As always By will be covering the Giants and Chappy will be covering the A’s portions.
San Francisco Giants (38-29 1st place) Oakland A’s (28-40 4th place)
Oakland A’s – They broke their 10 game losing streak against the White Sox in a comeback win. Unfortunately they went from second to fourth during that losing streak. We thankfully have a new manager (Bob Melvin) that I wrote about last week, so now I can’t work in any disses about the team overcoming Geren’s minimal coaching abilities. The new Bob has already started making the players do some infield practice before games, which is rare this day in age for any team to practice much infield work before games. The good part about this hire is he’s already proactive attacking one of our big weaknesses (A’s are ranked 27th in fielding with 51 errors). Now if he could only figure out some good drills to get them to hit! Bob Melvin seems to like keeping Matsui in the lineup everyday, which was something Geren couldn’t seem to do as he sat Matsui against lefties. Matsui even answered with a homer off a lefty last night. Hopefully this means Matsui will get comfortable at the plate knowing he’ll be in the lineup all the time. Andrew Bailey is finally closing games for us this season, too bad there aren’t any games for him to close. Scott Sizemore, who we got from Detroit, is already our best option at 3B even though he’d never played the position prior to coming to the A’s. Jemile Weeks was also called up when Ellis went on the DL, and has impressed me a lot more than Chris Carter did last year during his first MLB stint with three triples in his first seven games.
SF Giants – I just got home from a fantastic early dinner and as I type this, the G-Men hold a 5-0 lead against second place Arizona in the 5th. I also see that Pablo “Panda” Sandoval has already left his mark on this game, bringing in the game’s first run. Panda provides us with a much needed bat, at an absolutely desperate time. It’s one thing that we lost Buster Posey for the entire season, but now Freddy Sanchez’s year is in jeopardy, and Freddy has been knocking in clutch runs all season. I guess a positive we Giants fans can take out of all of this, is the fact that we’re still in first place, believe it or not! And the reason why, is that the Giants epitomize the concept of team ball. When someone goes down, the next person simply steps up and fills in. I mean, we’ve had Nate Shierholtz hitting third at times, Nate Shierholtz people! And now he has a few walk off base hits notched under his belt. There’s a different hero every night with these guys, very similar to last season. So if you’re an optimistic person, which I’m usually not, but if you are, you must be thinking we’re sitting pretty atop the division despite being dealt the worse possible hand you can be dealt. Things can only get better from here, right?
Oakland A’s – We have five starting pitchers on the DL, and Brett Anderson was that fifth starter to land on the DL. He’s avoiding Tommy John surgery, but it sounds like he might still have to have it down the road. I’m no doctor, but it doesn’t sound like these plasma injections do very much from other players accounts. We’ve called up some prospects mainly because of the numerous injuries. SP Graham Godfrey had an interesting way of getting called up the the big leagues, but we are really missing those starters that went down. Hopefully McCarthy comes back soon which seems likely. We’ve lost 13 of 14, and I might already be rooting for Seattle to take the division. (I’ll wait till the All-Star break, but it’s sad I’m already pondering picking who I want to win the division not named the A’s.) Daric Barton continues to digress this season. Not sure how much longer I can root for a guy that is in his third year, and having his worst season of those three years, he feels like Bobby Crosby all over again. Hopefully we are prepping Chris Carter or Michael Taylor in the minors to play first base. Maybe we should’ve hung onto Brett Wallace who is having a decent year in Houston…
SF Giants – To the outsider looking in, you’d probably chuckle at the idea of being unhappy with a first place team. But if you’ve been following the Giants closely like I have, especially these past two seasons, you know we win a lot, a lot of close games. In unbelievable fashion at times. How much magic do we still have at our disposal? We’ve got to run out eventually right? As long as we’re bottom dwellers in terms of offensive production, specifically scoring runs, and as long as our aces look like jokers on the mound (Tim Lincecum and Jonathan Sanchez), we’ve got reason to be concerned. Hopefully Brandon Belt can get healthy and show us some of that bat we’ve all been told is coming. The only consistent thing I can count on with these Giants, is Ryan Vogelsong giving up two runs or less every game. The sad part is, some of those games are losses.