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ESPN’s Tim Kurkjian optimistic about Diamondbacks’ postseason hopes

Arizona Diamondbacks' Robbie Ray throws a pitch against the San Diego Padres during the first inning of a baseball game Tuesday, June 6, 2017, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

The theme for the Arizona Diamondbacks for the second half of the season is taking one step forward, but then taking one step back.

The team is 17-22 since the middle of July and has seen a once-cozy 10-game lead in the National League Wild Card standings shrink to just 3.5 games entering Friday’s action.

ESPN insider Tim Kurkjian is still confident about the club’s chances to claim a playoff spot.

“The lead is still pretty stout right now,” Kurkjian said Thursday as he joined the Burns & Gambo show on 98.7 FM, Arizona’s Sports Station. “Even though the Rockies and the Diamondbacks have played poorly overall for the last few weeks here, I think they both hang on.”

Fortunately for the D-backs, other NL Wild Card contenders are in a downtrend. The Colorado Rockies have lost six of their last nine games, the Brewers are 15-21 since the All-Star break and the St. Louis Cardinals have lost seven of their last ten games.

“I just don’t see the teams behind them good enough to make a big enough run and catch them,” said Kurkjian.

The D-backs already have more wins this year than they did last year, with 34 games still to play, but have lost 10 of their last 16 games.

“Given the progress they made,” Kurkjian said. “I think it has to be looked as a win if they just get into the playoffs, but right now they’re limping pretty badly. “

Hypothetically speaking even if the D-backs held on to their playoff spot and advanced to the next round they would still have to play the Los Angeles Dodgers. A club that is 54 games above .500 (90-36) and have shown no signs of slowing down.

The D-backs are only 5-8 against the Dodgers this season. Four of those losses came by nail-biting one run games.

“I think the Dodgers are too good, but if they’re (D-backs) healthy, they’re going to be very difficult to beat,” Kurkjian said. “But, anything can happen in this sport, especially in a short series.”

The D-backs have not made the postseason since 2011, but given their new success and the way the team is assembled, Kurkijan believes the team will continue to be in the mix for upcoming seasons.

“I like the direction the Diamondbacks are going in. With some of the kids in the system, some of the young players on the major league team and firepower in that lineup and at least conceivably two really good starters for the foreseeable future there. All that suggests they can be a competitive team for several more years. “

The D-backs will begin their six-game home stand Friday against the San Francisco Giants.

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