Slow starts have become the norm for the Arizona Diamondbacks, who are languishing three games under .500 after winning the National League West in 2011. Arizona also stumbled out of the gate last year, opening with a 15-22 record before going on a tear that would propel it to the top of the division. Bob Melvin, who brings the Oakland Athletics to Arizona for a three-game interleague series, knows the consequences of an early spiral. He was fired as manager of the Diamondbacks in 2009 after a 12-27 start.
The Diamondbacks have played much better of late, winning four of their last five games and holding their opponents to only seven runs in that span.
Oakland is also trying to dig out of an early hole and took a step in the right direction by taking three of four games from AL West leader Texas and outscoring the Rangers 24-8. Coco Crisp, mired in a deep slump all season, drove in four runs in Thursday’s 7-1 victory with his first homer of the year and a three-run triple.
Athletics Diamondbacks Betting
When: 9:40 PM ET, Friday, June 8, 2012
Where: Chase Field, Phoenix, Arizona
TV: 9:40 p.m. ET, CSCA (Oakland), Fox Sports Arizona
PITCHING MATCHUP: Athletics LH Tommy Milone (6-5, 3.53 ERA) vs. Diamondbacks RH Daniel Hudson (2-1, 4.65)
Milone turned in another solid effort last time out, limiting Kansas City to two runs on eight hits in seven innings, but he suffered his second straight loss due to a lack of run support. The Athletics have scored a total of three runs in Milone’s last four starts and have been blanked in his last two outings. He dropped to 2-4 in six road starts.
Hudson made his second start since coming off the disabled list last time out and yielded only two runs on five hits in a season-high eight innings at San Diego to pick up his first win since April 7. Hudson has gone 25-14 since he was acquired from the Chicago White Sox during the 2010 season. A’s catcher Kurt Suzuki is 3-for-4 with four RBIs against him.
1. Oakland rookie OF Yoenis Cespedes left Thursday’s game with a hamstring strain and is listed as day-to-day..
2. Diamondbacks 1B Paul Goldschmidt is batting .431 during a 14-game hitting streak and has five homers in his last nine games.
3. Melvin went 337-340 in four-plus seasons in Arizona and was named the 2007 NL Manager of the Year.