.04 FIP 3.26 4.60 FIP 4.70
3.61 xFIP 4.85 5.44 xFIP 3.21 4.27 xFIP 3.93
21.2% K% 16.8% 14.4% K% 24.6% 14.6% K% 12.6%
6.2% BB% 8.4% 9.3% BB% 4.8% 7.9% BB% 6.3%
1.14 GB/FB 0.85 0.68 GB/FB 1.10 1.71 GB/FB 2.75

At the plate and in the field

A's AL/NL Ranks Giants
8th (4.27) RS/G 3rd (4.33)
9th (99) wRC+ 2nd (110)
11th (80) HR 9th (79)
4th (.255) AVG 2nd (.271)
7th (.315) OBP 2nd (.329)
10th (.391) SLG 3rd (.409)
14th (.135) ISO 7th (.137)
6th (56) SB 12th (40)
15th (85) Errors 4th (48)
T-6th (8) DRS 3rd (23)
14th (-22.4) UZR 3rd (14.2)
3rd (.723) DE 3rd (.713)

The Giants have been impressive at the plate, with Buster Posey and Brandon Crawford both top 10 National League players in Offensive WAR on Baseball Reference and top five on the defensive side. Buster Posey, Joe Panik, and Nori Aoki are all top 10 in on base percentage in the NL, though Aoki is on the disabled list.

The A's are sending three right-handers to the mound this weekend, which puts Angel Pagan at a disadvantage. He's hitting .237/.268/.304 (62 wRC+) against righties compared to .347/.382/.368 against lefties (118 wRC+). Without Aoki, the Giants have seven batters with a wRC+ over 100 against right-handers, all went over 100 plate appearances against righties. Instead, they're leading off Angel Pagan.

Joining Aoki on the disabled list is Andrew Susac with a broken thumb. Hector Sanchez is the current backup catcher for the Giants.

Sogard Line

The Eric Sogard Line is Sogard's wRC+, representing my gut feel for what represents serviceable offensive production for a bottom of the order hitter with a good glove, but you probably don't want more than one or two of those in your lineup.

Eric Sogard did not appear in the series against the Blue Jays, and his wRC+ stayed at 63. The Giants have only given four percent of their non-pitcher plate appearances to batters hitting below the Sogard Line, with bench bats Hector Sanchez, Joaquin Arias, and Ehire Adrianza getting extremely limited chances to bat this season.

Bullpen

Bullpen Ranks
A's AL/NL Ranks Giants
12th (269.1) IP 10th (286.2)
14th (4.21) ERA 7th (3.42)
10th (4.05) FIP 10th (3.66)
9th (3.89) xFIP 11th (3.86)

The Giants bullpen is eight players strong with the National League club electing to hold just four bench bats. Ryan Vogelsong moved to the bullpen upon Tim Hudson's return. He has made two relief appearances of two innings each and has not conceded a run.

Closer Santiago Casilla is tied for sixth in the National League in saves with 24 and has blown four this year.

2015 Stats Recent usage (pitch count from www.rosterresource.com)
Player Hand IP ERA K% BB% GB/FB 23-Jul 22-Jul 21-Jul 20-Jul 19-Jul 18-Jul
Santiago Casilla R 34.1 3.15 23.0% 9.5% 1.45 O 10
Hunter Strickland R 23.0 1.96 31.9% 5.5% 1.33 F 2 9 14
George Kontos R 46.2 1.54 15.7% 3.4% 1.14 F 11 26
Javier Lopez L 25.0 1.80 18.0% 7.9% 4.70 8 3
Sergio Romo R 29.2 4.55 33.1% 5.7% 1.23 12 24
Jeremy Affeldt L 22.2 5.96 12.0% 11.1% 2.76 D 10 27
Yusmeiro Petit R 52.0 4.33 15.1% 5.5% 0.60 A 10 40
Ryan Vogelsong R 99.2 4.06 16.9% 10.0% 1.18 Y 28

The games

There's a Hunter Pence garden gnome giveaway on Saturday afternoon and a Cowboy Hat giveaway for Sunday's game. Friday's game gets the late start thanks to the appearance on NBC Bay Area requiring a longer pregame show.

Time (PT) Probable starters TV Promotion
Friday 7:15 PM Jesse Chavez vs. Jake Peavy CSNCA/NBC (Giants)
Saturday 1:05 PM Chris Bassitt vs. Madison Bumgarner CSNCA/CSNBA (Giants) Hunter Pence Gnome
Sunday 1:05 PM Kendall Graveman vs. Tim Hudson CSNCA/CSNBA (Giants) Country Night Cowboy Hat