If the Arizona Diamondbacks are to make a run in the National League West they’ll first have to get through the AL Central and a slew of road games.
As Interleague Play continues the Diamondbacks hit the road to take on the Kansas City Royals and Detroit Tigers before returning home to battle the Cleveland Indians, then depart again for visits to Oakland, Milwaukee and St. Louis.
Say hello to a season-defining stretch of games.
Just a half-game behind San Francisco for the division lead, a shot at bottom-dwelling Kansas City gives the D-backs a chance to make up some ground. Things will only get tougher from there, as Cleveland and Detroit are one and two, respectively, in the AL Central.
Struggle over the first nine games of this stretch and the D-backs will find themselves in a world of trouble, because the next 10 are all on the road, starting with former bench coach-turned-skipper-turned-consultant-turned A’s manager Bob Melvin and his squad.
After that it’s time for the top two teams in the NL Central, as both the Albert Pujols-less Cardinals and Prince Fielder-full Brewers await.
By the time the All-Star Game arrives in the Valley the Diamondbacks will have just finished up a stretch of 19 games, 16 of which will have been away from the friendly confines of Chase Field, and all but six against teams that have eyes on the postseason.
When all is said and done, will the D-backs be saying the same about themselves?