Tuesday, San Diego travels to Arizona for a three-game set with the two teams separated by only 1 1/2 games in the NL Wild Card race. While teams like the Brewers and the Phillies have garnered headlines for their surprising climbs back into the postseason push, the D-backs enter the series just four games behind the Braves, Dodgers and Cardinals. The Padres, after a seesaw 12-11 win over the Rockies on Sunday, lie just 5 1/2 games back.
"You look, but just looking isn't going to help," D-backs outfielder Jason Kubel said of the team's scoreboard watching. "You have to worry about what's going on with you before you scoreboard watch and worry about what other people are doing. First thing is winning games."
Though the D-backs' snapped a two-game losing streak on Sunday, the pitching matchups at Chase Field his week could make for a tough series. Right-hander Ian Kennedy takes the mound for Arizona having alternated dominant outings with poorer ones. Against San Diego this season, Kennedy is 1-1 with a 5.40 ERA over 18 1/3 innings. His last start against the Padres came on Aug. 25, when he allowed six runs on four hits in 5 1/3 innings of a 9-3 loss.
Fellow right-hander Trevor Cahill gets the start on Wednesday having dropped two straight to the Padres, while Thursday's starter, rookie left-hander Tyler Skaggs, surrendered five runs on five hits over three innings in a 6-5 loss to San Diego on Sept. 7.
Left-hander Eric Stults starts for the Padres on Tuesday carrying a 2.57 ERA as a starter in the second half into the matchup. At 6-2 with a 2.54 overall ERA, Stults has been one of the Padres' most dependable starters.
Padres: Marquis's chances for return slim
Jason Marquis has had the cast removed from his non-throwing (left) hand and threw a simulated game before Saturday's game against the Rockies, though he remains unlikely to return this season.
The 34-year-old right-hander has been on the disabled list since Aug. 23 with a fractured bone in his left hand, but with only 14 games remaining -- and with Marquis needing a coach to return the catcher's throw during the simulated game -- his chances for pitching again this season remain slim.
"He wants to keep throwing, which is great," manager Bud Black said. "He wants to keep his body going through September. He feels good but still needs to get clearance on catching a baseball."
D-backs: Eaton enjoying first big-league call-up
Since being called up from Triple-A Reno on Sept. 4, Adam Eaton is batting .275 with five RBI and eight runs.
The 23-year-old center fielder has thrived with consistent playing time in the big leagues, starting each of the 10 games he's played. Eaton snapped out of a four-game hitless streak on Sunday, going 1-for-2 with three walks and two runs scored in the D-backs' 10-2 win over the Giants.
"As a player, you want to take one day at a time. I don't think any situation matters, you still do the same thing," Eaton said. "You develop that mindset, as long as you do that and take care of what you do, the results will be where you want them to be."
The Padres enter this week's series 10-5 against the D-backs this year.
The D-backs are 8-7 in the midst of 26 straight games against the NL West. For the season, Arizona is 31-28 against division opponents.