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As the National League West's top three teams are battling in do-or-die games this weekend, the division's bottom two clubs are fighting one another to finish the season strong.
While the Dodgers -- 7-14 this month -- have been limping to the finish line, Arizona came off a three-game sweep of Colorado before losing, 3-1, to Los Angeles on Friday.
Another loss to the Dodgers is nothing new for this season's D-backs, who have lost 10 of their past 11 to L.A. Still, the D-backs are 14-11 in their past 25 games against NL West clubs.
For interim manager Kirk Gibson, that's a good sign -- especially with the D-backs closing the season against division rivals.
"It's a good start. You're going to play a lot of games against your division, so you do need to play better against them," Gibson said. "We had a good August. We really had some tough times in September. ... We talked a little bit and came out and played really well against Colorado."
One thing both clubs -- and a host of others -- are doing as the season's end nears is give young players a look. Gibson said he's tried to hold off on doing so as long as he could, but admitted before Friday's series opener he needs to start.
The Dodgers also will give non-regulars action, as first baseman John Lindsey is expected to start at first base for manager Joe Torre.
"We'll see if Big John can get his first bomb," Torre said. "Mitchell, maybe he'll play in the outfield Sunday [against Arizona left-hander Joe Saunders]. He's an intriguing one. He has a little pop in his bat and he won't hurt you defensively."
Dodgers: Ely recalls success vs. D-backs
Despite losing six of his past seven Major League decisions, right-hander John Ely is has to feel somewhat comfortable Saturday against the D-backs. One of his best games of the season came in June against Arizona, where he threw seven two-hit-shutout innings in a 1-0 win the Dodgers took in extras at Dodger Stadium. Ely (4-8, 5.00 ERA) also got his first career win against Arizona on May 11.
D-backs: Gillespie making himself known
Outfielder Cole Gillespie recorded his first career three-hit night on Thursday, and he is 4-for-11 on the homestand. Despite his solid offensive abilities, Gibson has been more impressed with the 26-year-old defense.
"He's a real solid outfielder; he can play all three positions," Gibson said. "He reads the ball real well. You watch, he comes in on the ball extremely well, takes good angles. His arm is pretty solid, very accurate. He has a real good field out there. He's not a burner, but he runs pretty good."
Arizona right-hander Daniel Hudson (6-1, 1.65) will oppose Ely on Saturday. In his previous outing, Hudson held the Pirates to one run on three hits over 6 1/3 innings. ... Kelly Johnson is the 13th player in franchise history to hit 25 home runs in a season.