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Diamondbacks face tough, up-hill battle in NL West

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The road back will be difficult and arduous.

As the Diamondbacks turn the quarter-pole of the baseball season and head to the half-way mark, that’s the prospect facing the D-backs.

While several conditions continue to influence Arizona’s fate, the team remains positive and refuses to look in the rear view mirror.

Forget and move forward.

As the D-backs opened a seven-game home stand against the San Diego Padres in Chase Field, that’s the mantra manager Kirk Gibson delivered Monday afternoon

With relief they have escaped the past and laid a foundation of hope for the future, the D-backs commence this seven-game home stand with reason to be optimistic.

Arizona has captured five of their last seven series dating back to May 2. Beginning with the Padres date on Memorial Day, the Diamondbacks have 19 of their next 27 games at home. Then again, this is a venue where they have not played particularly well.

Beginning the home stand Monday, Arizona is 6-18 at home and that includes two defeats to the Dodgers to start the season in Australia.

“We’ll go forward with a good attitude and can’t worry about what happened already,” Gibson said. “We need to play better at home and hope that is the case.”

Regarding the first two months of the season, Gibson refused to speculate or give any concrete reasons for the D-backs’ demise. Yet, he indicated his team has shown life in recent weeks.

“We continue to win series and head in a positive direction,” he added. “The pitching has been much better but we have lost more than our share.”

The Diamondbacks now have an opportunity to charge forward.

The team directly ahead, the Padres, provide the opposition for the next three games, beginning Monday. Should Arizona sweep the Padres series, they move within one-half game of San Diego. That stills leaves three talented teams ahead and not an easy task.

If the Diamondbacks face the challenge of division mobility, that would be the same for San Diego.

“”We’re trying to catch the Dodgers directly ahead of us and we’re all trying to catch the Giants,” said Bud Black, the San Diego manager before the series opener Monday. “The Giants are ahead because they’re pitching well and scoring now. With the lead they have, it makes match-ups down the line important.”

If the Padres are to make up ground, they will have to do so essentially on the road.

Beginning with the three-game set at Chase Field, San Diego plays 14 of their next 20 games away from Petco Park.

Like all optimists, Black then offered this dose of reality, when he said, “there’s still plenty of baseball to be played.”

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