Monday -- D-backs 7, Angels 3; Ray delivers another D-backs win. Tuesday -- Angels 4, D-backs 1; Homers end Arizona's win streak. Wednesday -- D-backs 3, Angels 2; Arizona strikes early, holds on. Thursday -- RHP Allen Webster (1-0, 3.18) vs. LHP C.J. Wilson (4-5, 3.60), 12:40 p.m.
Remake on the fly
The D-backs' starting rotation now includes two pitchers who began the season in the minor leagues, Robbie Ray and Allen Webster, and both impressed in tiny sample sizes so far. Ray gave up three combined earned runs in his three starts and Webster carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning of a 4-2 victory at San Francisco on Saturday. The D-backs have the offense and defense; they will be complete when the starting pitching is able to provide quality length on most days.
Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY SportsCary Edmondson
You make the call
Angels center fielder Mike Trout, who was the AL MVP last season, generally is considered the best player in baseball because of his five-tool game. We're not so sure. Let's put Trout and Paul Goldschmidt side by side. Here is Trout: .297/.379/.576 slash line, 12 doubles, 18 homers, 37 RBI, eight stolen bases, 29 walks, .959 OPS, 3.8 WAR. Here is Goldschmidt: .359/.478/.659 slash line, 14 doubles, 17 homers, 50 RBI, 10 stolen bases, 51 walks, 1.137 OPS, 4.6 WAR.
The D-backs have shown a remarkable ability to recover from a down stretch with one of their best. After a four-game losing streak in which they were swept in Philadelphia, they went on a five-game losing streak. After losing three to the Dodgers to start this trip, they swept the Giants and held them to two runs in 27 innings. Next up is carrying that momentum forward. Instead of winning to catch up, it's about winning to get ahead. The NL West is still there for the taking.
The stuff of legends
In his third season with the Angels, three-time NL MVP Albert Pujols is having his best year since his World Series days with Tony La Russa and the St. Louis Cardinals. Pujols mingled with major league legends last week -- he passed Mickey Mantle for 16th place in baseball history with his 538th career home run Thursday and passed Ernie Banks for 29th place with his 1,637th RBI on Sunday. Pujols has 10 homers and 17 RBI in his last 16 games.