SAN DIEGO - There were certain things manager Kirk Gibson expected out of his team heading into the season, areas in which he figured the Diamondbacks might struggle. Protecting leads late in games was not one of them.
PHOENIX - The Arizona Diamondbacks constructed their lineup for these kinds of games, nights when they face a pitcher as tough as Cardinals right-hander Adam Wainwright.
PHOENIX - First baseman Paul Goldschmidt was deftly tap-dancing around the elephant in the room on Friday when Diamondbacks catcher Miguel Montero jokingly called attention to it.
SCOTTSDALE - The final week of spring training is usually a time for fine-tuning the roster, for deciding on the last bench player or settling on a reliever to round out the bullpen.
SCOTTSDALE - For veteran players just trying to get ready for the season, results in spring-training games can sometimes matter less than being able to finish the daily crossword puzzle.
ST. LOUIS - Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson sat in his office at Busch Stadium on Tuesday afternoon and ran through the reasons why he believes his team has struggled in one-run games. For Gibson, it's not overly complicated.
PHILADELPHIA - During his first game with the Diamondbacks on Monday in Los Angeles, third baseman Chris Johnson heard a teammate ask in the dugout if the Giants were winning their game in San Francisco. That sort of thing hadn't happened very often, if at all, during his time in the majors.
LOS ANGELES - There was burgeoning confidence mixed with cautious optimism in the visitors' clubhouse at Dodger Stadium, where a heretofore inconsistent baseball team took another step toward establishing itself as a contender in the National League West.
CINCINNATI - The calendar keeps moving toward October, but the Diamondbacks are getting no closer to playing in it.
CHICAGO - With an extra wild card added to each league, there aren't many clubs that have essentially declared themselves "sellers" this early in July. But the Diamondbacks have now been swept by two of them in the past two weeks.
CHICAGO - The Diamondbacks this season have been like an old car engine that sputters out just when you think it's about to roar to life.
ANAHEIM, Calif. - The Arizona Diamondbacks reluctantly gave credit to another opposing pitcher Sunday, but given the way the majority of this road trip went for them, their praise went only so far.
SAN FRANCISCO - Miguel Montero couldn't understand it. He knows starter Trevor Cahill has had his problems in the first inning this season, but this was different.
PHOENIX - The Diamondbacks wore out such a path around the bases Wednesday night that it was as if they were trying to take out all their frustrations from the previous night - or perhaps the previous month.
PHOENIX - The Los Angeles Dodgers fielded a lineup Monday night filled with rookies and journeymen, a group of players that seemed more suited for the Pacific Coast League than the National League.
LOS ANGELES - The signs of frustration were everywhere, from the bat Justin Upton slammed into the ground to the helmet Paul Goldschmidt's flung toward the visitors' dugout at Dodger Stadium.
Carlos Beltran's sharp grounder bounced twice, hit off the heel of Diamondbacks third baseman Ryan Roberts' glove and then smoked Roberts in the jugular. The moment sort of summed up the past three days for the Diamondbacks.
NEW YORK - Miguel Montero didn't think it was just gone.
NEW YORK - The Diamondbacks trudged into the quiet of a losing locker room for the third time in the past four days Saturday evening. They had lost, this time 4-3 to the New York Mets at Citi Field, but like many of their recent losses, it didn't have that bad of a feel.
MIAMI-Trouble was brewing in Diamondbacks left-hander Pat Corbin's first major league inning. The bases were loaded with only one out, and the Miami Marlins' hottest hitter, Omar Infante, was up.
Josh Collmenter had not seen the sixth inning this season, let alone the seventh, and considering the Diamondbacks made a roster move to add a multi-inning reliever before the game, the team was preparing for the possibility of another short night for the right-hander Tuesday.
PHOENIX - The Diamondbacks' doomsday scenario might look something like what happened Tuesday.
PHOENIX - The Giants are built around their starting rotation, a unit that for years has not only frustrated the Diamondbacks but has rated among the best in the National League.
PHOENIX - The festiveness of opening day reminds Kirk Gibson of a holiday. It also reminds him of October and of what he wants out of his Diamondbacks team, which opens the season this afternoon against the San Francisco Giants.
The Diamondbacks set their opening day roster Wednesday morning, placing right-hander Takashi Saito on the 15-day disabled list with a calf strain and outrighting left-hander Mike Zagurski to Triple-A Reno.
SCOTTSDALE - If Ian Kennedy had better stuff, the Diamondbacks right-hander joked, then perhaps he wouldn't have faced the Los Angeles Dodgers at Salt River Fields on Saturday. Maybe then he'd believe the baseball adage that the more often a pitcher faces a hitter, the less advantage the pit…
SCOTTSDALE - Still breathing heavy from his daily running, right-hander Ian Kennedy motioned toward the Diamondbacks weight room, a place he believes might help him more for his next couple of seasons than his next couple of starts.
