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Preview: The rivalry that isn’t

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The Giants and A’s aren’t rivals. They’re just really good teams.

MLB: JUN 22 Giants at Angels Photo by John McCoy/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

People keep trying to make the the San Francisco Giants and Oakland A’s a rivalry. And by “people” I primarily mean network bigwigs.

There aren’t many fans who view it as a rivalry. I would be shocked if a single player viewed it as a rivalry. And even the broadcasters have a hard time promoting the trophy awarded to the winner of the Bay Bridge Series.

And yet.

While it predictably does not feel like a rivalry as the Giants and A’s prepare to face off for the first time this season, it unpredictably is a matchup between two of baseball’s best teams. That might not make for a rivalry, but it certainly makes for compelling baseball.

The last time the Giants and A’s played each other when both teams had a winning record was July 22, 2018. The Giants were a whopping two games above .500 at 51-49 when that game started.

Now the Giants are 22 games above .500, and the A’s are 15 games up. We haven’t seen a Bay Bridge Series like this one in quite some time.


Series details

Who: San Francisco Giants vs. Oakland A’s
Where: Oracle Park, San Francisco, California
When: Friday (6:45 p.m.), Saturday (7:05 p.m.), and Sunday (1:05 p.m.)
National broadcasts: Sunday (MLB Network, out of market only)


Where they stand

San Francisco Giants

Record: 48-36, 1st in the NL West
Run differential: +101, 1st in the NL
Postseason standing: 1st seed in the NL
Momentum: 3-game winning streak, 8-2 in their last 10 games

Oakland A’s

Record: 46-31, 2nd in the AL West
Run differential: +33, 5th in the AL
Postseason standing: 1st Wild Card, 2 games out of the AL West lead
Momentum: 1-game winning streak, 6-4 in their last 10 games


Three Giants to watch

San Francisco Giants v Washington Nationals - Game One Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images

Austin Slater: Slater has been sitting patiently on the sidelines, watching as the Giants nearly indefinite pool of left-handed outfielders gets to play against right-handed pitchers. The Giants are finally in a stretch of facing a handful of lefties, which means Slater gets his opportunities. He’s struggled lately, with just 4 hits — all singles — in his last 31 plate appearances, and one lone walk to 11 strikeouts. That very well may be the side effect of platooning and scarce playing time. Either way, Slater should get two starts in this series.

Sammy Long: Long occupies that lovely area where a player is still very new to the big leagues, and looks like they could be special, and every time they play feels like must-watch TV. Through three career outings he has an FIP of 2.49 and a WHIP of 0.867, with more than a strikeout per inning. Watch him pitch, and you likely won’t be disappointed.

Darin Ruf: Ruf returned from the Injured List with a bang and, just as with Slater, he should get ample opportunity in this series with Oakland using lefty starters for Friday’s opener and Sunday’s finale. The Giants had no problem hitting for power with Ruf sidelined, but the lineup sure looks different against lefties when he’s anchoring it.


Three A’s to watch

Oakland Athletics v Texas Rangers Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images

Sergio Romo: Mostly I just love Sergio Romo, as I’m sure you do too, and wanted an excuse to post this video.

We also love Yusmeiro Petit here, it’s worth noting. Some people forget.

Sean Manaea: Manaea, a lefty, is having an awesome season thus far, with an ERA and FIP that both sit in the very low 3s, and more than a strikeout per inning. He’s also in the midst of a bit of a hot streak, so the Giants right-handed hitters will need to be on their best behavior.

Matt Olson: It feels like Olson has been playing for decades, because he’s such an A’s player with such an A’s name. But he’s just 27, and in the midst of perhaps his best season yet. The lefty is hitting .302/.383/.605 and has already surpassed the 20-homer mark. The baseball could be flying in San Francisco this weekend.


Poll

Who wins the series?

This poll is closed

  • 12%
    Giants sweep
    (51 votes)
  • 70%
    Giants win 2-1
    (293 votes)
  • 13%
    A’s win 2-1
    (55 votes)
  • 3%
    A’s sweep
    (14 votes)
413 votes total Vote Now