Bay Area Sports Beat: What You Need to Know Right Now
Way to take the “battle” part out of the Battle of the Bay, Oakland.
The San Francisco Giants and Oakland A’s met last week in the annual Bay Bridge Series. A battle it was not.
Oakland took three of four games from its crossbay rivals, with each team playing host to two games.
It made sense that the A’s would dump the Giants, as it signified upward and downward trends affecting both sides of the Bay Area.
Since good news usually precedes the bad in that game, let’s start with the A’s.
The streaky A’s were already riding high when they met the Giants. Through Saturday, they’ve won 14 of their last 16 games and are nipping at the heels of the first-place Texas Rangers (two games behind).
They took the first three games from the Giants, winning 4-1, 6-3, and 9-6 before dropping the finale 5-2. Then they followed that up with a three-game sweep over the visiting Chicago White Sox.
Athletics reliever Sean Doolittle didn’t mind rubbing a bit of series-related salt in the wounds of the struggling Giants.
“I didn’t watch much of the playoffs, but I heard they won the World Series,” he told the San Francisco Chronicle after Tuesday’s win. “Having the defending world champion in our building, crosstown rivals, guys get fired up for that. It was a packed house, an awesome environment and a big win for us.”
And about those aforementioned wounds…
The Giants have rocked their collective struggle faces in recent weeks, as the team has fallen out of first place in the NL West and is tied for second with the Colorado Rockies.
As if losing Bay Area bragging rights to the A’s wasn’t bad enough, they then were on the wrong end of revenge-exacting by the St. Louis Cardinals in the form of 8-0 and 7-1 defeats in Saturday’s doubleheader.
Matters were made worse considering the Giants’ top two starters, Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner, started each of the games.
“It’s a tough day. No getting around it,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy told the Chronicle. “We scored one run, and they played great. We ran into two really well-pitched games. You have to play real well to win those. It just got away from us.”
They salvaged the series with a 4-2 win on Sunday, snapping a six-game losing streak where they had only scored seven runs.
AT&T Park will never look so good to the Giants, who play host to the Blue Jays on Tuesday and Wednesday before embarking on a nine-game road trip.
Same (sad) story for the Sharks
The San Jose Sharks have been tantalizing to their fiercely loyal fanbase.
On one hand, they’ve made it to the postseason for nine consecutive seasons, keeping puck fans’ interest into the summer.
On the other hand, they continue to break the hearts of said fanbase.
Tuesday was no different. In a back-and-forth series, the Sharks fell in Game 7 of the Western Conference Semifinals 2-1 to Southern California nemesis and defending Stanley Cup champions, the Los Angeles Kings.
For the Sharks, they were considered also-rans most of the year, but surged into the playoffs and surprisingly swept the favored Vancouver Canucks in the first round.
In the end, Staples Center proved to be their downfall, as they won all three of their games against the Kings at HP Pavilion, but failed to topple the Kings on their home ice in four tries.
“It’s heartbreaking,” center Logan Couture told the Associated Press. “It’s tough. It’s been a long year. We battled hard to get where we were. We made some changes and played a good first round then forced, I think the best team in the league, to seven games and almost beat them in their building. It’s tough to take.”
Heartbreak is 140 characters away: @seanswaby