OAKLAND -- A’s right-hander Jeff Samardzija grinned when asked how he’s feeling in this, the final week of the regular season.
Much criticism of the As Yoenis Cespedes-for-Jon Lester trade has been framed around its creating a certain void in the Oakland offense. Cespedes, people argue, was feared. He took pressure off the other As hitters simply by being in the lineup, with opposing pitchers always cognizant of his ability to change games with one swing. And in big moments, Cespedes seemed to rise to the occasion, relishing the role of hero.
OAKLAND -- Sure, Jerome Williams had pitched well the last time he faced the A’s, throwing six innings and allowing one run in a start against Oakland in July.
OAKLAND -- Sean Doolittle had to wait one night more than he wanted to for a chance to bounce back from his nightmarish outing Wednesday -- when the A’s closer gave up five ninth-inning runs in a blown save against Texas -- and when it came Friday he was prepared.
OAKLAND -- A reeling As team coming off a three-game sweep at the hands of the last-place Texas Rangers gets a potential shot in the arm tonight with the return of Stephen Vogt to the lineup.
SAN FRANCISCO -- Who knows how many times Giants manager Bruce Bochy had pictured what it would be like to summon his son, Brett, from the bullpen into a major-league game, what he might say or what the situation might be, and when it finally came in a historic moment Saturday night, Bruce handed the ball to Brett with these words:
Walt Brown (Lincoln) grew up a fan of the semi-pro Lincoln Potters, listened to Sacramento Solons play-by-play man Tony Koester and called Tony Freitas his favorite player. As a high school senior in 1953, his goal was to become the voice of the Solons.
SAN FRANCISCO - Madison Bumgarner is the anchor. He is to the San Francisco Giants what Clayton Kershaw is to the Dodgers.
SAN FRANCISCO -- For the Giants to pull even with the Dodgers atop the N.L. West tonight and match their longest home winning streak since moving to AT&T Park in 2000, they’ll have to accomplish a first tonight: Win a game started by Zack Greinke.
SAN FRANCISCO -- Asked if this weekend’s Giants-Dodgers series is one of the bigger meetings between the stories rivals in recent seasons, Giants manager Bruce Bochy said with a grin: "No, because we play again -- we’ll be talking about this again in a week."
The last time the Dodgers were at AT&T Park, they handed the Giants a three-game sweep in which the home team managed a total of four runs. It was, however, a Giants team that was reeling and a lineup in flux at the top.
After departing the Giants 5-0 win over the Diamondbacks on Wednesday night, starter Ryan Vogelsong said he returned to the clubhouse, where he found fellow right-hander Tim Hudson, and remarked to Hudson: "Man, this game will just drive you nuts."
SAN FRANCISCO -- Giants first baseman Brandon Belt flew to Pittsburgh today for a Thursday appointment with concussion specialist Dr. Michael Collins, with hopes that when he returns it’ll be with the all-clear to face live pitching for the first time in more than a month.
The Vermont Lake Monsters and Oakland Athletics are extending their player-development contract by two years.
The loss of closer Sean Doolittle to a strained intercostal muscle Aug. 24 appeared costly at the time, but was a little-discussed topic in the ensuing two weeks. Largely because of the A’s 4-9 record during that stretch, entering Sunday they had faced only one save situation in Doolittle's absence, which Eric O’Flaherty secured Aug. 27 in Houston.
OAKLAND -- Ryan Cook motioned reporters to his locker, waited for them to gather and didn’t mince words answering for his ninth-inning letdown in the A’s 4-3 loss Sunday.
Professional baseball has a long, storied and checkered history in Sacramento.