Diamondbacks host Padres; winner avoids NL West cellar
PHOENIX — It all comes down to one game.
For one of the marbles.
Arizona and San Diego enter the final game of the regular season Sunday with identical 68-93 records, and the winner avoids last place in the National League West. The Diamondbacks attempt to avoid finishing in the cellar for the third time in the last four years while San Diego has not finished last since 2011, the last time the D-backs won the division. The teams split their previous 18 games this season.
At the same time, several players have personal marks to shoot for.
Arizona second baseman Jean Segura had a double and triple Saturday before being removed in the eighth inning and has a career- and NL-high 203 hits this season. He will lead the league in hits and is three short of Luis Gonzalez's franchise record set in 1999.
Segura is one of 14 players in major league history with 200 hits, 20 homers and 30 stolen bases in the same season, and he and Houston second baseman Jose Altuve are the only major leaguers with 40 doubles, 20 homers and 30 stolen base this year. Segura is 41/20/33. Altuve is 42/24/30.
Segura will play Sunday's finale, manager Chip Hale said.
“He's fine,” Hale said. “We were up six at that time and he's played a lot of innings this year, and I didn't feel like he was going to get another at-bat.”
San Diego first baseman Wil Myers had two hits and scored two runs in Arizona's 9-5 victory Saturday. Myers has 28 doubles, 28 homers and 28 stolen bases, and he is one of three major leagues with 25 homers and 25 stolen bases entering the final game of the season.
“He went through stretches where he was outstanding,” San Diego manager Andy Green said. “I think Wil has many more steps in front of him to be as good as he can be. From a base-stealing perspective, he is substantially better than he has been in his career. That has never been a big part of his game at the major league level. There has been considerable work put in.”
The Angels' Mike Trout has 29 homers and 29 stolen bases and Boston's Mookie Betts has 31 homers and 26 stolen bases.
Arizona's Paul Goldschmidt and Houston's Altuve could join that group with another homer Sunday. Goldschmidt has 24 homers and a career-high 32 stolen bases after stealing three bases Saturday, and Altuve has 24 homers and 30 stolen bases.
Goldschmidt stole third base as part of a double steal in a five-run first inning Saturday, the second of two double steals the Diamondbacks pulled in that inning, and also stole second and third in the fifth inning. His 32 steals are the most by a major league first baseman since Greg Jefferies had 46 for St. Louis in 1993. Goldschmidt's previous high was 21 last year.
“Anytime you're able to do that, steal those bases, it frustrates the other team,” Arizona manager Chip Hale said. “It frustrates the pitcher, the catcher, the manager, the guy giving the signs. It's frustrating because you work so hard for those things not to happen.”
The D-backs, who won the first two games of the series, send rookie right-hander Matt Koch (1-1) to the mound for his second major league start Sunday afternoon. He is to oppose right-hander Paul Clemens (4-5).
Koch threw five hitless innings in his first start at Washington on Tuesday before giving up a single in the sixth inning. He was removed after issuing a walk because of a blister, and the D-backs are hoping he can give them 85 pitches Sunday before the blister heats up again.
Clemens gave up one run in five innings to beat the Dodgers in his last start Tuesday and has allowed three earned runs or fewer in nine of his 11 starts since joining the Padres.