This is it, folks. The D-backs need just one win in the next six games to win the division. Let's hope it comes Friday night with Joe Saunders going against young Eric Surkamp. Kennedy goes Saturday and Collmenter on Sunday.
One win in this series is all it's going to take to get the NL West wrapped up for the Arizona Diamondbacks. That it could come at home against the defending champion San Francisco Giants is fitting and should be fun. You better believe the D-backs want to get the win out of the way immediately so they can have their "brief" celebration and move on to chasing home field advantage and preparing for the post season.
With an off day Thursday, the D-backs reordered their rotation to have Joe Saunders pitch in Friday's game against a recent Giants call up and the weakest link in their otherwise strong pitching staff. With Saunders going Friday, that puts the ball in Ian Kennedy's hands Saturday to close the deal with Josh Collmenter on Sunday should it come to that. Lets hope it doesn't.
Word is the D-backs are expecting a big crowd for the Friday showdown and the players are certainly hoping for a playoff like atmosphere in the ball park.
"Hopefully it would be sold out," Chris Young said after Wednesday's game. "Hopefully it will be a packed house. We could definitely use the energy that the fans bring on games like that. It will be exciting, it will probably be playoff baseball atmosphere."
The Giants would be in this race and not six games down with six games to go in the season if they would have hit the ball as well as they've done in the last eleven games (68 runs, 9 wins). San Fran did lose two of three in Los Angeles and hopefully at this point don't have much fight left in them.
Here's the pitching probables and schedule for this most crucial series of the season.
- Friday (6:40 p.m.) : Joe Saunders (12-12, 3.66) vs. Eric Surkamp (2-0, 2.95)
- Saturday (5:10 p.m.) : Ian Kennedy (20-4, 2.88) vs. Matt Cain (12-10, 2.86)
- Sunday (1:10 p.m.) : Josh Collmenter (9-10, 3.42) vs. Tim Lincecum (13-13, 2.59)
The games are scheduled to be broadcast on Fox Sports Arizona with live game threads online at AZ Snake Pit.
Much more on this series at AZ Snake Pit:
Series Preview #51: Arizona Diamondbacks vs. San Francisco Giants - AZ Snake Pit
Final Verdict: To reiterate: the Diamondbacks don't have to win a game in this series. I'd prefer if they did, it would be nice to win the thing at home, and nicer still to make Wilson, Lincecum et al. watch while the D-Backs celebrate, but ultimately all they have to do is win one game in their next six. But hey, the Diamondbacks are probably the better team, they're at home, and I'm feeling optimistic. Thus, I'll say Diamondbacks win the series and the division.