SAN FRANCISCO — The Oakland Athletics and San Francisco Giants meet as more than just rivals when they begin two sets of three games bridging the All-Star break with a series opener Friday night at AT&T Park.
Veterans Edwin Jackson (1-0, 2.45 ERA) of the A’s and Madison Bumgarner (2-3, 3.09) of the Giants will get the starts in the opener as the San Francisco Bay Area teams hope to continue a recent run of positive results into next week’s break.
The A’s will be wrapping a 10-game road trip that has begun remarkably well, with series wins at American League powers Cleveland (2-1) and Houston (3-1).
They have now won 13 of their last 16 games to put themselves into the heart of the AL wild-card race.
“We’re a confident group and we know we’re capable of playing like this,” A’s outfielder Mark Canha said after contributing two hits and two RBIs to Thursday’s 6-4 win at Houston. “We’re in a mind-set where we come to the field expecting to win every day. It’s kind of a thing that snowballs.”
The Giants also enter the series on a bit of a roll, having recorded two walk-off wins over the Chicago Cubs in their three-game series that ended Wednesday. The Giants have gone 4-3 against the St. Louis Cardinals and Cubs to open a 10-game homestand.
Things are going so well for the Giants, who find themselves a player in the National League wild-card race, that even Thursday’s off day came at just the right time.
“I can tell you these guys are exhausted,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy admitted after Wednesday’s 5-4, 13-inning win over the Cubs. “Look at the schedule. It’s been a grind. A lot of these guys need a break.”
Remarkably, Bumgarner and Jackson, who have combined for 621 career pitching appearances, will be going head-to-head for just the second time.
Jackson got the better of the first meeting, helping the Washington Nationals beat Bumgarner and the Giants 9-4 in 2012.
The 34-year-old Jackson improved his career record against the Giants to 5-4 with a 4.71 ERA in 12 games, including 11 starts, with a 3-1 win last August for the Nationals. He allowed just one run and five hits in six innings.
Jackson has made four starts in San Francisco, going 1-2 with a 2.52 ERA.
One Giant he will not be excited to see is Andrew McCutchen, who has a .385 average (15-for-39) against Jackson, with three doubles, three home runs and nine RBIs in their careers.
Nobody has more than three career homers against Jackson.
He allowed five hits and three runs (two earned) over 5 2/3 innings in Saturday’s start against Cleveland, and did not get a decision in the A’s 6-3 victory.
Bumgarner hasn’t seen the A’s since 2016. He has gone 3-2 with a 5.18 ERA against them in five starts.
In his most recent start this season, Bumgarner gave up seven hits and four runs in 5 1/3 innings but picked up the win in Sunday’s 13-8 victory over the Cardinals.
The clubs have played on even terms in recent years, with the Giants winning the 2015 series and the A’s the 2016 series before they split last year’s four games.
Oakland has dominated interleague competition this season, going 7-2, the third-best record in the majors behind Boston’s 7-1 and Pittsburgh’s 10-2.
The Giants have gone 3-4 in interleague play this season.
The teams will square off again next Friday, Saturday and Sunday, this time in Oakland, in each team’s first games after the All-Star break.