The Arizona Diamondbacks start a grueling stretch on Wednesday night when they play the Rangers in Texas before heading to Chicago and St. Louis. Sixteen of their next 19 games are away from Chase Field, and both Texas and St. Louis currently lead their respective divisions.
"Always a challenge but we've been pretty good on the road. We've played a fair amount of games there and we've been pretty good," said D-backs manager Kirk Gibson. "These guys get along well, again they prepare well and we've got a good routine."
Gibson is right, too. They're 14-10 on the road in 2013 and have won six of their last nine away from the Valley. The club has also spent a fair share of off-days in the visiting city, trying to acclimate to the time change and environment as soon as possible.
"I think our organization as a whole works very hard to try and make it so we can be as efficient with our time and our energy and our resources as we can with wherever we're at and whatever situation we're in," said the skipper Monday.
The D-backs currently sit in first place in the National League West with a two-game lead over the Giants and the Rockies. They've overcome injuries and their depth has helped them maintain an edge and a spot at the top of the division. That same depth could be tested over the next couple weeks.
"The schedule is good this year, it's really good. It's very competitive and you can't take anybody for granted and again we'll try to utilize all of our players to make sure we keep our guys fresh enough so they don't get run down," said Gibson. "If you get run down it's very hard to get back up, so we gotta really try to avoid that. We're getting into a segment of our schedule where it's going to be important that our depth really shows and plays well."
When the team was wrapping up Spring Training at Salt River Fields, questions arose about finding playing time for the plethora of infielders and outfielders Gibson had on his roster. With injuries to Adam Eaton, Willie Bloomquist, Aaron Hill, Cody Ross and Jason Kubel, the experienced and skilled depth on this team has proved invaluable up to this point.
Of the upcoming 19 games for Arizona, nine of them are against teams with a losing record in the Chicago Cubs, Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres.