The Oakland A's (36-45) were supposed to be good this year and the Arizona Diamondbacks (44-38) were supposed to be bad. Instead, the A's got hit hard by injuries including Brandon McCarthy, Brett Anderson, Dallas Braden, Tyson Ross and Rich Harden and the D-backs are proving that Kirk Gibson's personal grit can translate to wins on the field.
Offensively, the A's struggle to get much done. They rank at or near the bottom of the American League in most offensive categories and have scored 86 fewer runs than the D-backs through 82 games.
This series is the start of a 10-game roadie for the D-backs and will be their final big test before the All-Star break. With the Brewers and Cardinals coming after this final interleague series in Oakland. A 5-5 mark on the trip would be perfectly acceptable.
Josh Collmenter takes the mound Friday to get things started. He's been rocked in his last three starts and the numbers show that the more times batters see his funky delivery, the more likely they are to hit his sub-standard stuff. At some point, you wonder if he's not better off back in the pen with Ownings perhaps getting some starts. We'll see how he does against the anemic A's order.
Here's the pitching probables for the series. All games will be on Fox Sports Arizona with a live game thread onAZ Snake Pit.
- Friday (7:05 p.m.): Josh Collmenter (4-4, 2.71) vs. Rich Harden (0-0, N/A)
- Saturday (6:05 p.m.): Joe Saunders (4-7, 4.14) vs. Josh Outman (3-2, 3.10)
- Sunday (1:05 p.m.): Ian Kennedy (8-2, 3.01) vs. Gio Gonzalez (7-5, 2.38)
Expect an announcement at some point Friday on the roster move to replace the released Melvin Mora. Also be sure to get your final looks at Wily Mo Pena in the starting lineup at DH.
If you are in need of more series preview, here's a great one.
Series Preview #28: Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Oakland Athletics - AZ Snake Pit
Indeed, the A's appear destined for another middling season in 2011, as a slew of injuries and generally abysmal offense have conspired to derail a promising season in Oakland. It certainly appears that Billy Beane is running out of tricks.