The host San Francisco Giants and especially the Oakland Athletics hope to bring more offense to the return of full-capacity baseball in the Bay Area when the clubs meet on Saturday night.
Pitching dominated in front of 36,928 fans on Friday night in the first game in the Bay Area since the re-opening of the state of California earlier this week.
Giants manager Gabe Kapler thought the big crowd played a key role in his team’s 2-0 win, especially in how the fans supported veteran pitcher Johnny Cueto.
“As expected, Johnny drew on the energy of the fans in the ballpark,” Kapler said of the five-hit performance over seven innings. “As the game went on, it seemed like the fans were more and more influential and energizing. I think it was special for the players.”
The Giants hope left-hander Alex Wood (6-3, 4.09 ERA) can ride that same wave when he attempts to extend San Francisco’s winning streak to five games.
Wood is coming off one of his worst outings of the season, having allowed six runs (four earned) in three innings in a 13-6 home loss to the Philadelphia Phillies last Saturday.
He hasn’t had much luck against Oakland in his career, going 1-2 with a 7.04 ERA in three starts.
Wood could benefit from the fact that the A’s will be without outfielder Mark Canha, who is out indefinitely with tendinitis in his left hip.
Canha has gone 3-for-5 in his career against Wood.
If the series opener can be trusted, Wood would be advised to pay particular attention to Oakland pitcher Frankie Montas despite his lifetime 0-for-8 batting record with five strikeouts.
Sean Manaea had just one career hit before recording a double and a single against Cueto in the series opener. The hits helped create Oakland’s two best scoring opportunities against the right-hander.
A’s manager Bob Melvin admitted after the game that he hadn’t expected to be worried about Manaea getting fatigued at a time when he was used to resting as his teammates batted.
“You always worry about an American League pitcher who doesn’t get to hit a lot, what happens on the bases,” Melvin said. “Then he has to beat one out (an infield hit), too. You worry about how he’s doing about having to use his legs a little bit more than he usually does in a game.
“But he’s fine. He pitched great.”
Like Wood, Montas (7-7, 4.79) will be seeking to bounce back after a poor outing. He was drilled for eight runs in 5 2/3 innings in an 8-3 loss at the Texas Rangers on Monday.
Montas not only has yet to face San Francisco, but he’s never even gone head-to-head with any current Giants hitter. He does have 12 games of interleague experience, including nine starts, going 3-5 with an 8.04 ERA in those outings.
One guy Montas can expect to see is Giants catcher Buster Posey, who was a late scratch from Friday’s game because of lower-back soreness.
Kapler disclosed after the win that the Giants do not consider the injury to be serious and that he plans to pencil in his All-Star candidate once again in the rematch.
–Field Level Media