WASHINGTON -- After a long 10-game, 11-day trip to Philadelphia, Atlanta and Washington, the D-backs can take solace in the fact that the furthest east they will have to travel the rest of the regular season is Denver.
Of the 31 remaining games, the D-backs will play 19 at home and 12 on the road. The trips are both six-gamers, one to San Francisco and Denver, and the other to Los Angeles and San Diego.
"It's nice because it feels like we've been away for a long time," pitcher Ian Kennedy said. "It's nice to know that we have only West Coast trips left and we get to finish at home. For me, it's nice to be around the family more."
The D-backs have just three games -- a home series against the Pirates -- outside of the National League West the rest of the way, including a home-and-home series with the Giants, their nearest division challenger.
"I kind of like when you finish up against your own division, because ultimately that's what it comes down to, beating your own division," Kennedy said. "It's nice that we're playing the Giants two more series, one at home and one on the road. It makes it a lot more interesting."
The D-backs finish the season with a nine-game homestand that includes a three-game set with the Giants.
New-look infield sports familiar combination
WASHINGTON -- If you thought the D-backs' starting infield looked familiar on Wednesday night, you must have been a Blue Jays fan four years ago.
New additions John McDonald (shortstop) and Aaron Hill (second base) joined holdovers Lyle Overbay (first base) and Ryan Roberts (third base) in the starting lineup against the Nationals. Overbay wasn't in the lineup on Thursday after starting the previous two games in the series.
According to David Vincent of SABR, it was the same starting infield the Blue Jays used on May 27, 2007 against the Twins at Minnesota.
That fact didn't seem to impress D-backs manager Kirk Gibson.
"Did they?" Gibson said prior to Wednesday's game. "Well, isn't that exciting. I hope they're productive tonight."
What Gibson does like is the familiarity McDonald and Hill have as a double-play combination after playing together for the Jays.
"They know each other's mannerisms, the feeds," Gibson said. "I think it's a good thing. The fact that we have two middle infield guys that have been playing together all year, I don't see how it can't be an advantage to them and our team."
D-backs manager Kirk Gibson gave veteran Lyle Overbay two straight starts at first this week because he wants to bring rookie Paul Goldschmidt along slowly. "Goldy's learning a lot of lessons now," Gibson said. "It gives him an opportunity to relax a little bit. You get overmatched. I just think there's a way to bring a young kid along. He gets on a big roll, obviously I would probably play him more. But again, I believe in watching how much you give somebody. He's getting a lot already, trust me, he's getting a lot."
Outfielder Justin Upton turned 24 on Thursday.
With a 65-0 record when leading after eight innings, the D-backs are the lone undefeated National League team in that category. The Red Sox (66-0) and the Tigers (63-0) are the only American League teams to not have a loss in that situation.