The D-backs and the Rockies haven't played since the home opening series in Colorado and a lot has happened since the first weekend of April. The two teams meet for the first time this season at Chase Field with the opener of a three-game series on Monday.
The Rockies, after winning two out of three in Los Angeles this weekend, are 14-12, tied for second with the Dodgers and only 1 1/2 games behind the Giants, who are atop the National League West.
"I feel good about where we're at, about where we are with our starting pitching," manager Walt Weiss said after the Rockies won, 6-1, on Sunday. "Take two of the top three starters out of any rotation in baseball and see what happens. It's going to be a challenge. We're doing OK because of guys like Jordan Lyles and Franklin Morales."
Meanwhile, the D-backs lost two out of three to the Phillies at home where their record is 2-13. They're overall 8-20 mark puts them dead last in the NL West and their .286 winning percentage is the worst in the Major Leagues.
Still, there are positives. The starting rotation, which is also the worst in the big leagues, has come back in the last four games to contribute four quality starts. Only Wade Miley, pitching against Morales on Monday night, went less than six innings in his last start last Wednesday against the Cubs in the 100th birthday game at Wrigley Field.
"It's been pretty good, been much better," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said about the rotation after a 2-0 loss to the Phils on Sunday in which Brandon McCarthy set a career high with 12 strikeouts. "We just need to get synced up and play a total game in all aspects of the game. We haven't been able to do that. If it's a tight game, we have to find a way to win it."
D-backs: Gibson trying to settle rotation
With left-hander Randy Wolf waiting in the wings and rounding into shape at Triple-A Reno, D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said that he and upper management are reviewing the D-backs pitching every day. The rotation is set through the three-game Rockies series, but beyond that is anybody's guess.
"We haven't talked about [Wolf] at all," Gibson said on Sunday. "We're just focused on the games, trying to win the games, get through our rotation. We seem to be making some progress. We want to continue to improve on that. If the starting rotation continues to throw good games like they're throwing, we'll get caught up and it'll be much easier to manage that bullpen."
Wolf, who has recovered from his second Tommy John ligament replacement surgery, had a good spring pitching for the Mariners, but declined a Major League contract over a dispute with Seattle management. He subsequently was signed by the D-backs to a Minor League deal and is 2-1 with a 3.71 ERA and 15 strikeouts in 17 innings over the course of three starts.
Rockies: In good position on the road
The Rockies don't have much of a playoff history, but the formula for when they do make it is to dominate at home and hold serve on the road. By taking two of three from the Dodgers, the Rockies improved to .500 in National League West road games. Even more, they head to Arizona with their three currently most effective starters -- lefty Morales, and righties Tyler Chatwood and Lyles going.
"All these games are big in the division, at home or on the road," Weiss said. "Regardless of how Arizona has played up to now, I go in there with the expectation it's going to be a dogfight. It was a tough place for us last year [2-8]."
Chatwood established himself last season by going 8-5, 3.15 in 20 starts. But Morales and Lyles were wild cards.
Morales had been a spot-starter throughout his career, but he beat Lyles out for a rotation job in the spring. But injuries, first to Chatwood and then to lefty Brett Anderson, have opened consistent starts for Lyles. Both have responded. And the Rockies are holding their own without having had a pitch this season from right-hander Jhoulys Chacin, who set career records for wins (14), starts (31) and innings pitched (197 1/3) last year.
Morales has given up two runs and nine hits with 12 strikeouts in 13 innings over his last two starts. Lyles is not only is 3-0 with a 2.93 ERA, but the team has won four of his five starts.
• The D-backs pitching staff is third in the NL with 232 strikeouts, behind the Dodgers at 234 and the Nationals at 249.
• Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado's single in his first at-bat Sunday extended his hitting streak to 17 games, the longest such run in the Majors this season. Also, Justin Morneau heads into Monday with a 10-game run.
• After a slow start, D-backs second baseman Aaron Hill is hitting at a .474 clip (9-for-19) over the last five games.
• The Rockies have had four players -- Arenado, Morneau, Michael Cuddyer (March 31-April 9) and Carlos Gonzalez (March 31-April 11) -- fashion streaks of 10 or more games.
Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.