D-backs look to turn around Interleague record

D-backs look to turn around Interleague record

D-backs look to turn around Interleague record
Interleague Play has not been kind to the Arizona Diamondbacks in the franchise's 15 seasons.

Overall, the D-backs are 100-120 against the American League, and while they had a winning record in 2011 at 10-8, it was just the second time they've been above .500 in the past eight seasons.

This year the D-backs will face each of the four AL West teams plus the Central Division Royals. Because the D-backs do not have a "natural rival," they often get paired up with an AL Central team, generally the Tigers or Royals.

With the D-backs predicted to be battling for first place in the National League West, the road trip to face the Rangers and Angels was seen before the season as a chance to measure themselves against two of the top teams that AL had to offer.

2012 INTERLEAGUE PLAY PREVIEW
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All-time club Interleague records
All-time Interleague leaderboard

In the season's early going, though, both the D-backs and Angels have had their share of struggles.

Arizona manager Kirk Gibson may be considered old school, but he has embraced Interleague Play.

"It's something different every year, you visit different cities," Gibson said. "I guess my general feeling is it's been pretty good for baseball."

The D-backs' AL slate begins on the road against the Royals. It's the third time in the past four years that the D-backs have paid a visit to Kansas City.

Last year, the D-backs called up slugger Wily Mo Pena from Triple-A to serve as the designated hitter during Interleague Play, but it seems less likely they will make a similar move this year.

"We haven't talked about it yet," Gibson said Wednesday.

Players to watch
Justin Upton, RF (.332, 8 HRs, 27 RBIs): The AL West has been good to Upton. He is hitting .310 against the A's and has done even better against the Rangers, hitting .417 with a pair of doubles and a homer. However, Upton saved his best for the Mariners, whom he has hit at a .455 clip.
Daniel Hudson, RHP (3-0, 2.25 ERA): Hudson will miss the Royals series but should return shortly thereafter, which would be a good thing considering the success he's had during Interleague Play.
Chris Young, CF (.248, 9 HRs, 39 RBIs): Young is another injured player who could miss the Royals series but should be back for the rest of Interleague Play. That's bad news for the A's since Young has hit .406 against them with three homers and nine RBIs.
Last year: En route to the NL West title, the D-backs were 10-8 against the AL Central in 2011. A three-game sweep of the Twins in May was part of a stretch in which Arizona won 17 of 19 to leap from fourth place to first.

All-time: The D-backs are 100-120 against the AL with their best mark coming in 2003 when they were 11-4. Arizona's worst season was in 2006 when it went 4-11 against the AL West.

@ Royals, May 18-21: The D-backs are 11-7 against the Royals and curiously have performed far better at Kauffman Stadium (9-3) than at home (2-4).

vs. A's, June 8-10: It will be a reunion of sorts with former Arizona manager Bob Melvin now skippering the A's. Arizona is 11-13 all-time against Oakland with a 3-6 mark at Chase Field.

@ Rangers, June 12-14: The two-time defending AL champs have had their way with the D-backs in this series. The D-backs are just 7-15 against the Rangers, including a 3-8 mark in Arlington.

@ Angels, June 15-17: The Angels are now run by general manager Jerry Dipoto, who was Arizona's interim GM in 2010 and helped acquire some of the young talent now teeming in the D-backs farm system. The D-backs are 8-10 against the Angels with a 4-2 mark in Anaheim.

vs. Mariners, June 18-20: The D-backs have struggled historically against Seattle going just 5-13 against the M's. Arizona is 3-6 against them at Chase Field.

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Inside the D-backs, and follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.