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D-backs to embark on crucial AL West road trip

The Arizona Diamondbacks are surging — having just completed a three-
game sweep of the Oakland Athletics to cap a 5-1 homestand.

Are they finally hitting their stride?

Kirk Gibson’s squad evened their record at 30-30, climbing their way back
to .500 for the first time since May 5. They are getting healthy and gaining
more confidence with every “W”.

They have also performed quite well during interleague play thus far this
season, compiling a 5-1 record against the Royals and Athletics.

The D-backs hope their interleague success will continue when they
embark on their toughest test of the season against two of the American
League’s elite teams, the two-time defending AL Champion Texas Rangers
and the revamped, powerhouse Los Angeles Angels.

The D-backs’ AL West swing will start Tuesday in Texas, when the club will
face a Rangers squad that is atop the majors in runs scored. Lucky for the
D-backs’ offense, they’ll be playing in the very hitter-friendly Rangers
Ballpark in Arlington.

Red-hot Paul Goldschmidt will take his career-high 17-game hitting streak
into the series against the Rangers. Goldschmidt has raised his average to
.293 with eight home runs and 26 RBIs on the season.

D-backs’ outfielder Jason Kubel won co-National League Player of the Week
honors alongside Chicago Cubs starter Ryan Dempster. Kubel hit .409 with
two long balls, 18 total bases and tied for a major league-leading 12 RBI in
six games.

The D-backs will also have the benefit of utilizing the DH for the road trip,
improving their offense’s ability to generate scoring chances. Gibson is
notorious for changing up his lineup on a whim and he’s hinted there are
quite a few guys off the bench who could fill that crucial role.

Whichever lineup Gibson decides upon will have a favorable advantage. D-
backs’ hitters will miss Angels’ aces C.J. Wilson and Jered Weaver as well as
Rangers stud Yu Darvish on this trip. So despite facing formidable
competition in hostile territory, the D-backs couldn’t have received a better

The D-backs know they are fortunate to miss facing some of the game’s
most formidable hurlers. And, they are well aware that while wins against
sub-.500 teams like the Padres, Rockies and Athletics were a positive step
forward, it wasn’t necessary enough to prove to their critics they’re back.

If the D-backs come away with a winning record on this road trip against
two of the game’s premier clubs, this team’s chances of contending again

It may only be June, but this stretch of games could likely be the turning
point or the nail in the coffin for the Arizona Diamondbacks.