The host Oakland Athletics go for a fifth consecutive win this season over the rival San Francisco Giants when the clubs continue a three-game interleague series Saturday afternoon.
The first-place A’s (32-19) made it four in a row over the Giants on Friday night with a 6-0 win that clinched Oakland’s third consecutive trip to the playoffs.
The Athletics’ magic number for wrapping the American League West is two over the second-place Houston Astros.
Chris Bassitt pitched the first 6 2/3 innings of Oakland’s fourth shutout of the season, then noted afterward there would be no celebrating the mere clinching of a playoff spot for a team that’s been a wild-card entry into the postseason each of the last two seasons.
“Winning the division is the goal every single year,” he said. “This is exciting, but winning the division is going to be a lot bigger for us.
“This was literally another win. We have a lot bigger goals. This team is extremely hungry for a lot bigger things than just making the playoffs.”
Oakland will send left-hander Jesus Luzardo (2-2, 4.32 ERA) in search of a three-game winning streak.
The Giants bombed the 22-year-old when the clubs met in San Francisco last month, knocking him out after 3 1/3 innings in a game Oakland rallied to win 8-7.
It was the only time Luzardo has faced the Giants in his career, leaving him with a 0-0 record and 16.20 ERA against the cross-bay neighbor.
The Giants not only saw their two-game win streak end Friday, but San Francisco (25-25) lost its top spot in the National League wild-card race.
The Giants begin the weekend tied with St. Louis and Cincinnati for the second of two wild-card spots, a half-game behind Philadelphia.
Right-hander Kevin Gausman (3-2, 4.05 ERA) is the Giants’ scheduled starter. He was pulled in the sixth inning of a 7-6 loss to Oakland last month, leaving a 3-3 game at the time.
Gausman, who struck out a season-high 11 in that contest, has made five career starts against the A’s, going 1-2 with a 3.13 ERA.
The Giants played the series opener without starting outfielder Mike Yastrzemski, who sat out due to a calf strain. San Francisco hopes to get him back this weekend while at the same time possibly losing Alex Dickerson to paternity leave.
Yastrzemski sustained his injury in an at-bat during the Giants’ Thursday win over Seattle. He showed up at the ballpark Friday hoping he could help in some way, but manager Gabe Kapler told the media the club would err on the side of being conservative.
“Obviously, I’d rather be playing,” Yastrzemski said Friday. “But if I can’t go, I can’t go, which is unfortunate. Hopefully I’ll get healthy as soon as possible.”
Yastrzemski is one of six Giants who homered in the three games against the A’s in the earlier series. The A’s countered with nine, then added a 10th when Matt Olson belted a three-run shot to account for half the Oakland offense in Friday in a 6-0 win.
The homer was Olson’s third of the season against the Giants.
–Field Level Media