SAN FRANCISCO -- This should be an especially rousing Interleague season for the Giants.Their pair of Bay Bridge Series encounters against the Oakland A's always stirs up fans. And the Giants will confront Oakland's American League West counterparts, each inspiring a different, potentially intriguing backstory. Texas and the Giants squared off in the 2010 World Series. Many people connected with the Giants still can't look at the Los Angeles Angels without recalling the heartbreak of the 2002 World Series, which San Francisco lost in seven games. And Seattle will be anything but a random opponent if the stars and planets are aligned to enable Tim Lincecum to face his hometown team.
This year's slate of Giants-A's games has prompted local baseball theorists to suggest that the clubs have switched roles. Though the teams' win-loss records are roughly the same, pundits have suggested that the A's, whose fortunes seemed so hopeless as the year began, are a more energetic and lively crew than the Giants, who have struggled to rise above .500 despite being widely considered a potential playoff contender.Even if those differences do exist, they're likely to evaporate in the charged atmosphere of AT&T Park, where sellout crowds will watch this weekend's three-game series. Home-field advantages definitely exist in this series. The Giants own a nine-game winning streak against Oakland at AT&T Park, while the A's have swept San Francisco in the last pair of three-game sets at the Coliseum. This isn't a major subplot, but it's a subplot nonetheless: The A's claimed left-hander Travis Blackley off waivers from the Giants earlier this week. Roster constraints forced the Giants to designate Blackley for assignment, and he left the organization with manager Bruce Bochy's blessings. Still, knowledgeable observers should sit forward in their seats a little more if Blackley appears in a game this weekend.
Players to watch
|Angel Pagan, CF (.320 BA, .399 OBP, .471 SLG): He'd be a borderline All-Star if all he played were Interleague games.|
|Nate Schierholtz, RF (.319 BA, .843 OPS): Has thrived in Interleague Play since he singled in his first Major League plate appearance against Toronto.|
|Matt Cain (2.62 ERA, .196 OBA), RHP: Based on those numbers, you wouldn't know he's only 7-9 against Interleague foes.|
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.