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D-backs face tough final stretch against the NL West

Colorado Rockies' Ian Desmond (20) steals second as Arizona Diamondbacks' Brandon Drury (27) waits for the throw during the first inning of a baseball game, Friday, June 30, 2017, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)

With their win against the New York Mets on Tuesday, the Arizona Diamondbacks have now won 69 games, matching their win total from 2016 with 36 games left in the regular season. Despite the improvement, the D-backs’ most important work remains as they try to fight their way into the postseason by way of a National League Wild Card spot.

That fight won’t be easy because the road to the playoffs for Arizona will go through the National League West.

Twenty-eight of the D-backs’ final 34 will be played against NL West rivals, which includes at least one home-and-away series against all four teams in the division and a pivotal, four-game series at home against the other team currently holding onto a Wild Card spot, the Colorado Rockies. The two teams will meet at Chase Field Sept. 11 through Sept. 14.

Arizona has six games left each against the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres, seven games left to play against the Rockies, and nine more versus the San Francisco Giants.

The Diamondbacks have fared well against every NL West team expect the Dodgers, with a .520 winning percentage against the division. The D-backs are .500 in their matchups against both the Giants (5-5) and the Rockies (6-6), 9-4 against the Padres, and have a 5-8 record against the dastardly Dodgers. With 36 percent of their games against the NL West coming at such a crucial time, the D-backs will need to step up big against the teams they know best in order to make it into the playoffs.

The Rockies face a similarly difficult schedule against the NL West. Twenty-six of their final games are also against the division, with seven games each left to go against both Arizona and Los Angeles.

The D-backs exit Wednesday with a half-game lead on the Rockies, who in turn have a three-game lead on the Milwaukee Brewers, four-game lead on the St. Louis Cardinals, and 5.5-game lead on the Miami Marlins for the final Wild Card spot. Both Arizona and Colorado each have three games left to play against the Marlins.

The Wild Card chase has become extremely interesting and could come down to the wire for two of these five teams.

The deep NL West this season makes these finals games against the division rivals mean something significant for the D-backs, and it should produce some great drama for baseball fans as the season wraps up.

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