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 president: No revenue sharing puts stronger focus on new ballpark

A's president: No revenue sharing puts stronger focus on new ballpark

New A’s president Dave Kaval said Friday in a press conference that the team would do everything in its power to make up for the loss of revenue-sharing money from Major League Baseball, but he did not address how the team’s payroll would be impacted for the time being.

Baseball’s new Collective Bargaining Agreement eliminates the hefty annual check the A’s have received from the more prosperous clubs, reportedly around $35 million last year. That money will be incrementally reduced, with the A’s receiving 25 percent less each of the next four years until it’s phased out completely.

Kaval said the loss of that money simply underscores the importance of the A’s identifying a new ballpark site in Oakland so they can build a stadium to open up new streams of cash. Kaval said he’s walked all of the sites the team is considering around the city, but he didn’t offer a timetable for when a site would be chosen or when construction might begin.

In the meantime, the A’s president stressed repeatedly in a media conference call Friday that all of the revenue the team does generate going forward will be invested back either into the on-field product or the fan experience at The Coliseum.

“I think the key thing is being smart about deploying resources,” Kaval said. “There’s no silver bullet. You have to address a variety of aspects with folks’ interaction with the club.”

He added that could include everything from broadcasting to “the hot dog you eat to players you watch.”

Until a new ballpark becomes reality, the challenge is how the A’s can generate the revenue they’re losing from MLB while still playing in the antiquated Oakland Coliseum, which hardly entices fans to come out and has become the butt of national jokes for numerous plumbing issues.

Kaval mentioned boosting ticket sales and improving sponsorship deals at The Coliseum as two potential revenue streams, though he adamantly declared the A’s won’t be raising ticket prices.

As for how payroll will be affected, if at all, Kaval only said that he’s dedicated “to providing all the tools needed for Billy Beane and David Forst and our baseball operations staff.”

Last season the A’s had an Opening Day payroll of $86.8 million, according to the Cot’s Baseball Contracts website. There’s speculation that that total will shrink due to the loss in revenue sharing.

It’s undeniable that the A’s financial future is tied to finally getting a new ballpark. They’re considering rebuilding on the current Coliseum site, which is complicated until the Raiders’ situation gets resolved, but are also considering locations at Howard Terminal and near Laney College.

Kaval, also president of the San Jose Earthquakes, was instrumental in getting a soccer stadium built for that team. Without talking specific sites, he said he’s spent lots of time driving around and walking all the locations the A’s are considering.

“It’s been exciting to visit the locations, walk them, squint and kind of envision where the stadium would be and the views. And how it could transform the different communities (around) the site.”

He maintains his belief that a “ballpark village” type environment is critical so that fans have motivation to visit the area even when games aren’t being played. Kaval has also said he thinks such a development is possible at The Coliseum.

He was asked if there was a renewed sense of urgency to the ballpark search given the elimination of revenue sharing.

“I think building a ballpark is something you do one time in your life. It’s a generational thing. I think it’s something we want to be very thoughtful about and make the right decision.”

Padres trade former A's All-Star catcher to Nationals

Padres trade former A's All-Star catcher to Nationals

WASHINGTON — The Washington Nationals have reacquired catcher Derek Norris from the San Diego Padres for minor league right-hander Pedro Avila.

Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo announced the trade Friday.

Norris, a 2007 first-round pick of the Nationals, hit .186 with 14 home runs and 42 RBIs last season for San Diego. The 27-year-old is a career .233 hitter in five major league seasons with the Oakland Athletics and Padres.

Washington sent Norris to Oakland for left-hander Gio Gonzalez in 2011. He returns to the Nationals, who avoided arbitration with catcher Jose Lobaton on Thursday.

All-Star catcher Wilson Ramos is a free agent who will miss the start of the season after knee surgery.

Avila, 19, went 7-7 with a 3.48 ERA in 20 starts for Single-A Hagerstown last season.