The Oakland Athletics close out their 2011 interleague play schedule by hosting the Arizona Diamondbacks for three games starting Friday. The A's are currently 6-9 in interleague play following a series loss to the Florida Marlins. Much like the Mets series, Oakland got off to a strong start with a shutout win to open the series. Yet they could do nothing to build on that momentum and ended up losing the series.
Now the A's continue a nine game homestand with hopes of climbing back into the divisional race before the All Star Break gets here. They play these three with Arizona, followed by three at home against Seattle and four on the road against Texas. I'd say that's a pretty big stretch. At seven games back the A's are fast approaching a wall they can't move behind.
This weekend features some very intriguing matchups. Friday night will see Rich Harden make his return to the A's rotation for the first time in several years and he'll be facing Josh Collmenter. This could turn into a great pitchers' duel or it could see both starters out pretty quickly. Harden will be facing a pitch count of approximately 90 and has had problems with wildness in the past. Collmenter has moved from the bullpen to the starting rotation and has had his ups and downs. He has lost three straight starts giving up 14 runs in those games after 34 innings in which he gave up four earned runs.
Sunday's matchup between Gio Gonzalez and Ian Kennedy features arguably the best pitcher on each pitching staff at this point. Gonzalez is 7-5 with a 2.38 ERA, a 1.24 WHIP and is coming off eight shutout innings of the Marlins. Kennedy is 8-2 with a 3.01 ERA and 1.09 WHIP. He gave up four runs over eight innings in his last start against the Indians but has been quite solid over the course of the season.
3 game series vs Diamondbacks @ Overstock.com Coliseum
|Sat 07/02 - Josh Outman vs. Joe Saunders||6:05 PM PDT|
|Sun 07/03 - Gio Gonzalez vs. Ian Kennedy||1:05 PM PDT|