For a final two games between them this year, the A’s will be facing their rivals from across the bay. The winner of the series will be gifted the highly coveted Bay Bridge Series trophy and bragging rights for the next year.
Not much has changed about either of the two teams since they split their first go-around ten days ago, except, perhaps, the context. The A’s were about to face their biggest test of the season, seven consecutive games against the Astros and the Yankees, with a general hope that the team would finish somewhere around 4-3. Instead, the A’s shocked everyone but themselves and the most devoted Oakland faithful by going 6-1 over that stretch, with most of those games over early. Meanwhile, the Giants had a small winning streak after their series with the A’s, but since have dropped four games in a row.
Oakland is now within a half game of the top Wild Card spot, with a patient eye on the Astros steady-but-not-unbeatable 7.5 game lead in the division. Meanwhile, the Giants have slipped back below .500 and are now a substantial-but-not-hopeless 5.5 games behind the second Wild Card team, the Cubs.
The Giants’ offense has struggled all year long, but for the last week-plus the team has been swinging the bat pretty well. This offensive surge has primarily been pushed forward by Giants’ outfielders, which was long an extreme weakness for San Francisco’s ballclub. Mike Yastrzemski, the son of MLB legend Carl Yastrzemski, has had some key extra base hits this week and has been looking stronger at the plate in general. After spending many years toiling in the minor leagues, Yastrzemski is having his best professional season ever at the dish, hitting 17 home runs with an .890 OPS. Austin Slater and Kevin Pillar have also provided run-scoring thump this week.
Recently, the Giants’ starting pitching has been a bit of a mixed bag. Madison Bumgarner struggled his last time out, and will be looking to right the ship against Oakland in game one of the series. On the flip side, Logan Webb, in the first start of his big league career, was stellar, striking out seven batters in five innings of two run ball. The bullpen hasn’t been up to snuff, however, and have allowed many games to get out of hand. Despite the day off yesterday, the Giants bullpen was very heavily used recently and not everyone may be freely available.
In addition to the inherent importance of the Bay Bridge Series itself, it is also Players’ Weekend, so each team will be wearing a special uniform. They aren’t very good. No matter who wins this series, the retinas of fans everywhere lose.
Mike Yastrzemski - RF
Stephen Vogt - DH
Buster Posey - C
Alex Dickerson - LF
Evan Longoria - 3B
Brandon Belt - 1B
Kevin Pillar - CF
Scooter Gennett - 2B
Brandon Crawford - SS
Chris Bassitt vs Madison Bumgarner
Brett Anderson vs Logan Webb
Game #129: Saturday, August 24th at 6:07
Game #130: Sunday, August 25th at 1:07
Both games will be broadcast on NBCSCA.