When the 60-game regular-season schedule was released, not many people had this game circled as a matchup between two playoff teams. The San Francisco Giants have been one of baseball’s biggest surprises this season as they cling onto a Wild Card spot in the NL Playoffs despite having a record below .500 for the season. Oakland officially clinched a spot in the playoffs and are getting close to clinching the AL West and guaranteeing a top-three seed in the playoffs. In a battle of number one starters, the Giants will have Johnny Cueto on the hill. He is battling hip tightness but is able to pitch through it while Oakland has yet to announce their starting pitcher.
Both pitchers faced off against each other on August 14 where the Athletics picked up an 8-7 victory in 10 innings. Cueto threw his best game of the season thus far by allowing only two runs in seven innings of work. This game looks different though as Matt Chapman will miss the remainder of the season after needing hip surgery earlier this week and Chad Pinder is out with a strained hamstring for the Athletics. San Francisco seems to be the more healthy lineup going into this one with the injuries seeming to be more on the pitching side.
Giants Slug Off SouthpawsThe San Francisco Giants offense sees the ball well off of left-handed pitching. The team is tied for the fifth-most total bases off lefties with 236. They are also third in baseball with at-bats per homer off southpaws with 18.35 at-bats for every longball they hit. Wilmer Flores and Mike Yastrzemski both have five homers against the left-handed pitchers this season. San Francisco has five hitters (Austin Slater, Wilmer Flores, Evan Longoria, Yastrzemski, and Darin Ruf) with at least a .900 OPS against left-handed pitchers. This could neutralize manager Bob Melvin’s options in the bullpen but spoiler alert, it doesn’t matter who he brings in. The Athletics have three lefties in the bullpen currently with Jake Diekman, TJ McFarland, and Mike Minor (who is listed as their long reliever) so be prepared for a fun matchup in the later innings of the game.
Don’t Let Luzardo Leave the GameUsually, a team’s game plan is to make the opposing starting pitcher work long innings and get to the bullpen, the Giants can’t let that happen. Oakland has one of the best bullpens in baseball this season as their relievers are leading the league with a .198 batting average against. They also don’t let teams score with a 2.12 ERA. For reference, the Los Angeles Dodgers are 2nd with a 2.77 bullpen ERA. These guys are great with their command as they have the fewest hit batters and the second-fewest walks allowed.
Oakland has their dominant bullpen with names you may not know. Jake Diekman has allowed no runs and seven hits in 17.1 innings of work. They have guys with name value like Liam Hendriks, Yusmeiro Petit, Lou Trivino, and Joakim Soria that have had solid seasons thus far. This bullpen would have even crazier numbers if Jesus Luzardo and Mike Minor didn’t allow five runs in 7.2 innings combined from there.
- Oakland: 19-7 at home
- Oakland: 23-18 against RHP
- San Francisco: 9-16 on the road
- San Francisco: 5-15 against teams over .500
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Even though it seems that San Francisco will eventually end up with one of the NL Wild Card spots, Oakland will come out with the win in this one. The Athletics could score a couple of runs off of Cueto and the bullpen won’t allow a blown lead to happen. The Athletics could end up clinching in AL West in this game as San Francisco doesn’t win against good teams. Put your money on Oakland and reap the rewards.
Full-Game Total Pick
It’s difficult to predict the over/under when one team hasn’t announced their starting pitcher but it seems like the information still leans on the under. Oakland’s bullpen is the best in baseball and San Francisco struggles on the road. The Giants score four runs per game on the road while Oakland also scores four runs per game at home. Neither team scores much in the first half of the game so expect the under to hit.