The Diamondbacks’ remaining schedule looks inviting, and their six-game deficit behind the Reds in the race for an NL wild-card berth is hardly insurmountable given recent history.
But you will not catch many in the D-backs’ camp looking further ahead than the first game of a three-game series against the Giants that begins Friday at Chase Field.
“I take one day at a time,” general manager Kevin Towers said.
“You can drive yourself crazy if you are watching the Reds and watching the Dodgers and, ‘Aghhh, they won.’ What we can control is how we play right now.”
The Diamondbacks (68-64) play 20 of their final 30 games against teams with losing records. The NL West is a bit down this season, and that could work in the D-backs’ favor since they have seven more games against the Giants, six with the Rockies and four with the Padres. Those three are a combined 37 games under .500 and 53 games behind the division-leading Dodgers, who have become the trendy pick to reach the World Series. The D-backs have seven games left against the Dodgers, at this point a better thing for the chaser than the chasee.
The Diamondbacks are six games behind the Reds (75-59) for the second NL wild-card spot and one ahead of a new challenger, the Nationals. Washington (67-65) has won seven of its last eight games in a belated charge and has only nine games left against teams with a winning record. The D-backs host the Nationals in the final three games of the regular season.
“If we can start winning some series … most of our opponents are sub.-500 clubs, and if you are a championship club, you have to win those series,” Towers said. “If we can win the rest of the series over the next 30, who knows, maybe then we’ll make it interesting.”
After winning two of three against the Padres earlier in the week, the D-backs finish their nine-game homestand against the Blue Jays in a series that begins Monday.
Pitching matchups: Friday — RHP Tim Lincecum (7-13, 4.55 ERA) vs. RHP Randall Delgado (4-4, 3.87). Saturday — RHP Ryan Vogelsong (3-4, 5.58) vs. RHP Trevor Cahill (6-10, 4.39). Sunday — LHP Barry Zito (4-10, 5.81) vs. LHP Patrick Corbin (13-4, 2.79).
Who’s hot for the Diamondbacks: Martin Prado has 39 hits in August, tied for the major league lead with recently departed Padres outfielder Will Venable. Prado also leads the NL with 30 RBIs in August, the third-most productive month in franchise history. Luis Gonzalez had 35 RBIs in June 2001, and Steve Finley had 30 in May 2000. … Aaron Hill has hit safely in 18 of his last 19 games, posting a .395 batting average in that span. … Delgado has given up three runs or fewer in six of his seven home starts.
Who’s not hot for the Diamondbacks: Heath Bell has given up 12 homers in 57 2/3 innings this season, including three in his last five appearances. He has given up six earned runs in his last 4 1/3 innings. … Joe Thatcher has given up eight hits and six runs in his last 3 1/3 innings covering 10 appearances.
Who’s hot for the Giants: Brandon Belt has 12 hits in his last 30 at-bats. Belt has had his way with the D-backs this season, going 16 for 38 (.421) with four homers and 10 RBIs. He has a career-high 15 homers overall this season. … Vogelsong is 1-0 with a 2.55 ERA and three quality starts in four outings since coming off the disabled list Aug. 9. His victory over the Pirates last Sunday was his first since May 20.
Who’s not hot for the Giants: Buster Posey, while posting seven hits and three RBIs in his last 19 at-bats, has not homered in his last 110 at-bats. His last one was against the D-backs on July 20. … Hunter Pence has seven hits in his last 32 at-bats, although one was a 457-foot home run in Coors Field on Tuesday.
Notes, quotes, odds and ends: The Giants have gone downhill rapidly since taking two of three from the D-backs in the first series after the All-Star break, winning only 14 of their last 36 games. Pence and Lincecum were among the names bandied about as possible departures at the July 31 trade deadline, but the Giants did not find a package to their liking. … AT&T Park certainly does not help, but the Giants are 28th in the major leagues with 504 runs and 28th with a .374 slugging percentage. They were 12th in the majors in runs while winning the 2012 World Series. … Paul Goldschmidt, whose day off Wednesday broke a streak of 47 consecutive starts, leads the NBL with a .623 slugging percentage against left-handed pitchers this season and is tied with Justin Upton for the lead with 10 homers. Goldschmidt is second to the Dodgers’ Adrian Gonzalez with 27 RBIs. Gonzalez has 34. Goldschmidt, of course, is 9 for 17 (.529) with five homers and 11 RBIs against Lincecum. … The D-backs will add several players when rosters expand Sept. 1, manager Kirk Gibson said, without identifying any. Teams traditionally add a third catcher and several relief pitchers. Right-hander David Hernandez, who has not given up a run in seven appearances since being optioned to Triple-A Reno on Aug. 11, as well as left-handers Joe Paterson and Tony Sipp could be candidates to return. Tuffy Gosewisch also is in that group. Hernandez has given up three hits and struck out nine in 7 2/3 innings. … Pablo Sandoval is hitting. 357 with 21 doubles, 10 homers and 52 RBIs in 77 games against the D-backs.