Giants ace Madison Bumgarner will be on the mound and in the batter's box in an American League ballpark as the A's look to sweep this year's Bay Bridge Series at the Coliseum.
Bumgarner, who has lobbied to hit in this year's Home Run Derby, has two homers this season. With him in the lineup, it will be the first time a team has forfeited its right to a designated hitter since 1976.
On the mound, Bumgarner's ERA (1.99) trails only Clayton Kershaw's league-leading mark of 1.79 and is one of several exceptional numbers he's posted through 17 starts. The lefty's fourth among all starters in strikeouts (122), has walked only 29 batters, and has thrown the sixth-most innings this season (108 1/3).
Bumgarner has lost his last two starts, however, including a 3-2 decision against the Phillies on Saturday. He gave up three runs on five hits over 6 1/3 innings, marking the first time he's given up more than two earned runs in a start since April 15 against the Dodgers. Bumgarner held Philadelphia scoreless over the first six innings Saturday before losing control in the seventh.
Oakland counters with rookie Dillon Overton in his second career start. He won his debut Saturday against the Angels, working around back-to-back homers by Kole Calhoun and Mike Trout in the first inning, allowing three runs on seven hits over 5 1/3 innings.
"Trout welcomed me to the big leagues pretty quickly," Overton joked Wednesday.
Overton, a University of Oklahoma product, said he's excited to take part in the Bay Area's baseball rivalry, saying the atmosphere is similar to the storied rivalry between Oklahoma and the University of Texas. That he's facing one of the league's best pitchers and a fellow lefty is an added bonus for Overton, who said that he's watched Bumgarner plenty of times over the past several years despite not sharing a similar pitching style.
"I don't usually try to mimic anything from any other pitchers," Overton said. "I just watch him and try to soak it in like a sponge a little bit, and just take it and put it into my game the way it fits."
Overton is already the fifth rookie to make a start this year for the A's. He was 8-4 with a 3.01 ERA in 14 games (13 starts) this season in Triple-A.
Three things to know about this game
• Bumgarner has struggled against the A's in his career, going 2-2 with a 5.06 ERA in four starts. Three of those came at the Coliseum, where he's 1-2 with a 6.41 ERA.
• No A's batter has faced Bumgarner more than Jed Lowrie, who is 4-for-15 (.267) overall.
• A's closer Ryan Madson will most likely be unavailable for a second straight day Thursday after throwing 43 pitches in a two-inning save Tuesday in a wild 13-11 win.