It's getting close now, and the Diamondbacks can smell it. They have
a 2 1/2-game lead in the National League West and they have six games
left to play as they close out the regular season at Pittsburgh and
They get a day off on Tuesday to think about their situation and how
they can put the finishing touches on what has been a surprising, wild
turn of events for a young team not expected by most to contend for a
division title this soon.
But it can easily become a reality and it starts in Pittsburgh on
Tuesday against a Pirates team that has lost nine games in a row.
"Each one gets more and more important," Diamondbacks manager Bob
Melvin said. "The finish line is certainly in sight. We don't want to
look at the finish line, but we're going into Pittsburgh and hopefully, we
can do some damage there."
If the Padres keep losing, like they did on Sunday to the Rockies,
Arizona's grip on the division will become a lock.
"Whoever said they're not watching the scoreboard is probably lying
to you," center fielder Chris Young said.
DODGERS 7, DIAMONDBACKS 1: The Diamondbacks couldn't pull off a
three-game sweep on the visiting Dodgers, but they closed out their
regular-season home schedule with a 50-31 mark at Chase Field and enter
Monday's off-day still holding a 2 1/2-game lead over the second-place San
Diego Padres in the National League West.
Arizona has six games remaining -- three at Pittsburgh and three at
Colorado -- and the magic number to clinch the division is five.
On Sunday, Dodgers starter Chad Billingsley held the Diamondbacks to
one run and five hits through 5 2/3 innings and Los Angeles got four
hits from Juan Pierre and three more from James Loney, including a
two-run home run.
"We won two out of three, though, and that's always the goal,"
manager Bob Melvin said.
The Diamondbacks' 51 wins at home is the third-most in the club's
10-year history. They won 55 games in 2002 and 52 in 1999, winning the
division both times.
--LHP Doug Davis will start Tuesday's series opener at Pittsburgh
and, after a couple of days' deliberation, manager Bob Melvin said RHPs
Livan Hernandez and Brandon Webb would follow in turn on their regular
days' rest. He waited to make the announcement about Hernandez and Webb
until Sunday to make sure the latter didn't need an extra day off.
"Whenever we run those guys out there, we feel pretty good," Melvin
--RHP Micah Owings' turn in the rotation will be skipped for the
second time in his last three runs through the rotation, which included
Owings throwing a two-hit, complete-game shutout against the Giants last
Tuesday. He likely will pitch next weekend in Colorado.
--CF Chris Young entered the week having hit a home run nine times
to lead off the first inning.
--Manager Bob Melvin on his team, which is closing in on winning the
National League West: I've kind of refrained from saying it, but what
these guys have accomplished this year has been nothing short of
spectacular. We've got a ways to go here, but... it's been pretty spectacular
--Arizona wrapped up its regular-season home schedule having drawn
2,325,233 fans -- the Diamondbacks' highest attendance since 2004.
--RHP Edgar Gonzalez developed a blister on his index finger while
warming up in the bullpen and it got worse during Sunday's start. He
allowed three runs and eight hits in 3 1/3 innings against the Dodgers.
BY THE NUMBERS: .000 -- The Dodgers' Nomar Garciaparra's career
batting average against Diamondbacks RHP Brandon Webb after their final meeting of the season Saturday (Sept. 22). Garciaparra was
0-for-17 against Webb.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "At this point, it would be a very disappointing year
if it didn't happen. With the way we've played and everything like
that, it would be a waste of a good year. Hopefully, that's not going to
be the case." -- RHP Brandon Lyon, on the Diamondbacks' pursuit of a
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