As much as we A's fans despise them, you have to admit, the Giants are a very interesting (and pretty good) team.
Brandon Belt, Joe Panik, Matt Duffy, and Brandon Crawford combine to form one of the most exciting young infields in baseball. The oldest of the four is Crawford, at age 28; Duffy and Panik are both only 24. Each of the four has posted a wRC+ over 125, and the lowest fWAR of the group is Belt's 2.5. In addition to solid offense, each of the four provide smooth defense. All in all, the Giants' infield is one of the most underrated in the game.
Their rotation behind ace Madison Bumgarner, however, is questionable. Tonight's starter Jake Peavy has a 4.94 ERA over five starts, and none of his peripherals are inspiring. Only two of those five starts have been quality starts, as in each of the other three Peavy surrendered four unearned runs. Peavy could be fighting for his spot in the rotation, as the Giants could look to make an upgrade over him prior to next Saturday's trade deadline.
Taking the ball for the A's will be right-hander Jesse Chavez. Chavez, coming off of a great start in which he struck out nine Twins over six innings for the win, will look to continue to put his struggles behind him. Jesse had posted a 5.27 ERA in seven starts prior to his success last Sunday. For the season, his ERA stands at a shiny 3.21, and is backed up by a stellar 3.11 FIP. If the A's want to make any kind of noise in the second half, Chavez will have to step up, especially after the Scott Kazmir trade and Jesse Hahn's injury.
This should truly be a battle. The Giants will be fighting for the postseason, trying to catch the Dodgers in a close NL West race. The A's will battle for pride, and bragging rights over their geographical rivals. Game time is at 7:15 P.M. PST. It's Chavez vs. Peavy, in the first of three. Let's go, Oakland!