"You lose game 70 and you know you have a lot of baseball. You have 90 games left. When you are down to 31 games, it is a little different feel," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "I talked about it when we were in Miami, there is an NCAA Tournament feel. You can't take losses. You can't give away games. There is just an urgency you have to be prepared for."
So far, the Dodgers haven't responded well to the increasing sense of urgency, as they have just two wins since the Aug. 25 deal that brought Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett and Carl Crawford to Chavez Ravine. The D-backs have been a particularly frustrating thorn in the Dodgers' side: Friday night's loss was L.A.'s eighth straight to Arizona.
But intrigue abounds as September arrives and the Dodgers will turn to Beckett to shed memories of recent struggles, hold down the D-Backs and help L.A. open the final month of the season with the momentum they'll need to elbow its way back into the playoff picture.
The righty's Dodgers debut was unremarkable, as he gave up three runs in 5 2/3 innings at Coors Field. Saturday will mark his first home start since the trade and his third career outing at Dodger Stadium. Beckett is 1-4 with a 4.91 ERA in six outings against Arizona.
The D-backs' Friday night victory brought them within just four games of the Dodgers for second place in the NL West and in the Wild Card standings, and the league's youngest starting rotation will turn to its youngest -- 21-year-old Tyler Skaggs -- to keep that momentum going Saturday.
Skaggs will be making just his third Major League start -- and first on the road -- though it seems he'll be making plenty more in September after Arizona traded lefty starter Joe Saunders to Baltimore last week, allowing Skaggs to slide into the rotation.
Skaggs was done in by a Bronson Arroyo home run in his last outing against the Reds but has given up just four earned runs in those two starts, good for a 1-1 record and 2.92 ERA.
D-backs: Bloomquist to return despite lingering soreness
The D-backs plan to activate infielder Willie Bloomquist on Saturday, when rosters expand. Bloomquist has been on the DL since Aug. 11 with a strained lower back and experienced soreness while on rehab assignment in the Arizona Rookie League.
According to the veteran infielder, tests earlier this month revealed a minimal cartilage tear in the back, something that requires rest to heal, though with his team in the heat of a playoff push, Bloomquist doesn't plan on giving it that rest right now.
"Some games it feels good, some games it stiffens up on me," Bloomquist said. "Some days it feels good, some days it doesn't."
Dodgers: Jansen's status uncertain
Closer Kenley Jansen spent Tuesday night in a Colorado hospital after calling for paramedics before Tuesday's game with the Rockies after feeling an irregular heartbeat.
That's an issue that has plagued Jansen before, as he spent a month on the disabled list in 2011 with a similar issue. He is on blood thinners an will meet with doctors on Tuesday to determine whether he can return as soon as Sept. 7.
D-backs rookie pitchers have the most wins of any rookie pitching corps in the NL with 21.
D-backs closer J.J. Putz worked in and out of trouble in the bottom of the 11th to hold the Dodgers off the board and convert his 19th straight save opportunity. Putz has turned in 24 straight scoreless outings and 23 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings, the second-longest such streak in club history.