With the five teams currently in the National League playoff picture holding leads of at least six games for their postseason spot, the D-backs are trying to make the races in September more than just about positioning and home-field advantage in the Senior Circuit.
A win Tuesday for Arizona against Cincinnati in the second game of the clubs' four-game set at Great American Ballpark would certainly be a good place to start for the Snakes, especially following their loss Monday.
The D-backs trail the Dodgers in the NL West by 7 1/2 games and the Reds by six games for the second NL Wild Card spot. After dropping the opener, Arizona will attempt to even the series when it sends ace Patrick Corbin to the mound to face the slugging Cincinnati lineup.
Corbin will be looking for his first win since July 23, when the All-Star beat the Cubs to record his 12th victory of the season. Since then, the left-hander has lost a bit of his dominant form of late, posting a 4.26 ERA in three starts in August. In his last outing, Corbin worked seven innings against the Orioles, allowing four runs, all of which came in the fourth inning.
"I just wanted to go out there and throw up some zeros and see how many innings I could go," Corbin said after the game. "Try to stay in the ballgame as long as I could."
Although a six-game cushion in the standings in late August is no doubt a desirable position for the Reds, the club, which is 7-3 over its last 10 games, knows it still has to continue its winning ways, not only to make a run at the NL Central crown, but also to fend off Arizona.
"We see they are behind us," Reds third baseman Todd Frazier said, referring to the D-backs. "I'd be lying to you if I didn't say that, but we're trying to get that division right now. Winning games is the biggest part. Whether it's against the Diamondbacks, whether it's against the Brewers or the Cubs, we just have to win. That's what we talk about: winning games at any time or any way."
The Reds will have a young left-hander of their own toe the rubber Tuesday, with Tony Cingrani getting the start. Since rejoining the rotation on July 3, when Johnny Cueto went on the disabled list, the 24-year-old is 3-2 with a 2.12 ERA. Most recently, he allowed one run on four hits and a walk while striking out nine in 6 1/3 innings against the Brewers.
Reds: Jocketty contemplating callups
The Reds will soon have some decisions to make on September callups, once rosters are allowed to expand on Sept. 1. Those choices are far from clear for general manager Walt Jocketty.
"We're looking at what kind of depth we need. The biggest problem we have is [40-man] roster spots," Jocketty said on Monday.
Cincinnati's roster is currently at its 40-man limit, with two players -- relievers Sean Marshall and Nick Masset -- on the 60-day disabled list not counting against that number.
The one name that figures most in the dilemma is top prospect and speedy center fielder Billy Hamilton, who is not on the 40-man roster. He would have to be added before a promotion.
D-backs: Montero progressing
Injured D-backs catcher Miguel Montero was scheduled to catch in an Arizona League game Monday night for the first time since July 29, when he was placed on the disabled list with a lower back strain.
Montero was set to catch three to five innings Monday, take Tuesday off and catch around five innings on Wednesday. Arizona is hopeful that Montero can catch a full game by Saturday.
"We'll see how he's playing, how he's feeling, how he's swinging," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said.
If all goes well, Montero might be able to join Triple-A Reno next week while it is in Tucson.
• Reds starting pitchers are 10-3 in their last 13 decisions.
• Aaron Hill extended his hitting streak to 12 games on Monday with a solo homer off the Reds' Bronson Arroyo.
Tyler Emerick is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.