Last weekend, the Arizona Diamondbacks pulled atop the mediocre NL West Division. They are going to have to try to make that climb again.
The Diamondbacks seek to salvage the finale of a three-game series with the Colorado Rockies when they conclude a rough homestand.
Arizona trailed first-place San Diego by 6 1/2 games after losing to the Padres on July 16. The Diamondbacks took advantage of a major slump by the Padres to draw even last Sunday after a 13-6 win at the Chicago Cubs.
But the return to Bank One Ballpark has proven dreadful for Arizona, which has lost four of five to fall three games back of San Diego. The Diamondbacks have dropped the first two games of this series against the last-place Rockies after a 14-7 loss Saturday.
Arizona manager Bob Melvin did not start regulars Craig Counsell and Chad Tracy on Saturday. The Diamondbacks begin a 12-game road trip Tuesday and Melvin plans to get his players refreshed for the stretch run.
“We’ll go to the whip a little more (after) this road trip’s over with,” Melvin said. “We’re going to rest guys to keep them fresh down the stretch. We’ll start going to the whip a little bit more in mid-to-late August, all the way through September.”
Melvin is walking a fine line between being in contention and wanting to get a look at some younger players. One of them is first baseman Conor Jackson, who has had trouble finding time behind Tracy and Tony Clark.
“It’s rough,” said Jackson, who was promoted from Triple-A Tucson on July 27. “You’re really accustomed to going from playing every day and now you’re just getting accustomed to being a pinch-hitter. You’ve got to pay your dues, you’ve got to show you can hit up here.”
Jackson hit the first two homers of his career in Saturday’s loss.
Colorado is bidding for its first road sweep of the season. The Rockies improved to 4-1 on a six-game trip with Saturday’s win, ensuring a winning road trip for the first time all season.
Rockies starter Jamey Wright is 1-0 with a 2.27 ERA in a pair of career starts at Bank One Ballpark. Wright fell to 3-3 with a 5.17 ERA in eight career starts against the Diamondbacks by giving up seven runs and eight hits over six innings in a 10-4 loss on May 14 at Coors Field.
The veteran right-hander is 3-5 with a 4.07 ERA in 11 road starts.