The Arizona Diamondbacks hired A.J. Hinch to be their manager despite his lack of experience. Now that Hinch's tenure is over, it's safe to say the team didn't get the desired results.
After firing Hinch and general manager Josh Byrnes, the Diamondbacks will take the field for interim manager Kirk Gibson as they host the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday night.
Settled into last place in the NL West for the second consecutive season, Arizona (31-48) fired Hinch and Byrnes on Thursday night in what team president Derrick Hall called "a first and major step in the re-evaluation of our team."
Hinch, a surprise hire because he hadn't managed at any level, had an 89-123 record in a little less than 14 months at the helm. He has two years remaining on his contract after this season while Byrnes - once considered a rising star among young baseball executives - has 5 1/2 years left on a deal that runs through 2015.
Diamondbacks bench coach and ex-major league slugger Gibson will take over as manager on an interim basis starting Friday against the team he helped win the 1988 World Series.
Amid the chaos in the dugout and the front office, Edwin Jackson (5-6, 4.63 ERA) will take the mound in the series opener for the first time since throwing a no-hitter in a 1-0 win over Tampa Bay last Friday. The right-hander got two extra days off after walking eight and throwing 149 pitches - the most ever in a no-hitter.
The achievement was magnified for Jackson because it came against one of his former teams. He spent three seasons with Tampa Bay, tying a franchise record with 14 wins in 2008 as the Rays won the AL pennant.
"It's one of those bittersweet moments. You throw a no-hitter and it's against your old team," Jackson said. "At least it's with a crowd that you've had accomplishment with."
Once labeled a can't-miss prospect in the Dodgers' system, Jackson struggled for Los Angeles and was traded in January 2006 to the Rays, who then shipped him to Detroit after the 2008 season. His strong first half of 2009 with the Tigers made him an All-Star, but Detroit traded him to Arizona in December.
Jackson got off to a rocky start with the Diamondbacks, but he was outstanding while making stops at Dodger Stadium, Comerica Park and Tropicana Field last month, compiling a 1.05 ERA against his former clubs.
He limited Los Angeles to three hits in nine shutout innings June 2, but got no run support as the Dodgers won 1-0 in 14 innings.
The Diamondbacks didn't score in the last 31 innings of that series, losing all three games in walk-off fashion. They've lost seven straight to the Dodgers, who have won 16 of their last 18 against NL West foes.
"Playing well against our own division makes up for some of the sins we've committed elsewhere," manager Joe Torre said.
Los Angeles (43-35) swept rival San Francisco in a three-game series this week, with Rafael Furcal leading the way. Furcal has recorded a multi-hit performance in five consecutive games, going 4 for 5 with a home run in Wednesday's 8-2 victory.
"He makes us that much more exciting," Torre said of Furcal. "He can do a lot of things and not only with a bat in his hands. He elevates us with the way he plays the game."
Hiroki Kuroda (7-5, 3.27) will be looking for his second straight win against the Diamondbacks after allowing three runs in 7 1-3 innings of a 6-3 victory May 12.
The right-hander hasn't allowed a run in his last 12 innings against NL opponents, his longest such streak since July 2008, when he recorded 16 straight.
Los Angeles will likely be without Manny Ramirez, who is dealing with an injured right hamstring. The Dodgers are 13-15 without Ramirez this year.
The Diamondbacks open a 10-game homestand after avoiding a sweep in St. Louis with a 4-2 victory Wednesday. Arizona is 18-18 at Chase Field, getting swept by the Dodgers in a three-game series May 10-12.