Oakland Athletics Outmatched By Giants In San Francisco
By Mark Sigmon
Oakland Athletics Outmatched By San Francisco Giants At AT&T Park
The first couple games in the Bay Bridge Series have illuminated a few trends among the Oakland Athletics (and the Giants). For the A’s, the defense continues to be a work in progress. On the plus side, Yonder Alonso can seriously pick it at first base. Marcus Semien and Danny Valencia tested him a few times. Alonso’s glove is going to save the A’s infielders more than a few errors this year.
The pitchers are ahead of the hitters at this point. After Billy Burns‘ leadoff triple, Jeff Samardzija completely shut down the A’s. Conversely, Jake Peavy was not nearly as sharp, as the Giants’ defense bailed him out constantly. Chris Bassitt looked great, whereas Kendall Graveman almost had me going to the Warriors game after his first three batters, but he settled down. The young A’s rotation is going to be a lot of fun to watch this year. The bullpen was also pretty sharp in both games.
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Offensively, the A’s hit a couple balls very hard, but the Giants outfielders were able to run them down. Even though the A’s had nine hitters to the Giants’ eight, the Giants were just a little better at scratching out runs.
The Giants are designed to do well at AT&T Park. Although Hunter Pence looked like he underestimated Billy Burns’ lead-off triple, it was like riding a bike for him after that. With Pence playing right center, Denard Span in center, and Angel Pagan in left, not many hits are going to drop in at AT&T. On Oakland’s side, Josh Reddick did not look comfortable playing right in AT&T, as he sometimes struggled to field against the Giants’ spray hitters; they can drive the ball into the gaps, but not over the fence. The Giants’ do not have much power this year. It is easy to see that the cold, damp nights at AT&T will negate opposing teams’ power. The Giants are designed to have success at AT&T. The A’s, not so much.
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The umpires had some good moments and some bad moments. It will be interesting to see how the new rules will be enforced this year. One of my pet peeves has been runners using a take-out slide on a middle infielder during a double play. Per the new sliding rules implemented by MLB this year, the umpires are calling the automatic double play if a runner slides and ends up nowhere near second base. I do not think it’s a “new” rule, the umps are just determined to enforce the old rule this year. One of the new rules is that the “neighborhood play” is now open to instant replay for the first time. So if the umps are going to make the shortstop or second baseman actually tag the bag, they have to protect the middle infielders. I think it will make the game a little sharper.
One final note, Buster Posey‘s Toyota commercials make me want to buy stock in Honda.