Giants vs. A's: Who has the advantage?


Giants vs. A's: Who has the advantage?

Programming note: Giants-A's coverage begins tonight at 6:30 p.m. with A's Pregame Live on Comcast SportsNet California!

The second leg of the Battle of the Bay series begins Friday at the Coliseum. The Giants took the first series in decisive fashion -- winning two of three. Those games were played in San Francisco. The A's hold the all-time series lead 46-43.Home FieldIn Oakland, the A's will have the home field advantage. The Giants haven't won in the East Bay since June 24, 2009. The A's will be looking for their seventh-straight win over SF on their turf. Advantage: A'sMomentumThe Giants have lost their last two games, and have won four of their last 10. The A's are on a three-game winning streak, having just swept the NL-best Dodgers. They have won eight of their last 10 games. The Giants were off on Thursday, while the A's beat the Dodgers on a day in which reigning NL Cy Young Clayton Kershaw started -- winning the game on a three-run walkoff homer by Yoenis Cespedes. The Giants have rest on their side, but the A's have the momentum. Advantage: A'sOffenseThe East Bay leg of this series brings the designated hitter into play. It is also worth noting that neither team had their top weapons available in the previous series. Pablo Sandoval missed the prior battle while recovering from hand surgery, and Cespedes had a hand injury as well. When these teams last met in SF, Melky Cabrera torched the A's -- going 8 for 11 with a double. The DH also lets the Giants keep Buster Posey in the lineup. The A's didn't have either of their Brandons -- Inge or Moss -- in the last meeting. Moss has clubbed seven home runs since joining the A's. That is more than every Giants first baseman has combined. Advantage: EVENTim Lincecum (2-8, 6.19 ERA) vs. Jarrod Parker (3-3, 2.82 ERA) Lincecum is in a freakish funk right now. He has allowed 14 runs in his last 16 innings pitched. He was also defeated by the A's in their previous meeting. Prior to that start, he had a 1.38 ERA against Oakland, and was 5-1, with three complete games -- two of which were shutouts. Parker is pitching on extra rest and coming off a start at hitter-friendly Coors Field, where he threw seven shutout innings. The young righty has a little extra motivation against the Giants -- who rocked him for six runs and knocked him out in the third inning on May 18. Parker has allowed two runs or less in all but two of his starts. He was pitching with the flu on that day. He'll be looking to prove that outing was a fluke. Advantage: ParkerMadison Bumgarner (8-4, 2.92 ERA) vs. Tyson Ross (2-6, 6.11 ERA) Bumgarner, 22 is becoming one of the games toughest left-handed pitchers. The A's will have their work cut out against him on Saturday. The A's have never faced him before. Coincidentally Bumgarner was born in 1989, the year the A's and Giants met in the World Series. Ross, 25, was three during that World Series. He grew up on 66th Street in Oakland, and is familiar with the A's and Giants rivalry. He has been ping-ponging back and forth between the Major Leagues and Triple-A this season. He faced the Giants in SF on May 19, he lost the game but threw six innings, and allowed two runs. The A's didn't score in that game. Advantage: BumgarnerMatt Cain (9-2, 2.34 ERA) vs. Brandon McCarthy (6-3, 2.54) This match up is the toughest to call. Sure, Cain is undoubtedly one of the best pitchers in the game today -- he did just throw a perfect game after all -- but McCarthy is on fire lately. Cain is coming off an uncharacteristically mediocre start against the Angels, giving up three runs, six hits, and three walks in just five innings. McCarthy is on a career-best six-game win streak. The reason I am giving Cain the edge here is because he is "the horse." The Giants will ride Cain well over 100 pitches, while McCarthy will be on a strict pitch count. He will likely be held to 90 or fewer pitches after experiencing shoulder issues over the last month. Advantage: CainWho has the series advantage? You make the call

A's 17-year-old prospect 'Lazarito' makes Cactus League debut

A's 17-year-old prospect 'Lazarito' makes Cactus League debut

Lazaro Armenteros, the A’s 17-year-old stud outfield prospect better known as “Lazarito,” is believed to have become the youngest player in franchise history to appear in a Cactus League game.

Armenteros entered at the DH spot in the eighth against the Dodgers and went 0-for-2, flying out to right-center and popping up to shallow center. With the A’s short on position players, Armenteros was brought over from minor league camp and got a little exposure to the big league environment.

“He’s quite athletic, and I know they love him over there” at minor league camp, A's manager Bob Melvin recently said.

Armenteros also got a chance to mingle with Dodger outfielder (and fellow Cuban) Yasiel Puig before the game.

“Over there (in Cuba) you kind of play the game because you like it and you enjoy it,” Armenteros recently said through interpreter Juan Dorado. “Here, it’s more like a job. There’s more preparation.”

Armenteros will stay in Arizona through extended spring training and then head to play in the Dominican Summer League.

A's spring training Day 40: Manaea downplays struggles after walking five

A's spring training Day 40: Manaea downplays struggles after walking five

MESA, Ariz. — Something flipped a switch inside Sean Manaea in the third inning Saturday, and the A’s left-hander pitched with the aggressiveness he’s shown most of spring training.

It was a different story before that, as Manaea issued five walks, two of them forcing in runs, against the Cincinnati Reds. His final Cactus League outing ended after just three innings, his pitch count at more than 70, and he was charged with five earned runs.

“I was trying to nibble at the corners too much,” Manaea said. “The third inning I finally just said, ‘Throw it right down the middle and let them hit it.’”

The plan was to get Manaea close to 90 pitches, so he went to the bullpen and threw 10 more after he was pulled from the game. He entered the day with a 2.81 ERA in his first five outings, walking just one in each of those games.

He downplayed his struggles Saturday in Oakland’s 11-6 split-squad defeat at Hohokam Stadium, and manager Bob Melvin wasn’t expressing major concern either.

“He was just out of sync,” Melvin said. “Typically you don’t see him walk guys like that, let alone multiple guys in a row. It was just a tough day for him. We wanted to try to get him close to 90 pitches. But when you’re throwing that many pitches in three innings, I just couldn’t risk sending him back out there.”

Manaea was stressing the positives of his camp afterward. As he preps for one final tune-up start at AT&T Park against the Giants in the Bay Bridge Series, he particularly likes the way his slider has rounded into form.

“Just being able to have that confidence to throw it for a strike and get weak ground balls and swings and misses, it’s huge,” he said.

CAMP BATTLE: The A’s lost their other split-squad matchup by an identical 11-6 score to the Dodgers in Glendale. Jesse Hahn took the hill and struggled for the second consecutive outing, allowing two homers — including a grand slam by Andrew Toles — and surrendering seven runs (five earned) over 3 1/3 innings. Competing for one of two open rotation spots, Hahn hasn’t shown his best in the Cactus League stretch run. He gave up seven runs against Colorado in his previous start.

ODDS AND ENDS: Third baseman Trevor Plouffe had two more hits against the Reds to raise his average to .425 but left the game after tweaking an abductor muscle in his lower body. “He felt like he’s OK. We just didn’t wanna risk that,” Melvin said. … Rajai Davis connected for his first spring home run and scored three runs. … Sean Doolittle gave up two runs in his inning of work but struck out three. He sported his new eyeglasses for the first time in a major league game. … Matt Chapman hit a three-run homer off former Athletic Rich Hill in the game at Glendale.