Today marks the beginning of the “Battle of the Bay” regular season contests between the Oakland Athletics and the San Francisco Giants. They are always intense games, more so for the fans than the players.
Both teams have passionate fan bases (although one team’s fans are much more knowledgeable than the others) and the cross-bay rivalry always gets heated. It’s been a battle since the original “Battle of the Bay” World Series in 1989. The Athletics swept the Giants in four games.
Many a Giants fan will blame the enormous earthquake that rocked the Bay Area just before the beginning of Game 3 as the reason their team lost. Many have told me that it was unfair because the A’s were able to use their top two starters twice; Dave Stewart and Mike Moore, due to the 11-day break the series took so the Bay Area could begin to recover from the death and destruction the earthquake brought with it.
The reality here is that the Giants also were able to use their two best starting pitchers Scott Garrelts and Rick Reuschel so really the argument doesn’t hold water. They start Garrelts in Game 3 and Don Robinson in Game 4, that was their choice. It only says that at that time the A’s had a better pair of top two starters or just a better team as described by Tim Keown of ESPN.com,
“Games 3 and 4 were repeats of Games 1 and 2. The Giants had to face Dave Stewart and Mike Moore all over again, which meant it wasn’t really a seven-game series, but more like a pair of two-game series, and the Giants weren’t built to compete with the A’s under those — or maybe any — parameters. The A’s were the better team regardless of schedule, but the Giants of ’89 will go to their graves believing they’d have made a better showing if they’d been able to get deeper into the Oakland rotation.”
Still, the A’s would have likely swept the Giants anyway as Keown indicates. The 1990 AL Cy Young Award winner and the last pitcher to ever win at least 25 games in a season, Bob Welch (he won 27 games in 1990), would have pitched game three and likely taken home the win.
Things have changed in the Bay Area since then, but the rivalry has not changed. One game out of four is already in the books with the Athletics winning by the score of 8-3 but there is plenty more Bay Area baseball to play!
For a full preview of this week’s Battle of the Bay on BBST CLICK HERE!
The Oakland A’s already completely depleted starting rotation may have lost another member Monday night. Sean Manaea left the game early. with forearm soreness.
The seriousness of the injury is thus far unknown, however, the A’s medical staff has said that they believe the injury to Manaea’s forearm to be a strained pronator muscle and not necessarily ligament damage. However, the full diagnosis will not be known until the team gets the results of his MRI on Tuesday.
When most people hear the words “forearm soreness” their mind automatically jumps to a torn ulnar collateral ligament and Tommy John surgery.
In the fifth inning of Monday’s 14-5 rout of the Texas Rangers, after having just given up a home run to Shin-Soo Choo, that’s where Manea’s mind went.
“My first thought was [that] it’s pretty scary, just because you hear about forearm stuff all the time and TJ,” Manaea said. “That word, I try not to think about it. But from what they told me, it’s nothing too serious.”
This wasn’t the first time Manaea had felt the pain in his forearm. It had bothered him a bit at Triple-A Nashville earlier in the season but this was more intense.
A’s manager Bob Melvin said that he and the rest of the coaching staff could tell that something was off with Manaea, as they were having trouble distinguishing between Manaea’s fastball and changeup. He throws a hard changeup so they continued to watch but after the home run to Choo, it was apparent to them that it was time for a visit to the mound.