09/25/10 7:56 PM ET
D-backs trying to take first series from Dodgers
By Andrew Pentis / MLB.com
Take the D-backs as an example. By winning Saturday night, 5-2, over the Dodgers, they erased the possibility of a 100-loss season. Sigh of relief.
In their final home game of 2010 on Sunday, the D-backs will have another opportunity for a little dose of levity. With a victory, they would secure their first winning series against the Dodgers, their National League West foes, of the long season.
Los Angeles had won 11 of its first 13 matchups with Arizona before Saturday's defeat.
Chad Billingsley (11-11) will look to get his club back on track. What tiny achievement would he like? How about rising above the .500 mark with his 12th win of the year?
"He's got a good look in his eye," said manager Joe Torre. "I don't think he doubts himself. His thought process is much healthier. Rick Honeycutt hit the nail on the head earlier in the year. We made so much of him getting his pitch count up that, subconsciously, it took away from his stuff just to throw strikes. Rick told him don't worry about where, just let it go. From that point on, you could see the difference in his freedom. You saw the eye of the tiger. He had a better spirit, not the doubt."
Billingsley's counterpart, lefty hurler Joe Saunders, is coming off his second best start in Sedona Red. He limited the in-the-race Rockies to one run on six hits over eight innings. The veteran lefty also fanned seven, his highest strikeout total in 11 starts with the D-backs.
Dodgers: Oeltjen enjoying big week
Since his Sept. 7 callup, outfielder Trent Oeltjen has made a solid impression. Over his past six games (three starts), he's made an even better one, going 5-for-11 at the plate. On Saturday, Oeltjen served up Los Angeles' first of two hits -- a fourth-inning ground-rule double -- off of stellar Arizona starter Daniel Hudson.
D-backs: Gibson praises middle infield
Interim skipper Kirk Gibson isn't sure if he'll be around in 2011, but he said that whoever is Arizona's manager will have a above-average middle infield. Stephen Drew (10 errors) could be a Gold Glove contender.
"Stephen is very consistent; a lot of people would like Stephen Drew on their team," Gibson said. "I think Kelly [Johnson] has improved immeasurably since the beginning of the year. He's moving around a lot better. Very sure-handed. ... This organization is set really nicely, in my opinion, there."
The D-backs and Dodgers will finish their 2010 campaigns at Chavez Ravine from Oct. 1-3. ... Drew tied his career high with his 12th triple in Saturday's fifth inning. ... Ryan Theriot is batting .240 in 47 games for the Dodgers. ... The D-backs eclipsed the two-million mark in fans with Saturday's attendance of 41,477.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.