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Oakland A’s Series Preview #17: Giants on verge of losing Bridge Trophy back to A’s

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A’s swept three games in San Francisco in August

San Francisco Giants v Los Angeles Dodgers Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

The Oakland A’s have 10 games remaining in the 2020 regular season, and their magic number to clinch the AL West division is four (over the Astros). They’ll look to continue whittling that number down this weekend against their next opponent, the San Francisco Giants, for three games at the Coliseum.

San Francisco Giants

  • 2020 record: 25-24

Of course, this isn’t just any old interleague matchup, it’s the Bay Bridge Series. This is the second installment in the 2020 edition of the regional showdown, after the A’s swept the first three-game series in San Francisco in mid-August.

There’s an actual trophy on the line here, called The Bridge, and right now the Giants have it after winning three out of four meetings last summer. Since the A’s are up 3-0 so far this year, they only need to win once this weekend to earn back the trophy. If the Giants sweep, then the tiebreaker will go in their favor and they’ll keep it.

That’s especially meaningful for A’s fans, because these games just don’t really matter to Oakland in the standings. The AL West is pretty much wrapped up, and the first-round matchups are going to be such a crapshoot that the precise seeding of the division winners is unlikely to matter.

San Francisco is certainly interested in these results, though, because they’re surprisingly still relevant. If the season ended today they’d be in the playoffs as the No. 7 seed, but there are several other clubs still involved in the race and it could come down to the final couple days of the campaign.

The Giants are in it because of hitting. Nearly everyone in the lineup has been hot for the past month and for the most recent two-week split. The pitching has only been alright during that same span (starters rough, bullpen good, but both with FIPs closer to the middle), but that’s been enough with the hitters posting a massive 133 wRC+ over the last 30 days.

Projected lineup

  • LF Alex Dickerson (L)
  • 2B Donovan Solano (R)
  • 1B Brandon Belt (L)
  • DH Wilmer Flores (R)
  • 3B Evan Longoria (R)
  • SS Brandon Crawford (L)
  • RF Darin Ruf (R)
  • C Joey Bart (R)
  • CF Mauricio Dubon (R)

Arguably their top hitter, outfielder Mike Yastrzemski, is day-to-day after exiting Thursday’s game with a mild calf sprain. The bench now includes former All-Star first baseman Justin Smoak, who was picked up last week after being released by the Brewers, but he’s 0-for-6 for the Giants so far.

Starting pitchers

These are the three expected starters:

  • Fri: Logan Webb (R) vs. Chris Bassitt (6:40 p.m.)
  • Sat: Kevin Gausman (R) vs. Frankie Montas (1:10 p.m.)
  • Sun: Johnny Cueto (R) vs. Jesús Luzardo (1:00 p.m.)

Oakland faced the same three starters in August, though in reverse order. Cueto pitched well (7 ip, 2 runs) but the A’s came back to beat the bullpen. Then Gausman was decent (5⅔ ip, 3 runs) and it was enough to win, but the A’s came back to beat the bullpen again. Then Webb got knocked around (4⅓ ip, 3 runs) and the A’s ended up scoring 15 on the day.

Bench/Bullpen

Here’s the Giants’ full 28-man roster:

S.F. Giants 28-man roster
Pitchers Hitters
Starters

Johnny Cueto (R)
Kevin Gausman (R)
Drew Smyly (L)
Logan Webb (R)
Tyler Anderson (L)

Relievers

Tony Watson (L)
Sam Coonrod (R)
Tyler Rogers (R)
Sam Selman (L)
Shaun Anderson (R)
Caleb Baragar (L)
Trevor Cahill (R)
Jarlin Garcia (L)
Andrew Suarez (L)
Catchers

Joey Bart (R)
Chadwick Tromp (R)

Infielders

Brandon Belt (L)
Donovan Solano (R)
Brandon Crawford (L)
Evan Longoria (R)
Mauricio Dubon (R)
Wilmer Flores (R)
Darin Ruf (R)
Justin Smoak (S)

Outfielders

Alex Dickerson (L)
Austin Slater (R)
Mike Yastrzemski (L)
Luis Alexander Basabe (S)

10-day IL: RHP Trevor Gott (elbow), RHP Jeff Samardzija (shoulder),

45-day IL: RHP Tyler Beede (TJS), RHP Reyes Moronta (shoulder), C Aramis Garcia (hip), OF Joey Rickard (elbow)

Opt out: C Buster Posey