The Oakland Athletics hope to finish their series with the San Francisco Giants better than they started. Things can’t get much worse than getting blanked for nine innings at Oracle Park despite being one of the best road teams in the league. However, the road hasn’t been kind to the A’s considering they have slipped in their previous two series meetings with the New York Yankees and Texas Rangers. San Francisco will try to keep the pressure on the A’s by rolling out Sammy Long as their starting pitcher opposite of Oakland’s Cole Irvin.
Unlikely road woes for the A’sGetting blanked by the Giants in the opener isn’t the way the A’s hoped to kick-start this interleague series meeting. They were 3-5 in an eight-game road stretch heading into Saturday’s game. It’s a rough run for a team that has typically played well away from their home building.
Granted, it hasn’t been the easiest stretch with the Giants and New York Yankees both on the schedule. But the A’s also split even with a Texas Rangers team with the second-worst record in the American League.
The biggest question is whether they can turn it around by going out on a high note in the finale. A good start would be putting some runs on the board against a Giants’ pitching rotation with the third-best ERA in the league.
This is as good of a time as any to catch them slipping with the rookie, Sammy Long, starting on the mound. The A’s best work at the plate has typically come on the road with a .254 batting average and .761 OPS.
The bats have to show up on Sunday.
Cole Irvin (3.98 ERA) also has to show up. The Giants have a top-end bullpen with a ton of talent. So Irvin will face the pressure of keeping the game within reach. A meltdown would leave the A’s in the rearview, choking on the Giants’ smoke.
Outfielders Stephen Piscotty and Mark Canha are both on the 10-Day injured list heading into this game.
Long successful in first startGiants fans should be excited for another opportunity to see Sammy Long (4.20 ERA) in action after he snatched a victory in his first big league start against the Philadelphia Phillies. The level of difficulty will rise significantly with him staring down an A’s team with the fourth-best record in the league on Sunday afternoon.
He put the Phillies away in a game where he only allowed four hits and two earned runs in six innings on the mound.
The A’s didn’t look great in the opener, but they will be hell-bent on punching the Giants in the mouth early by taking advantage of the rookie starter. This will be a great opportunity for the young arm to bite down and put away a really good baseball team.
The power-hitting offense of the Giants going head-to-head with Cole Irvin should also make for an interesting matchup. This San Francisco team isn’t shaken up by lefties, but they have hit considerably less homers against them this season.
They can’t afford to go quiet at the plate with Long starting in only his second game. The youngster will need all of the help he can get in this one, especially with Buster Posey, Brandon Belt and Tommy La Stella all banged up.
The top supporting trends for this game, found on Covers.com, are:
- Athletics are 7-2 in their last 9 interleague games.
- Athletics are 7-2 in their last 9 games against teams in the National League West.
- Athletics are 43-15 in their last 58 road games against a left-handed starter.
- Athletics are 42-16 in their last 58 games against a left-handed starter.
- Giants are 3-13 in their last 16 interleague home games against a team with a winning record.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
Sammy Long will run into some trouble against an A’s team that has typically played well on the road this season. That obviously hasn’t been the case in their recent stretch, but they are more than capable of turning it around at the plate when staring down the inexperienced arm of Long in his second ever big league start.
Not only should the A’s be salivating over a chance to crack the rookie pitcher, but they’ve also been at their best offensively against lefties this season. They’re working with a .244/.323/.424 slash line when going head-to-head with left-handed pitchers.
I’m expecting them to come to life a bit offensively, while Cole Irvin avoids a defensive catastrophe on the other end. Oracle Park has been a house of horrors for so many pitchers this season, but Irvin is coming off back-to-back road wins over the Texas Rangers and Colorado Rockies. He’ll do enough to get the job done in San Francisco.
I’m rolling with the A’s on Sunday.
Full-Game Total Pick
Even with Sammy Long on the mound, the Giants’ bullpen still boasts the fifth-best ERA in the league. So I wouldn’t expect things to get too crazy once the A’s start cracking pitches. The Giants are one of the best defensive teams in the league for a reason. However, that effort will be met by an A’s team with the league’s fourth-best run-scoring defense. Opposing teams are only averaging 3.80 runs per game against them away from their home building. Throw in the fact that Cole Irvin has been solid in his last couple of road outings and the under is the wise pick in this one.