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Game Thread #98: A’s vs. Giants

The one where BASEBALL IS BACK!

MLB: Cleveland Indians at Oakland Athletics Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Well, the very happiest Fridays to you, and welcome back to baseball! In case you somehow missed the first “half” of the season (really the first 97 games), you missed a whole heck of a lot of fun. There was a no-hitter, some sweeps, terrific offense every day, a different starting pitcher every night, rolling into the break with winning series against Cleveland, Houston and the Giants on the road, turning the “must find a way to go .500 on the road trip” into the smashing success of a 7-3 record, and it honestly could have been 9-1 had the ball bounced just a little bit differently. However, most importantly, please note that on July 3rd, the A’s were 8.0 games behind Seattle for the second Wild Card position, and mere days later, they entered the break down just 3.0. But Seattle isn’t the only team hearing footsteps. On June 18, the A’s were 12.0 games back of the Division lead; by the break, they are only 8.0, despite the tear Houston has been on.

The A’s are one of the hottest teams in baseball and it’s been a long, long week without our daily games. Let’s hope that the team was able to get the much-needed rest in preparation for a REAL LIVE PLAYOFF HUNT and they can pick up right where they left off.

Which...is losing on Friday nights! During this smoking hot streak for the A’s, filled with nail-biting close games and dramatic, late-inning wins, I’ve had to suffer through the 10-4 Cleveland loss and the 7-1 Giants loss, the only bad games of the bunch. And we were doing so well on Fridays, too. After all their time on the road, the A’s are finally coming home; to the jam-packed (yes, seriously!) stands of the Coliseum, where the rival Bay Bridge series relocates to Oakland.

Let’s try to turn that around tonight. The A’s offense will try their hand against Dereck “Adding another spelling of Derek/Derrick to the MLB archives” Rodriguez, Pudge’s kid, who has been killing it lately as a rookie. His season record is 4-1 with an ERA under 3.00, and the A’s will need to do what they do best to beat him; put together long at-bats and force his pitch count high enough to get him out of the game. Meanwhile, the A’s will counter with Edwin Jackson, who has been terrific in his few starts for the A’s.

The atmosphere at the Oakland should be playoff-electric tonight as the Giants roll in to complete the Bay Bridge series. The Green and Gold will be out in force tonight as there’s no school like the old school; Bay Area baseball with two playoff-caliber teams!

Here are your lineups:

Today's Lineups

SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS OAKLAND A'S
Steven Duggar - CF Marcus Semien - SS
Alen Hanson - 2B Stephen Piscotty - RF
Andrew McCutchen - RF Jed Lowrie - 2B
Brandon Crawford - SS Khris Davis - DH
Buster Posey - C Matt Olson - 1B
Pablo Sandoval - 1B Matt Chapman - 3B
Ryder Jones - 3B Mark Canha - LF
Nick Hundley - DH Dustin Fowler - CF
Gorkys Hernandez - LF Jonathan Lucroy - C
Dereck Rodriguez - RHP Edwin Jackson - RHP

LET’S GO OAK-LAND!