OAKLAND, Calif. — Oakland Athletics fans might have a hard time recognizing their team when it takes the field for the continuation of a four-game series against the San Francisco Giants on Wednesday night.
When last seen in Oakland, the A's were losing six of nine to the Texas Rangers, Los Angeles Angels and Milwaukee Brewers with the likes of Eric Surkamp and Andrew Triggs making one-third of the starts and Max Muncy manning right field on eight occasions.
The A's return Wednesday, just six days later, with left-hander Sean Manaea and right fielder Josh Reddick having rejoined the team off the disabled list, and with lefty Rich Hill scheduled to do the same Saturday.
“We're starting to get a little healthier, which is a good thing,” A's manager Bob Melvin proudly proclaimed Tuesday before Oakland's 13-11 win over the Giants in San Francisco. “And we're starting to play a little better.”
Reddick's return adds a .316-hitting bat to a lineup that is overpowering recent competition. He went 1-for-6 in his first big-league action since May 19.
Shortstop Marcus Semien, left fielder Khris Davis and pinch hitter Jake Smolinski hit home runs at AT&T Park in the two wins, extending the Athletics' streak of games with at least one homer to a season-best seven.
Manaea, who is scheduled to start Wednesday, pitched on the last homestand, but not for long. Staked to a 10-2 lead against Texas in the homestand opener on June 13, he couldn't finish the fifth inning because of a strained left forearm, costing him what surely would have been his third win of the season. Manaea is 2-4 with a 6.02 ERA in nine starts overall, though he is 2-3 with a 4.17 ERA over his past six outings.
A's fans might not recognize the Giants, either, and that is probably a good thing. The Bay Area's other team hasn't played in Oakland since last September, when the Giants added to the Athletics' miseries by taking two of three.
Right-hander Jake Peavy (4-6, 5.22 ERA) will get the start for the Giants on Wednesday. He no stranger to the A's, having faced them four times in his career, going 2-1.
The Giants likely will trek to the east side of the Bay Bridge without second baseman Joe Panik, who reported light-headedness before Tuesday's game and had to be scratched from the lineup.
The Giants fear the condition was a delayed response to Panik getting hit by a pitch in the helmet on June 18 at Tampa Bay.
Panik underwent three concussion tests in the aftermath of the incident and passed them all, which prompted the team to keep him in the lineup. He played seven consecutive games, collecting seven hits, before taking Monday off for non-health reasons.
The Giants plugged Ramiro Pena into Panik's spot in the two San Francisco stops in the series Monday and Tuesday, and he produced four hits.
Pena will pack a team-leading .412 average for the bus ride into Oakland on Wednesday.
Giants manager Bruce Bochy hopes his club doesn't pack anything else from Tuesday's seesaw loss for the short trip.
“This was one of those wild games,” he said after watching his team blow 4-1 and 8-5 leads. “You have one of these games once in a while. Hopefully you come out on top, but we didn't. You have to wash a game like this off.”