The Oakland Athletics head home on Tuesday for a six game homestand that will wrap up their 2011 interleague play schedule. The A's are currently 5-7 and will be looking to finish up better than their 8-10 record last season. They wrapped up a six game road trip against the Mets and Phillies in which they went 2-4 with numerous chances to do significantly better. The A's biggest problem this season has been an inability to get a timely one or two out hit. Accordingly, they sit nine games under .500 and six games out of first place.
The A's will open up the homestand against a struggling Florida Marlins squad. Even with new manager Jack McKeon, the Marlins have continued to struggle. They have managed to go 2-4 in six games under McKeon. It's an improvement on their previous stretch of 18 losses in 19 games but they have their work cut out for them the rest of this season.
The question for the A's is whether they can take advantage of the Marlins struggles and notch some much needed wins. At the conclusion of this series the A's will be into the second half of their 2011 schedule. While there is a lot of baseball to be played, Oakland needs to start notching up bigger stretches of wins. The five game winning streak was huge but they need to get more stretches like that together.
The series will feature Gio Gonzalez facing Javier Vazquez, Graham Godfrey facing Ricky Nolasco, and Guillermo Moscoso facing Chris Volstad. Realistically, the A's would appear to have a definite pitching advantage with Gonzalez and Moscoso. While I think Godfrey has shown he can pitch well enough to hang with a journeyman like Ricky Nolasco, I'd say the edge goes to Nolasco. Either way, this is a series the A's should be able to take advantage of and gain some ground in the West.
The A's will have some lineup decisions as they return to the land of the designated hitter. Josh Willingham remains on the disabled list, the team called up Chris Carter, Hideki Matsui showed he can still play some outfield, and Bob Melvin is still trying to figure out what to do with Mark Ellis. Conor Jackson has settled in s the primary first baseman, but beyond that the team is trying to find a consistently solid lineup. For a lot of fans, the big question in all this is when Chris Carter might get some consistent at bats. It's one of many questions about a struggling offense.
3 game series vs Marlins @ Overstock.com Coliseum
|Wed 06/29 - Graham Godfrey vs. Ricky Nolasco||7:05 PM PDT|
|Thu 06/30 - Guillermo Moscoso vs. Chris Volstad||12:35 PM PDT|