OAKLAND, Calif. — Two left-handers making early runs at their respective All-Star teams go head-to-head Friday night when the Arizona Diamondbacks and Oakland Athletics open a three-game interleague series at the American League site.
Patrick Corbin, who has never faced the A’s, and Sean Manaea, who has never seen the Diamondbacks, are set to duel in the clubs’ first meeting since 2015.
The Diamondbacks have dominated the interleague series of late, having won five of the six head-to-heads since 2012, with all those games having been played at Arizona.
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The teams are meeting in Oakland for the first time since 2011.
No doubt, the Diamondbacks are happy to try something different. They have a winning record (5-4) in interleague play this season, well before they’ve gone on a skid that resulted in seven straight losses and 13 of 14 setbacks.
A team that was once six games up in the National League West suddenly can be as little as a loss away from second place.
Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo hinted that something might be different about the team’s look in Oakland after a much-needed day off Thursday. That could start as early as turning batting practice into a pregame Home Run Derby.
“Do something that’s a little bit off, a little bit different, to distract us,” he noted.
Or maybe something a little bigger in an effort to shake up an offense that’s scored no more than four runs in any of their last 14 outings.
“We may pick the lineup out of a hat or something crazy,” he mentioned. “We might have some fun. I might turn some things around lineup-wise. We try to keep it loose here.”
Nothing needs to change about Corbin (4-1, 2.60), who has allowed two or fewer runs in seven of his 10 starts.
He will be facing an A’s offense that on this homestand has resembled that of the Diamondbacks a bit. Oakland was held to six runs on 15 hits over three games the past three days against Seattle, losing two of three.
Oakland played the series without slugger Khris Davis, who has gone on the disabled list after suffering a strained groin Sunday in Toronto.
Fortunately for the A’s, Manaea (5-4, 2.71) often hasn’t needed a whole lot of offensive support. He allowed just six runs in six starts in March/April, before slipping a bit to 12 runs in four starts so far in May.
Unlike the Diamondbacks, the A’s ride a bit of momentum into the series. They scorched nemesis Felix Hernandez for four first-inning runs Thursday afternoon, then made them hold up for a 4-3 win that salvaged one win in the three-game series.
The A’s were outhit 10-5 in the game, but turned five double plays, including one apiece in each of the three innings in which the Mariners scored, short-circuiting potential big uprisings.
It’s been an unseasonably chilly spring in Oakland, something that some A’s credited for contributing to the low-scoring series against the Mariners.
“Just chalk it up to the Coliseum being the Coliseum,” observed A’s outfielder Chad Pinder, who went 0-for-5 in the series with four strikeouts, “and hope the weather warms up here soon.”
Possible daytime showers and an overcast night with game-time temperature around 60 degrees is the forecast for Friday.