It's been a long time coming, but the Giants and the A's are once again in the playoffs together and the Bay Area is right in the heart of the MLB Postseason.
The Giants wrapped up their division almost 2 weeks ago, as they hit their surge in August and just ran away with the NL West. For the A's though, it was a longer trek, but it payed off handsomely. First off, up until a few weeks ago, everybody counted Oakland out not just in their division, but the AL Wild Card race as well saying their youth would eventually catch up with them. But much like the Giants did in 2010, the A's just kept getting better and better down the stretch and clinched a wild card spot before overtaking their division on the final day of the season. It capped off an memorable run, as the A's held first place in the AL West for just one day in 2012, but luckily for them, it was the only day that mattered. Now, instead of having to play for their playoff fate in a one-game elimination, the A's will face off with the Detroit Tigers in the best-of-five ALDS, and the A's will have to once again prove they're not just a bunch of kids in over their heads. With the way they've been playing though, I don't think anyone is really counting them out. They have the pitching to help carry them to the finish line, but there is still some question marks surrounding their offense and ability to generate runs without the long ball. The key for them vs. the veteran Detroit bunch will be to ride their energy and keep playing like they have something to prove.
Across the Bay, the Giants haven't played a real meaningful game in weeks, but have their big series with Cincinnati set to start up Saturday night at AT&T Park. For San Francisco, the expectations are much higher, as their fans aren't just happy making it to the dance, they want another tittle. While the Reds are a pretty well balanced squad, their strength lies in their lineup and especially the power department. Obviously, the Giants strength lies in their pitching staff, so this could be another series very similar to the 2010 World Series when the Giants knocked off the Rangers. The Giants will send out their two most consistent arms from this season in Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner and those two have to set the tone for the series. If the Reds come out swinging and put runs up early, it's going to be a tough hole for the Giants to climb out of cause Cinci isn't just an offensive juggernaut. They can pitch too. If Cainer and Bumgarner can throw their typical 7 strong innings and keep the Reds offense to 3 runs or less, then the Giants are going to be in good shape... We'll have more In-depth and day-to-day Giants coverage, over at our Giants Baseball Blog.
Could 2012 be another Bay Bridge Series? Only time will tell, but both these teams are peaking and neither will be tough to knock off.