It's just the beginning of the road for Arizona rookie Jarrod Parker. It could be the end of the line in Los Angeles for Dodgers veteran Hiroki Kuroda. And their paths cross as the D-backs are fighting for the No. 2 seed in the National League playoffs and the right to host a Division Series.
Kuroda, who pitched in Japan for 11 seasons before coming to the Dodgers, has yet to decide whether he'll return to Los Angeles or pitch in Japan next season.
"At this moment, I really don't know," Kuroda said. "I might stay here, I might go to Japan. It's 50-50."
Here's what's certain: Kuroda has victories in his last two outings and needs four more innings to hit 200 innings for the first time. Here's what's uncertain for Kuroda: almost everything else.
"Every offseason I think the coming season will be my last," he said. "I thought that last year. You never know what happens. I think every start could be my last start. I don't know when my last year will be, I don't know when my last start will be."
Parker, Arizona's No. 1 pick in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft, will make his Major League debut Tuesday. He went 11-8 with a 3.79 ERA in Double-A this year after missing the entire 2010 season due to Tommy John surgery.
Parker struggled with his command earlier this season but D-backs manager Kirk Gibson is confident his young right-hander will perform well.
"He was overthrowing, didn't have real good location," Gibson said. "I think he started to develop his two-seamer, started to pitch more, get the ball down, let the ball work for him, try to get quicker outs. I think he's got that now."
Arizona could use a strong outing from Parker on Tuesday, especially when you consider that the D-backs still trail the Brewers in the race for the No. 2 seed in the National League postseason.
The Brewers have a one-game lead over the D-backs, and it's a lead they have to maintain to gain the second seed, because the D-backs went 4-3 against Milwaukee in the regular season to gain the tiebreaker edge.
Dodgers: Kemp still chasing Triple Crown
Matt Kemp, this week's NL Player of the Week, went 1-for-4 with a three-run homer and continues his run at the Triple Crown.
He leads the NL with 123 RBIs and 38 home runs. He also ranks third in the league with a .324 batting average.
Kemp is hitting .452 with 14 runs, five doubles and five home runs during his current 10-game hitting streak.
The Dodgers have won eight of their last 10 games and are 44-27 since July 7.D-backs: Pitchers collecting W's
The victories have added up for the D-backs' pitching staff this season.
Ian Kennedy (21), Daniel Hudson (16), Joe Saunders (12) and Josh Collmenter (10) are the second foursome in team history with at least 10 wins in the same season, joining Randy Johnson (17), Omar Daal (16), Andy Benes (13) and Armando Reynoso (10), who accomplished the feat in 1999.
The D-backs are 19-7 in the midst of playing 28 of their final 31 games against NL West teams.
The D-backs (83-0) are the only team in the National League to be undefeated when leading after eight innings.
The D-backs are 10-7 against the Dodgers this season.
With Monday's victory, the Dodgers clinched a winning season for the 15th time in the last 18 seasons.
The D-backs have won 20 of their last 23 home games since Aug. 9, including a franchise-record 15 straight wins from Aug. 9-Sept. 10.