Spring Game Thread #23: Giants vs A's 3/24

Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

Well, well, well. After years and years of mocking A's fans and our team's "Moneyball" methods, Giants fans now have no choice but to embrace new-age team-building methods pioneered and popularized by the A's. Not only that, but they are relying on a former top A's executive, Farhan Zaidi, to help them do it. If that's not an admittance of past judgment errors, I don't know what is.

Of course, the Giants have 3 World Series championships to show for their unabashedly old-school roster-building techniques, but since 2014, their team has been locked into a downward spiral with no signs of getting free. Year after year, Brian Sabean and Co. have tried to spend their way back to October, tying up huge chunks of its top-5 payroll to aging and/or injured players. But with Zaidi now running things, reasonable Giants fans can rest assured that the irrational spending will stop and that a rebuild, or something resembling one, is coming.

But for now, the A's are the only great baseball team in the Bay Area and we'll make sure to make it known every chance we get! Including this afternoon, when the two cross-town rivals face off in the annual "first-game-back-home-but-not-yet-the-regular-season" game. And what a pitching matchup we have for you tonight, folks: Dereck Rodriguez vs. Brett Anderson. (Originally, Aaron Brooks was the probable pitcher and I had this whole Aaron Brooks rant written, but unfortunately, it'll have to wait.)

Brett's coming off a solid bounceback season, returning to his first team and helping them get back to the playoffs. Typically inconsistent and injury-prone, the most the A's can hope for is a realtively healthy and steady season until some of their younger guys are ready to step up.

Meanwhile, the Giants are sending to the mound First Son of Iván, Dereck Rodriguez, who's coming off a rookie season in which he gave up a lot of hits, didn't strike out many hitters, but prevented a lot of runs. As one of the few quality youngsters on their roster, the Giants are hoping he'll become part of the building block that they so desperately need.

Up to bat for the A's is what appears will be their post-HamateGate lineup against right handers:

  • Robbie Grossman (LF)
  • Matt Chapman (3B)
  • Stephen Piscotty (RF)
  • Khris Davis (DH)
  • Jurickson Profar (2B)
  • Mark Canha (1B)
  • Marcus Semien (SS)
  • Ramon Laureano (CF)
  • Nick Hundley (C)
Beyond the obvious hole that Matt Olson's injury creates, there are two other key ways in which his absence makes the lineup much more vulnerable. First is that we'll only have two left-handed hitters in our everyday vs. RHP lineup: Grossman and Profar. This will make it very easy for other to teams to exploit us via bullpen matchups, as they'll be able to send right-hander after right-hander without worrying about platoon advantages. This may be reason to call up Fowler sooner rather than later, which I'm completely here for. However, that would also mean platooning him with Laureano, which I'm not here for.

Secondly, our 3-6 positions in the lineup now look much less intimidating than it did with Olson in the lineup. When Olson was in the 3 spot, pitchers would essentially have to choose their poison with 3 big homer threats in a row (Chapman/Olson/Khrush). But now, with Piscotty moving up to the 3 and Profar up to the 5, I have a feeling opposing teams will feel much more comfortable pitching to Piscotty/Profar and pitching around Chapman/Khrush. Unless Barreto can turn into a middle-of-the-order threat within the next 6-8 weeks, this seems like a problem that we'll just have to deal with until Olson gets back.

On the San Francisco side, it's looking like a lot of who's and has-been's hitting for the orange and black, which is to be expected. The most the Giants can hope for is that Steven Duggar and Mac Williamson can develop into solid platoon, if not everyday, outfielders. Beyond these two, Longoria, and the Brandons (who would win in a fight: the Brandons or the Matts? matchup listed below), the rest of the lineup is just filler that'll get them to the trade deadline.

Even though it's still preseason, I'll be disappointed if they don't beat up on one of the major's worst teams. Let's go Oakland!

Bonus: Who would in a fight: the Brandons or the Matts?

Brandon Crawford - 6' 2", 227 lbs
Brandon Belt - 6' 4", 235 lbs

Matt Chapman - 6' 0", 220 lbs
Matt Olson - 6' 5", 230 lbs

Surprisingly, the Brandons actually have a slight weight advantage. Nevertheless, I'm going with the Matts for their power and flexibility. Also, they just look more intimidating.