Other than the playoffs, this is the most meaningful baseball the A’s will play all year long.
It is time for the first half of the now annual Bay Bridge Series between the A’s and the Giants, wherein the winner will be gifted a trophy made from a bit of the actual Bay Bridge. Last year, the A’s won the trophy handily by winning four of six meetings.
The A’s and Giants have been long time rivals despite playing in different leagues, but the intensity has been getting greater over recent years. From the two teams playing just across the bay from each other, to the Giants’ intervention during the A’s saga in getting a new stadium in the area, and more, both of these teams have legitimate beefs with each other.
In 2019, the Giants spent quite a long time being bad before suddenly deciding to get good about a month or two ago. The winning surge boosted San Francisco from an afterthought in the National League to just outside of playoff contention, and many thought that the Giants would become buyers at the trade deadline. This wound up to not be the case, and in the last couple of weeks the Giants have a bit more down to Earth. Entering today’s action, the Giants are 59-60 and 3.5 games out of the second Wild Card spot with several teams to leapfrog.
The key to the Giants’ success is in their pitching, as the team has scored the fourth fewest runs in all of baseball this season, and only better than the hapless Marins in the National League. Most regular starters on the Giants have been subpar at the plate, but several role players have done better with the opportunities given to them. Stephen Vogt is one of those players, as the former Oakland A icon has been OPSing .876 in about sixty games this year. Pablo Sandoval, the starting third baseman while Evan Longoria was injured, has also had a surprising bounce back campaign, hitting 14 home runs and slugging .507 this year.
On the pitching side, Madison Bumgarner has taken a step back this year, but over the last month has shown flashes of his former self. The hulking lefty has a WHIP of just 0.86 over the last month, and he hasn’t lost over this time period. Jeff Samardzija, another former Athletic, has been even better over the same stretch, allowing just nine runs over his last nearly forty innings pitched. While Samardzija still has a home run problem, he has been looking more and more like the ace teams had expected him to be.
The A’s will be in San Francisco for the next two days to take care of the first half of this season’s Bay Bridge Series. With the Giants playing better of late, this series won’t be a walk in the park, and the A’s will have to try and crack the Giants’ tough pitching staff to be successful in this series. While a sweep would be tough, it isn’t out of the question, and would certainly send a statement across the bay before the series concludes next weekend.
Donovan Solano - 2B
Joey Rickard - LF
Buster Posey - C
Evan Longoria - 3B
Kevin Pillar - CF
Austin Slater - RF
Aramis Garcia - 1B
Brandon Crawford - SS
Brett Anderson vs Madison Bumgarner
Homer Bailey vs Taylor Beede
Game #120: Tuesday, August 13th at 6:45
Game #121: Wednesday, August 14th at 12:45
Both games will be on NBCSCA and NBCS BA.