The Arizona Diamondbacks own baseball’s best interleague record,
but they know that is about to get a severe test.
The Diamondbacks will try to extend their season-best win streak
to six Tuesday night when they open a six-game trip against AL West
contenders with the first of three against the Texas Rangers.
Arizona (30-30) is 5-1 against AL opponents as it gets ready to
face Texas (35-26) and the Los Angeles Angels. The Diamondbacks can
move above .500 overall for the first time since May 4.
“We’ve been playing a little better lately and it would be nice
to keep that momentum going,” outfielder Chris Young told the
Diamondbacks’ official website. “Going into Texas you understand
what they’re going to be featuring – a pretty strong pitching staff
and a good offense as well.
“If we take care of what we’re supposed to do, I think we can
match up with anybody. But you have to go in ready to play.”
The Rangers are set to begin a six-game homestand after capping
a 4-6 trip with Sunday’s 5-0 win over San Francisco. They were just
4-5 at home against NL opponents last year.
“We better start playing good baseball at home,” manager Ron
Washington told the Rangers’ official website. “We usually dominate
at home. Maybe we can dominate during this (homestand).”
Josh Hamilton had a quiet trip, striking out in each game while
going 8 for 40 with one homer and four RBIs. He still leads the
majors in those categories with 22 and 61.
The Diamondbacks remain wary of the Rangers, who lead the majors
with 322 runs and a .282 batting average.
“Texas is very good at scoring runs, our pitchers know that and
we know that,” second baseman Aaron Hill said.
Ian Kennedy (5-5, 3.93 ERA) will be tasked with slowing down
that powerful lineup in his first start against Texas. He’s 1-5
with a 7.15 ERA in six career interleague road outings.
Kennedy has struck out 19 while winning his last two starts,
matching a career high with 12 over six innings last Tuesday in a
10-0 home victory over Colorado.
The Rangers will also turn to a right-hander in Colby Lewis
(4-5, 3.38), who is 0-2 despite a 2.45 ERA in his last two outings.
He pitched a six-hitter for his first 2012 complete game – albeit
an eight-inning version – in Wednesday’s 2-0 defeat at Oakland.
Lewis has never faced Arizona. He’s 3-1 with a 1.80 ERA in five
interleague starts since the beginning of last year.
He’ll get his first look at Paul Goldschmidt, who is batting
.419 with six homers and 10 RBIs during a career-high 17-game
Jason Kubel is also swinging a hot bat, going 9 for 18 with two
homers and 12 RBIs during this win streak. The former Twins
outfielder is 1 for 10 against Lewis.
Arizona has lost five straight in Arlington, where it last
visited in 2006.
“I think it’s a great opportunity for us,” manager Kirk Gibson
said. “That’s the way I look at it. I’m excited for it.”