Best Baseball Series

With both the Giants and the A's eyeing division titles this season, the summer calendar will be full of big series on both sides of the bay. Here are a few can't-miss matchups at home.

A's vs. Minnesota, May 20-22

Oakland and Minnesota met in last year's Division Series, which offered a playoff between perennial underdogs. The Twins won by a run in the decisive fifth game; the A's went home embarrassed. They'll want revenge now, so a good rivalry brews in baseball's bargain basement.

A's vs. Giants, June 20-22; Giants vs. A's, June 27-29

Purists hate interleague play, but there's nothing like a good cross-town series during that hot, mid-summer slog through the schedule. It helps that the teams are so different. The Giants rely on a star, the A's on statistics. The Giants can sell out Pac Bell with a good promotion; the A's can't draw 20,000 fans on $2 Wednesdays. Which team you root for here isn't merely a matter of geography; it's a matter of principle.

Giants vs. Los Angeles, June 23-25

The Giants host the Dodgers for three games between the two bookends of the A's series (and just a week after a visit to L.A.). From June 17 to June 29, in fact, the Giants play only regional rivals, which means we should expect 12 good ball games and a million jokes about merlot-sipping San Franciscans.

A's vs. Seattle/Anaheim, July 1-6

In the span of a week, the A's get two three-game series against the stiffest competition in their division: a big rival in the Mariners (July 1-3), and a world champion in the Angels (July 4-6). It's a crucial stretch of the season, just days before the All-Star Break, in front of holiday crowds. Expect fireworks.

Giants vs. Arizona, Sept. 5-7

The Diamondbacks got off to a slow start, but don't be surprised if they're neck-and-neck with the Giants by September. It'll be a race between two creaky old ball clubs, with stars on both teams in the winter of their careers. But rest assured -- in a late-season matchup like this, they'll try to knock the dentures out of each other.

 
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