A theory: For a reliever, the eighth inning is a tougher assignment than the ninth.
While Trevor Bauer's quirks and Tyler Skaggs' curveball have received attention at Diamondbacks camp, a precocious Oklahoman has been throwing in the mornings at Salt River Fields, far from the spotlight.
SCOTTSDALE - Justin Upton wasn't two months past his 20th birthday when he played in his first postseason in 2007.
Diamondbacks second baseman Aaron Hill bounded out of the batting cage Saturday and seamlessly picked up a conversation with teammate Stephen Drew right where it had left off.
PHOENIX - Not long after Tyler Skaggs was drafted, the Los Angeles Angels wanted him to scrap his curveball. The pitch was slow and loopy, and they wondered whether a slider might work better for the tall left-hander.
SCOTTSDALE - When manager Kirk Gibson addressed the media a year
ago on Day 1 of spring training, he might have been the only person
in the building who truly believed the Diamondbacks could win. The
trick for Gibson was convincing everyone else.
The prevailing notion inside the Arizona Diamondbacks clubhouse
on Friday evening was the hope that their surprisingly successful
season is only the first of many to come.
MILWAUKEE - The door from the visitors' clubhouse to the field
kept swinging open, the roar of the Miller Park crowd still audible
well after the Diamondbacks' season had come to a stunning end
MILWAUKEE - This series has put "Beast Mode" on the map and
launched "The Snake." It has shown that sometimes there's no place
like home. It has seen wild momentum shifts and provided ample
fodder for second-guessing.
PHOENIX - Kirk Gibson didn't want this series to be easy. The
harder the better. Or so he told reporters in Milwaukee last week.
He has since reconsidered.
PHOENIX - Despite some fans calling for ace Ian Kennedy to pitch
Wednesday night on short rest, Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson
stuck with lefty Joe Saunders, a decision he explained to his
team's beat reporters before the start of Game 4.
PHOENIX - After a weekend of watching the Milwaukee Brewers romp
around Miller Park with a celebration borrowed from a kids' movie,
the Diamondbacks found their own "Beast Mode": It's one part a
real-life beast of their own, another part a hand gesture that
resembles a … well, we should let …
PHOENIX - The second-guessing doesn't surprise Diamondbacks
manager Kirk Gibson, nor, he says, does it bother him. Would you
believe he gets a small measure of enjoyment out of it? The edgy,
defiant kind, of course.
The second-guessing doesn’t surprise Diamondbacks manager Kirk
Gibson, nor, he says, does it bother him. Would you believe he gets
a small measure of enjoyment out of it? The edgy, defiant kind, of
Game 2 of the National League Division Series felt as if it were
being played on a DVR at double-speed. The rapid-fire pace, catcher
Miguel Montero said later, made him feel as if he were in a
MILWAUKEE - First base was open, Milwaukee Brewers slugger
Prince Fielder was at the plate, and in Diamondbacks right-hander
Ian Kennedy's mind, there were only two options: Either he pitched
to Fielder or someone else did.
MILWAUKEE — First base was open, Milwaukee Brewers slugger
Prince Fielder was at the plate, and in Diamondbacks right-hander
Ian Kennedy's mind, there were two only options: Either he pitched
to Fielder or someone else did.
PHOENIX - In one year's time, the Diamondbacks have gone from a
club that lost 97 games to one that opposing scouts are fearful of
meeting in the playoffs.
PHOENIX - The Diamondbacks missed a chance to move a step closer
to home-field advantage in the division series, but that seemed
secondary to the condition of star right fielder Justin Upton.
PHOENIX - A fastball from San Francisco Giants pitcher Tim
Lincecum glanced off the bill of Justin Upton's helmet in the first
inning Sunday afternoon, rattling just about everyone at Chase
Field - including Lincecum.
PHOENIX - Kirk Gibson woke up early Saturday morning with the
realization he had a lot of decisions to make. Should he juggle his
rotation? Does he need to rest his starting position players? How
many pitches should Ian Kennedy throw?
PHOENIX - With their playoff hopes perhaps riding on the play of
the Giants, Diamondbacks backup catcher Henry Blanco knew it would
be a tough sell to convince people that he and his teammates
wouldn't be paying attention.
SAN DIEGO - The Diamondbacks began the weekend with a magic
number of six and departed Petco Park with it down just to five,
and while that might not sound like much, you could hear the
collective relief in the voices.