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A's/Giants Preview

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PHOENIX - JUNE 16:  Pablo Sandoval #48 of the San Francisco Giants slides into home plate against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on June 16, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
PHOENIX - JUNE 16: Pablo Sandoval #48 of the San Francisco Giants slides into home plate against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on June 16, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
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It really is quite amusing how quickly the Giants' fanbase can revert into cynicism. About eight months ago, Matt Cain shut out the Texas Rangers. He did so because the center field wall at Mays Field is 8' 3-1/4" tall, not 8' 3-1/8" tall. The reason that the Giants were in the World Series is that Juan Uribe hit an opposite-field home run, which is an event that coincides more with geological epochs more than baseball seasons. They were in the NLCS in the first place because a utility infielder on the Braves was caught in a vortex of bad timing and poor luck.

Oversimplification? Yeah. But last year was a charmed year. This season, it's been too easy to grumble about Aaron Rowand and Miguel Tejada forming a 1-2 missed punch at the top of the order. And, hey, there's a reason for the grumbling, the cynicism, and the (occasional) despair. All of our favorite hitters are broken. Well, they were until Pablo came back. It doesn't matter that last year was a charmed year because the guys you wanted to spend 162 days and nights with this year were broken.

But the Giants are still in first. They still have their pitching. The abacus twiddlers on Baseball Prospectus still see the Giants as the favorites, even with Posey out for the year. You might think this is a cursed team -- and you might be right when it's all said and done -- but right now, it's just a first-placeteam that's trying to push past a lot of injuries.

The A's? Oh, that team is ******* cursed.

 

They had a great plan in the offseason. The pitching was all-world, but the hitting was wretched. And the A's can't really afford to outspend the White Sox for Paul Konerko, or whatever it is that a rich team would do if they had a wretched offense. So they did a fantastic job of acquiring players within their budget.

  • David Dejesus was coming off a .318/.384/.443 season for the Royals
  • Josh Willingham hit .268/.389/.459 for the Nationals
  • Hideki Matsui is old, but he stil hit .274/.361/.459 for the Angels

If those guys kept up that performance, they'd make a pretty sweet middle of the order for just about any team. Instead, those three have combined to reach base once this entire season, and that was on a catcher's interference call. This isn't hyperbole; those three are hitting .000/.001/.000 for the season. It was a good idea getting those guys, but they just passed Ozzie Smith while falling down the Springfield Mystery Spot.

And all of those pitchers are broken. All of them. Well, Gio Gonzalez is healthy. And Trevor Cahill is ostensibly healthy, but he could be broken. Brandon McCarthy was one of the best stories of the young season -- the Ryan Vogelsong of the AL. Broken. Brett Anderson? Broken. Dallas Braden? Broken. Tyson Ross? Broken. Andrew Bailey? Broken.

Brian Fuentes? Oh, he's cool. Don't worry about him.

So don't be ashamed to throw a pity party for yourself about the Giants' injury woes this season. It's been the roughest season I can remember for injuries. But for the love of all that is good, keep it to yourself when you're around an A's fan. They have us beat. If you start complaining, they'll either start crying or draw blood. You don't need that.

Hitter to watch:

Daric Barton has a .264 slugging percentage. That's lower than Miguel Tejada. Lower than Eli Whiteside and Darren Ford. Lower than Jonathan Sanchez and Ryan Vogelsong.

I can't remember what Barton's batting stance looks like, but if I had to guess, I think he holds the bat in one hand and a brightly colored maraca in the other. The maraca is covered in feathers, and he rattles it as the pitcher comes to the plate. Often times, the pitcher is distracted and throws pitches out of the zone. Occasionally, though, the pitcher will throw strikes, which forces Barton to swing with the one hand.

Again, just a guess. But I'll believe it until someone gives me a better explanation.

Pitcher to watch

When the Giants aren't playing at the same time, I usually put on the A's game. They're my AL team and all. And one of my favorite pitchers to watch is Trevor Cahill when he's on. I just love that sinker.

Lately, I haven't enjoyed watching Trevor Cahill. It's been kind of depressing. So while I want the Giants to win against him on Sunday, I'd like it to be a 2-0 A's/Giants special. I'd prefer that he didn't get knocked around for eight earned.

Of course, that would still be totally rad if it happened. Just saying if I could pick, I think baseball is better when Trevor Cahill is right.

Prediction

In the three games, there will be one team that has one of those games where they just can't score! Oh, how frustrating that shall be!