Both the San Francisco Giants and the Oakland Athletics are in the hunt for a playoff spot, but for both, if the season ended today they would be on the outside looking in. The Giants currently sit 4 games out of the NL West lead, but that is only good enough for 4th in the crowded division. The A’s sit a little further out in their division, but sit only three games out of a wild card spot. The two will meet for the first game of a three game interleague series when the San Francisco Giants (50-48) travel to the Coliseum to take on the Oakland Athletics (55-42). The Giants will send Dereck Rodriguez (4-1, 2.89 ERA) to the mound to take on the A’s Edwin Jackson (1-1, 2.59 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 9:35 pm ET.
The moneyline for Friday’s game is set at the San Francisco Giants +115 andthe Oakland Athletics -125. The over/under for runs scored is set at 9.
Giants Looking To Make Post-Break Push In NL West
The Giants are looking to turn around a rough July that has seen them start 6-8, including losing two of three to the Athletics right before the All-Star break. To do so, they will look to Dereck Rodriguez to get them started on the right foot. On the season, Rodriguez is 4-1 with a 2.89 ERA, 1.24 WHIP and opponents are hitting .249 against him. In 46.2 innings, he has struck out 37 and walked 13.
He has been one of a few saviors for a pitching staff that has been without Bumgarner, Cueto and Samardzija at different points throughout the season. In his last start, he took a no decision in a 3-2 win over the Cardinals, going 6.2 innings, giving up 2 earned runs and striking out one. In fact, in his last three starts, he has given up only 3 total earned runs in a combined 20 innings.
Offensively, the Giants have had some hitters who have had success against Edwin Jackson in their career. Andrew McCutchen is hitting .433 against him over 30 at bats with a home run and 7 runs batted in. Hunter Pence, Pablo Sandoval and Nick Hundley are also batting .308 or higher against Jackson.
Surging Athletics Chasing Down Wild Card and Division
A July that has seen the Athletics start off 9-4 has them surging back into contention for a playoff berth. The Athletics have won series against the Giants, Astros, Indians and Padres this month. Part of the reason for this has been pitching, particularly at the back end of their bullpen. Blake Treinen and Lou Trivino are quickly turning into one of the most dynamic 1-2 punches in baseball. Trivino is 7-1 with a 1.22 ERA, 0.95 WHIP and opponents are hitting just .152 against him. In 44.1 innings pitched he has 50 strikeouts. Not to be outdone, Treinen is 5-2 with 24 saves, a 0.94 ERA, 0.98 WHIP and opponents are hitting .174 against him. In 48 innings, he has 61 strikeouts. For this reason, it is no wonder why they are almost unbeatable win winning late in games.
The Athletics have been pretty darn good on the offensive side too. Over the last 30 days, Stephen Piscotty has been one of the hotter hitters in all of baseball. In that time, he is hitting .318/.381/.659 with a 1.041 OPS. He also has 7 home runs, 16 runs batted in and 17 runs scored over that span. All-Star Jed Lowrie has also been pretty solid over the last 30 days. He is hitting .291/.404/.582 with a .987 OPS in that time. He has also added 6 home runs, 17 runs batted in and 14 runs scored. While the Athletics don’t blow you away with star power, they are a very deep team that has a serious chance of playing in October.
Giants Take The First Of Three
There is just something that I like about the Giants in this one. First, I don’t trust Edwin Jackson. Yes, he has had a really nice season thus far and his numbers have been pretty impressive, but I don’t think he can sustain it for the rest of the season. Additionally, not only has Rodriguez pitched very well this season, but no one on the Athletics has ever had an at bat against him, which gives him a slight advantage. The Athletics have been playing really good ball this month and it is tough to bet against them, but I have to take the Giants at +115 in game one.