What we're watching: Giants aim for critical sweep

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– Last night’s brawl will probably go down as an isolated incident, but there is the chance that some bad blood will spill over when the Blue Jays and Yankees face off again tonight. The pitching change makes it a little more likely. This was supposed to be a matchup of lefties Brian Tallet and Andy Pettitte, but Pettitte was scratched due to a shoulder issue and will be replaced by wild righty Chad Gaudin. Starting against the Jays 13 days ago, Gaudin hit two batters and walked three in 3 2/3 innings.
– Maybe it’s time for the Rangers to start rooting for Boston? If the Red Sox can beat the Angels again, they’d have the better record of the two clubs, and the Rangers still have six games left against the Angels that they could potentially use to make up ground. The Red Sox will be going for their seventh straight win tonight with Paul Byrd on the mound. He’s 1-1 with a 6.08 ERA in three starts since joining the rotation. The Angels will turn to Joe Saunders, who has won four straight since coming off the DL. He’s 4-1 with a 3.25 ERA in seven career starts against Boston.
Game of the Night
Colorado vs. San Francisco – One more time, it’s Rockies vs. Giants for the game of the night. The Giants won the first two games of the series by a combined 19-3 score to pull within 2 1/2 games in the wild-card chase. Now the pressure is on Colorado to avoid the sweep with 14-game winner Jorge De La Rosa on the mound. De La Rosa has won both of his starts against the Giants this season, even though he allowed six runs in one of them, and is 5-0 with a 3.35 ERA against San Francisco in his career. Giants starter Matt Cain is 2-1 with a 3.60 ERA against the Rockies this season. Due to poor run support, he’s picked up a victory in just one of his last nine starts.

Athletics hire third base coach Matt Williams

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The Athletics have hired former MLB manager Matt Williams, the team announced Friday. Williams will take over third base coaching duties under manager Bob Melvin, filling the vacancy left by Nationals’ bench coach Chip Hale after the 2017 season.

Williams is no stranger to the Bay Area, but this will be his first time sporting the green and gold. He got his start in pro ball with the rival Giants in 1987, where he manned third base and collected four All-Star nominations before jumping ship to the American League in 1997. After a one-year stint in the Indians’ organization, he returned to the NL to finish off his 17-season career and eventually hung up his cleats with the Diamondbacks in 2003.

Post-retirement, Williams has crafted a resume that almost over-qualifies him for a coaching gig. He led the Nationals to a cumulative 179-145 record from 2014 to 2015 and earned props as NL Manager of the Year after bringing the team to a first-place finish in 2014. In 2016, he split the season as a first and third base coach in the D-backs’ organization, then accepted a studio analyst position with the Giants for the 2017 season. Although he has yet to suit up for the Athletics in any role, he’s not unfamiliar with skipper Bob Melvin. The two were teammates on the Giants’ 1987-88 roster and spent some time in Arizona together when Melvin took a coaching job there in the early 2000s.

While next year’s reunion will be fun to watch (unless, I suppose, you’re a Giants fan with a long memory), Williams may not have his sights set on a coaching role forever. As the San Francisco Chronicle’s John Shea reported back in July, the 51-year-old knows what it feels like to win as a manager, and it’s a position he might be open to pursuing in the future.

“For me, my most comfortable space is in uniform,” he told Shea. “I’ve done the ownership thing and front-office stuff, and that’s fun. The most gratification I get is swinging a fungo and throwing batting practice and being on the field. It’s what you know and love. I look at myself as a teacher first and foremost. At the end of the day, I think that’s how I have my greatest influence.”