The visiting San Francisco Giants will put their home run-hitting bats up against an Oakland Athletics pitcher who has been stingy at giving up the long ball of late when the geographic rivals duel in the finale of a three-game series on Sunday afternoon.
A pair of hot right-handers — the Giants’ Logan Webb (7-3, 2.92) and Frankie Montas (9-9, 4.04) of the A’s — are scheduled to face off with this series, the season series, bragging rights and position in their respective division races on the line.
San Francisco was two outs from losing the first two games of this series before LaMonte Wade Jr. belted a two-run home run in the ninth inning Saturday to produce a 6-5 win. The A’s had taken the opener 4-1.
The Giants lead the season series 3-2, and also lead the National League West by 1 1/2 games over the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The A’s, who swept San Francisco 4-0 in the so-called Earthquake Series of 1989, will take the field 3 1/2 games back of the Houston Astros in the American League West.
Wade’s homer was the fourth of the day for the Giants, who are tied with the Toronto Blue Jays for the major-league lead as a team with 186.
Wade figures to bat leadoff on Sunday, as he did against a right-hander in the series opener. He came off the bench as a pinch-hitter Saturday in a game started by Oakland lefty Sean Manaea.
Giants manager Gabe Kapler noted after Wade’s heroics that his goal in the leadoff at-bat Sunday will be the same as it was in the ninth inning Saturday.
“The reason I like LaMonte coming up in a big moment like that, cold off the bench, is because of the way he leads off a game,” Kapler explained. “He leads off a game ready from Pitch 1. It’s no fake discipline. (The mentality is:) I’m looking for a pitch to drive. That’s also the way we want to approach pinch-hit at-bats.”
Wade has faced Montas just three times in his career, those at-bats coming in a June meeting in San Francisco. The Giants trailed 1-0 before Wade, 0-for-2 at the time, launched a two-run homer to right field, helping the home team to a 6-5 win.
Montas did not get a decision in the loss, his only career head-to-head with the Giants. He allowed just the two runs in five innings.
The 28-year-old hasn’t allowed a homer in any of his past four starts, a stretch during which he has posted a 2.63 ERA.
That said, A’s manager Bob Melvin knows all his pitchers need to fear San Francisco’s power.
“You gotta be pretty fine. That’s a pretty good home run-hitting team,” he observed after Saturday’s loss. “That’s the way they scored basically everything (Saturday). When they got some mistakes, they took advantage of them.”
A Northern California native, Webb, 24, is 0-2 with a 9.49 ERA in three career starts against the A’s.
He has been one of baseball’s best pitchers since May 11, having gone 6-0 with a 1.64 ERA in 11 starts.
–Field Level Media