One of them is the Arizona Diamondbacks, who remain very much a longshot to make the playoffs, but still linger in the conversation. Following their 3-2 win over the surging Padres on Tuesday night, the D-backs trail the St. Louis Cardinals by 4 1/2 games with 15 games left. Even if they were to go on a tear and the Cardinals were to stumble, four other teams remain in between.
But all the D-backs can do is control what they can control and win games, and they will go for their third straight on Wednesday night at Chase Field. Trevor Cahill will take the mound opposite San Diego's Edinson Volquez, who will try to help the Padres to their 10th win in the last 13 games.
Cahill is coming off consecutive wins against clubs with winning records after not recording a victory the entire month of August. The right-hander has given up just 10 hits in his last 19 innings.
Wednesday will be Cahill's fifth start of the year against the Padres, against whom he owns a 1-2 record, but just a 2.55 ERA. He hurled a complete game shutout against them on June 3 at Petco Park but also surrendered four runs on eight hits in just 3 2/3 innings in a loss on Aug. 26.
The winning pitcher in that game was Volquez, who will make his fourth start against Arizona on Wednesday. Volquez, who will be pitching for the first time in eight days, is coming off a win against the Cardinals in which he issued six walks for the second time this year.
The Padres have won 11 of Volquez's last 16 starts, and the right-hander has limited opponents to a .228 average, the fifth-best mark in the National League.
Padres: Quentin looking forward to returning to field
Though right knee soreness caused Carlos Quentin to miss his sixth consecutive start on Tuesday, the outfielder is adamant he will return before the season ends on Oct. 3.
"It's important to finish on the field with my teammates," said Quentin, who's hitting .262 with 16 home runs and 45 RBIs in 80 games. "I'm looking forward to getting back out there."
Quentin tested his knee in drills before Tuesday's 3-2 series-opening loss to the D-backs.
"I'm going to go out and get a lot more activity," he said. "If it responds well, then we'll be closer."
The Padres announced on Tuesday that they have extended their player development contract with Class A Fort Wayne through the 2014 season.
D-backs: Young leaves Tuesday's game with injury
In his first start since Sept. 3, when he injured his right quadriceps muscle, Chris Young came up lame while tracking down a fly ball in the first inning of Tuesday's 3-2 victory. The Arizona outfielder was pulled from the game.
Young, who had made three pinch-hit appearances since sustaining the injury, expressed confidence just before his first start in two weeks.
"We're confident that I'll be able to do everything I want to do on the field, so I'm excited to be back as a starter," he said.
Unfortunately for him and the D-backs, it didn't go as well as planned.
David Hernandez's 90 strikeouts leaves him just two shy of tying Byung-Hyun Kim for third place on Arizona's all-time single season list for a reliever. Kim also owns both the first- and second-highest totals, as he struck out 109 in 2000 and 113 in 2001.
San Diego's Luke Gregerson and Arizona's Willie Bloomquist were named on Tuesday as their team's nominees for the 2012 Roberto Clemente Award. The annual award, presented by Chevrolet, recognizes a Major Leaguer who best represents his sport through positive contributions on and off the field, including sportsmanship and community involvement. Fans can vote for the winner at MLB.com/ClementeAward and register for a chance to win a trip to this October's World Series.