The D-backs will arrive at PETCO Park for a three-game set starting Friday holding a magic number to clinch the division of six with the trailing Giants heading to Colorado for a four-game set against the Rockies.
When the D-backs arrive, they'll be greeted by right-hander Tim Stauffer, who has put together his finest season in the Majors. He'll be matched against left-handed rookie Wade Miley.
The Padres don't have to think back too far to remember when they were the upstart team trying to close out the division title, having taken their quest down to the last day of the season a year ago before the Giants took the title en route to the World Series.
What Padres manager Bud Black sees in the D-backs is a team on a mission.
"They've got a good thing going on right now," Black said after the Padres wrapped up a 1-6 road trip. "They're playing with a lot of confidence, a lot of momentum, a revamped pitching staff. Some young pitchers have come on. The middle of their lineup's doing a nice job.
"A couple new guys have infused a little energy into their club. Just a lot of confidence and momentum right now."
Stauffer, who already made 2011 his first 30-start season after a previous career high of 14 over parts of six seasons in the Majors, has gone four starts without a victory, including a meeting with the D-backs his last time out. He gave up three earned runs in 5 1/3 innings but didn't factor in the decision in a 6-5 Padres loss in 10 innings.
Since his promotion in August, Miley has gone 3-1 in five starts. That includes a no-decision in that 6-5 win over the Padres last Saturday, in which he allowed five runs on eight hits and four walks.
Padres: Hundley has a hot bat
Catcher Nick Hundley, who had Wednesday off and figures to be back in the lineup Friday, has hit safely in 20 of 26 games since returning from the disabled list Aug. 12.
After going 2-for-4 with a double and a walk Tuesday night, Hundley is batting .413 (38-for-92) with eight doubles, four triples, five home runs and 11 RBIs. His .413 average qualifies as the best average in the Majors since the All-Star break.
The Padres are now 4-17 in a stretch of 30 consecutive games against NL West opponents, which runs up to the final series of the season against the Cubs of the NL Central.
D-backs: NLDS prices start at $12
Ticket prices for possible NL Division Series games at Chase Field will range from $12 for outfield reserve seats to $140 for clubhouse boxes, the D-backs announced Wednesday, a 24 percent decrease from the 2007 NLDS when the team hosted the Cubs.
J.J. Putz (19-for-19), David Hernandez (4-for-5) and Zach Duke (1-for-1) have converted 24-of-25 saves since the All-Star break.
The D-backs are 15-4 in the midst of playing 22 straight games and 28 of their final 31 games against NL West teams.
Probable pitchers for the rest of the D-backs-Padres series: Josh Collmenter vs. Wade LeBlanc on Saturday and Joe Saunders vs. Aaron Harang in the Sunday finale.
The D-backs and Padres are entering their final meeting of the season, with Arizona holding a 10-5 advantage with three to go. The Padres won the season series last year, 10-8.