D-Backs Could Be #1!

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d backs are second in the nl west D Backs Could Be #1!

Every time I see a game at Chase Field, I look at the championship signs.  Of course, the D-Backs won it all when they beat the Yankees in the 2001 World Series.  Thank you, Gonzo!  But, the last time we went as far as division champs was in 2007.  I won’t even bring up the 2009-2010 season rankings!

Have you been watching this season?  The D-Backs have won 9 out of the last 10 games and are currently SECOND in the NL West, just 1.5 games behind the Giants!  Things are looking up :-)

(Courtesy of Nick PiecoroArizona Republic)

For weeks, Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson recalled, his team was hitting  but not pitching, then pitching but not hitting. But the Diamondbacks in recent  weeks have begun putting it all together, a well-timed development, too, given  the National League West’s increasingly unpredictable feel.

They won again Thursday night, beating the Colorado Rockies 6-3 to take three  of four at Coors Field, pulling themselves another game closer  to division-leading San Francisco and creating more reason to believe their  status as contenders might not be a mirage in the desert.

“It’s absolutely wide open,” Diamondbacks second baseman Kelly Johnson said  of the NL West. “Shoot, if we keep playing and pitching like this, it’s going to  be fun.”

Johnson noted the fact that two of the division’s better teams have suffered  crushing injuries in recent days, first with news that Rockies left-hander Jorge  De La Rosa will require season-ending Tommy John elbow surgery and then word  that Giants catcher Buster Posey will miss significant time because of a leg  injury.

“It’s kind of a big deal,” Johnson said. “Everybody’s kind of playing .500.  We’ve been playing great. It’s our turn right now, and hopefully this just keeps  going.”

On this night, it was right-hander Micah Owings’ turn to keep things rolling,  as the former and once again current Diamondbacks pitcher threw strike after  strike while tossing five crisp innings of one-run ball.

“He just absolutely pounded the zone,” Gibson said of Owings, who threw 59 of  his 80 pitches for strikes. “That’s what you want to do.”

Said Owings: “That’s kind of been my focus lately, just pounding the zone and  letting my defense work.”

Wanting to get his relievers some work – and, perhaps, not wanting to push  his luck with Owings, who struggled in the sixth inning of his start Saturday -  Gibson went to the bullpen early.

And despite a rough night from Esmerling Vasquez, who gave up two runs in the  seventh, the move worked, as David Hernandez got the final five outs in place of  closer J.J. Putz, who was off after having pitched on back-to-back days and four  of the past five.

Putz, icing his elbow in the clubhouse after the game, said he felt fine,  insisting he always ices whether he throws or not.

The club also got a lift from catcher Miguel Montero, who slammed a three-run home run  off Rockies starter Clayton Mortensen in the fourth and made a slick, spinning  play of a Troy Tulowitzki bunt to get the final out in the sixth.

After the home run, Montero had two more good at-bats, hitting a hard  line-out to center in the sixth and singling in the eighth.

Gibson noted that Montero took an extra round of batting practice before the  game.

“He said he found something,” Gibson said.

So have the Diamondbacks, who won their third in a row and ninth in the past  10 games. With  the Giants losing to the Marlins earlier in the day, the Diamondbacks are within  1 1/2 games of first place and have a chance to keep rolling when they  start a three-game series Friday against the Astros, owners of the worst record  in the National League.

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