We have time to squeeze one more play in before the all-star break. Oakland and San Francisco will begin play at 1:10 local time (4:10 on the East Coast) along with two other of the final games of baseball’s unofficial first half.
A couple of tricky young left-handers will oppose each other in the rubber match of this three-gamer series before both teams get some time off and prepare to resume the head-to-head series at the Oakland Coliseum after the break.
Twelve games over .500 entering Sunday, Oakland sits a full 9.0 games back in the AL West, while San Fran, three games above sea level, finds itself just 3.5 back in a crowded NL West with three teams ahead of it. The Giants are small favorites on Sunday afternoon.
Sean Manaea failed to sustain his incredible April in May, when he stumbled and gave up at least four earned runs in five of his six starts. He has seemed to even out and find a consistent performance level since then, though.
In his seven starts since the calendar turned to June, Manaea has yet to give up more than three runs in any outing. Five times he’s completed at least six innings, one he pitched into the sixth and in his last outing he battled, but could only get 12 outs against the mighty Houston Astros.
The challenge for Oakland’s pitching staff won’t be starting the game, but potentially ending it. The break is right after this game so Bob Melvin could push his bullpen a little more than he might otherwise, but his three best relief pitchers threw last night. Yusmiero Petit and Lou Trivino each went at least two innings and Blake Treinen had a high-volume ninth inning for his 24th save.
The Giants will start their rookie, Andrew Suarez. Suarez has been on quite the roll of late, going at least five innings (and at least six in four) in his last six starts and not allowing more than two runs in any of them. Overall, he’s given up eight runs in 36 innings over that run. He’s been especially good at home in the last two months, including six innings of three-hit ball against the Cubs in his last start.
The under is certainly tempting. I have it a little closer to 7.5 than the bookmakers currently do, but given the uncertain state of Oakland’s bullpen after Manaea, I’m going to play San Francisco because it’s at home in a matchup that seemingly looks even in the starting pitching matchup. There’s still a long time left in the regular season and the Giants have to feel like they’re in it to win it in the NL West.
Play: San Francisco -120