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Oakland A’s Series Preview #8: Diamondbacks home-and-away

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Stephen Vogt! But no Madison Bumgarner (injured)

San Diego Padres v Arizona Diamondbacks
We still believe!
Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images

The Oakland A’s have the best record in the entire majors, at 16-6 so far. They just got done sweeping the local rival last-place San Francisco Giants in dramatic fashion, and they’re riding a four-game winning streak into their next matchup.

The opponent is the D’Backs, who are exactly .500 and third place in the NL West. This will technically be two separate series, a home-and-away with a pair of games at each stadium, but it’s the same team for four straight so let’s just lump it all together into one big series.

Arizona Diamondbacks

  • 2020 record: 11-11

Arizona has made several interesting acquisitions lately, and they have some promising youngsters up in the majors trying to prove themselves. That has left them with quite a fun lineup full of familiar names, and there’s something to like at every position, even if it’s lacking a top superstar talent now that Paul Goldschmidt is long gone to St. Louis. Meanwhile, the rotation is mostly unknown, and the two established stars have struggled so far — lefties Robbie Ray and Madison Bumgarner, with the latter going on the injured list within the last week.

Are they actually good? That remains to be seen, and the standings aren’t offering any hints yet. At the very least, they almost certainly won’t finish first in a division that includes the powerhouse Dodgers, nor last with the lowly Giants around.

Projected lineup

  1. RF Kole Calhoun (L)
  2. 2B Ketel Marte (S)
  3. CF Starling Marte (R)
  4. LF David Peralta (L)
  5. 1B Christian Walker (R)
  6. 3B Eduardo Escobar (S)
  7. C Stephen Vogt (L)
  8. DH Jake Lamb (L)
  9. SS Nick Ahmed (R)

Just a bunch of really solid names from top to bottom, with a few star ceilings if all goes well. The revamped outfield has former Angel and old A’s terrorizer Calhoun, plus former Pirates standout Marte (the other Marte). The infield defense features a Gold Glove and Fielding Bible winner in Ahmed, plus three more positive gloves, and Escobar hit 35 homers last year. Behind the plate, our old buddy Vogt is in a 50/50 split with Carson Kelly, a recent Top 50 national prospect who began to pan out last summer. Lamb is only one of many DH options.

Starting pitchers

These are the four expected starters:

  • Mon: Zac Gallen (R) vs. Chris Bassitt (6:40 p.m.)
  • Tue: Luke Weaver (R) vs. Frankie Montas? (3:10 p.m.)
  • Wed: Merrill Kelly (R) @ Jesús Luzardo (6:40 p.m.)
  • Thu: Alex Young (L) @ Sean Manaea (6:40 p.m.)

Gallen was excellent in Triple-A last year, and he and Kelly are off to strong starts in 2020. Gallen was a 3rd-rounder by the Cardinals, and Kelly an 8th-rounder by the Rays, and I’ll never count out prospects drafted by either of those clubs.

Weaver is a former Cardinals national Top 100 prospect who showed signs of panning out last year at age 25. He’s off to a brutal start this year, though, with an 11.81 ERA through four bad outings. Ray got Cy Young votes in 2017 and struck out 235 batters last year, but he’s got an 8.59 ERA and an MLB-leading 20 walks so far — not a good thing against the patient A’s.

Bench/Bullpen

Here’s the full D’backs 28-man roster:

Arizona D'Backs 28-man roster
Pitchers Hitters
Starters

Robbie Ray (L)
Zac Gallen (R)
Merrill Kelly (R)
Luke Weaver (R)
Alex Young (L)

Relievers

Archie Bradley (R)
Stefan Crichton (R)
Junior Guerra (R)
Hector Rondon (R)
Andrew Chafin (L)
Taylor Clarke (R)
Kevin Ginkel (R)
Yoan Lopez (R)
Taylor Widener (R)
Catchers

Carson Kelly (R)
Stephen Vogt (L)
Daulton Varsho (L)

Infielders

Christian Walker (R)
Ketel Marte (S)
Nick Ahmed (R)
Eduardo Escobar (S)
Kevin Cron (R)
Jake Lamb (L)

Outfielders

Kole Calhoun (L)
Starling Marte (R)
David Peralta (L)
Jon Jay (L)
Tim Locastro (R)

10-day IL: LHP Madison Bumgarner (back), RHP Jeremy Beasley (shoulder), RHP Corbin Martin (elbow)

45-day IL: RHP Silvino Bracho (TJS)

Opt out: RHP Mike Leake