The Oakland A's begin a three game series with the Arizona Diamondbacks Friday night in Oakland. The A's will try to rebound from a less then stelar series against the Florida Marlins. This would be a regular series on paper but there is one story that will lift the hearing of any A's fan.
Rich Harden is schedueled to make his 2011 season debut for the A's against a line-up that will provide a very tough test for the oft-injured pitcher. After a very impressive start in Sacramento, Bob Melvin quickly penciled Harden to start tonight.
The biggest question involving Rich Harden tonight will be if his teammates can back him up on the mound. The A's went 21 straight innings without a run against the Marlins, 24 without an earned run. In a game where the biggest question is going to be how Harden performs, this offense will have no room for error tonight. At bat, and on the field, where the A's defense committed five errors in a series against a team that has become the Major League doormat Marlins.
Harden will have his hands full against a D-Backs team who ranks fifth in the majors in runs scores and seventh in slugging. This team can hit when it wants to. A series victory over the team who swept the first place San Francisco Giants would be a big shot of confidence for this D-Backs team as they try to keep pace with the Giants for first place.
The A's offense will have to rebound from the Marlins series. Winning against the second place team in the National League West would be a great boost of confidence for Bob Melvin and the A's as they look to put a 9-17 June behind them. To do that, they have to beat the D-Backs in the last inter-league series of the season (and it couldn't come quicker enough) where the A's are currently 6-12 against the national league.
There's still plenty of hope the A's can pull this off and win the AL West. But they have alot of work ahead of them before the All-Star break that will determen the fate of their season. It all starts tonight with Rich Harden.