When this stretch of games began for them last week, the Diamondbacks’ remaining schedule had an ominous look to it. It was overflowing with games against contending clubs — many of the same teams that had given the Diamondbacks trouble this year — and it felt like the kind of stretch that could torpedo a potentially encouraging season.
Now that they are fresh off their seventh win in the past eight games, all which have come against wild-card contenders, the schedule has a different look, Diamondbacks infielder Josh Rojas said. It looks like an opportunity.
“For sure,” Rojas said after the Diamondbacks beat the Milwaukee Brewers for the second time in as many days, eking out a 2-1 victory on Friday night. “I think before this last month those were maybe just survival games. I think right now we’ve got to try to prove a point that we’re a better team than we show in our record.”
Their record, as it turns out, is not so unsightly these days. At 63-68, the Diamondbacks are another good week away from the .500 mark, a remarkable fact given how incapable of winning games they appeared to be for long stretches this season, particularly in mid-July.
Of course, in many of those pre-All-Star break losses, the Diamondbacks were often one play, one pitch or one hit away from a potential victory. But that could be an easy thing to overlook when losses keep piling up, particularly when coming off the sort of season the Diamondbacks had a year ago.
The mood is different these days.
“I know talking to the guys in the locker room, a lot of us are looking forward to that, especially these couple of LA series that we have coming up.” Rojas said of the team’s upcoming schedule, which includes eight games against the first-place Los Angeles Dodgers, including a five-game set at Dodger Stadium later this month.
“They’ve had our number so far this year and hopefully this month we can go out there and put up a good fight and try to win some ballgames against them.”
Slugger Emmanuel Rivera collected three hits, driving in a run and scoring another. Christian Walker (double) and Jake McCarthy (RBI single) also had a hand in the Diamondbacks’ two-run fifth inning. Right-hander Zach Davies was charged with just one run 4 2/3 innings, exiting early after a 30-pitch fourth inning drove up his pitch count.
In addition to the Dodgers, the Diamondbacks still have games remaining against the Padres (seven) and Astros (two) in addition to five more against the Brewers, including three to finish the season in Milwaukee.
A week ago, the Diamondbacks opened a three-game series in Chicago with their recording at 11 games under .500. The past few days, more players have started to talk about reaching the break-even point.
“We’ve been playing good baseball lately, but we’re still below .500,” Rojas said. “I don’t think that’s where we feel we belong as a team. We’ve lost some games that we should have won throughout the year, and hopefully this last month we can prove to these teams that are in the fight that we’re a team to recognize.”
Said Davies: “Every team, you want to win. Coming in and knowing this team has the talent and the means to win — and being able to prove it, not just to everybody outside the clubhouse, but the guys in it, it’s good to see.”
Reach Piecoro at (602) 444-8680 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @nickpiecoro.