Oakland Athletics set to take on Giants in Bay Bridge series matchup

The Oakland Athletics will take on the San Francisco Giants this evening
San Francisco Giants
San Francisco Giants / Jerry Driendl/GettyImages

The Oakland Athletics are set to take on the San Francisco Giants in the second of two games in the Bay Bridge preseason series. First pitch is scheduled for 5:05 pm PST, and the game is available to stream for free on MLB.com.

Paul Blackburn is set to take the mound for the Athletics tonight in his final spring training appearance of the year. He's been good so far, posting a 3.00 ERA in 12 innings and an 8/2 strikeout to walk ratio.

We've written several times about the importance of Blackburn to this 2024 A's squad. We can say with confidence that he'll be solid when he's on the mound. Whether he can stay healthy for the entire season is another matter.

Blackburn has yet to pitch a full season in the majors. Entering his age 30 season, he's topped out at 111.1 innings and has only surpassed the 100 inning mark twice, despite pitching in parts of 7 seasons in Oakland.

With just two seasons left before hitting free agency, Blackburn could use a strong season on his resume. If he's having a good year, there will likely be plenty of talk about the Athletics moving him before the trade deadline.

But regardless of if they decide to trade him or not, you'd have to think that Blackburn needs to have at least one full season's worth of work entering free agency in order to get a multi-year contract. We'll see if he can finish spring training on a high note and enter the 2024 season with a full head of steam.

In what will be the Athletics' final spring training outing, Mark Kotsay sends out a lineup not far off what we could see on Opening Day. Carlos Perez gets the start behind the plate, giving Shea Langeliers an extra day off before getting the regular season underway on Thursday. And Brent Rooker will get the night off in order to get both Darell Hernaiz and JD Davis a few more plate appearances while they're available for the taking.

The Giants send righty Spencer Howard to the mound tonight. Howard has thrown 9.4 innings in 4 spring training games, pitching to a pristine 1.86 ERA with 8 strikeouts and 5 walks. He's an unlikely candidate to make the Opening Day roster and is not currently on the 40-man, but has been pitching well enough to warrant potential consideration.

After a 4-1 loss last night, we'll see if the Athletics can level the series at one game apiece with a victory tonight.