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D-backs officially eliminated from playoff chase

D-backs officially eliminated from playoff chase

D-backs officially eliminated from playoff chase

DENVER -- The D-backs have known for a while now that they were not going to be playing in October.

Friday's results made it official.

The Reds' victory over the Pirates eliminated the D-backs from the chase for the National League's final Wild Card spot. On Thursday afternoon, the D-backs were eliminated from the NL West race when the Dodgers rallied for a win at Chase Field.

Now it's up to the Cardinals, Reds, Pirates and Nationals to battle it out to see which three teams will play in the postseaso.

For the D-backs, elimination is a tough pill to swallow given their playoff hopes coming into the season.

"We had expectations as a team," catcher Miguel Montero said. "A lot of things went wrong. When we pitched, we didn't hit. When we hit, we didn't pitch. We never clicked together and that's the difference."

Montero is not entirely accurate, as the D-backs did get off to a good start.

In fact, the D-backs sat atop the division on June 21, a whopping 9 1/2 games ahead of the last-place Dodgers.

"We definitely had our opportunities to kind of put our foot down and take full advantage of the division and didn't," closer J.J. Putz said.

The Dodgers would make them regret that.

After June 21, the Dodgers went on a 42-8 roll, while the D-backs hovered around the .500 mark. Eventually, L.A. would zip past Arizona and run away with the division.

"They've earned their way in," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "And I'd like to think that we made them better."

The D-backs held onto first place in the division for 67 days, but unfortunately for them, those 67 days came at the beginning rather than the end of the season.

With their playoff hopes over, the D-backs still have nine games to play.

In addition to the two games left in the series with the Rockies, the D-backs travel to San Diego for a four-game series starting Monday before wrapping up the season with a three-game series at home against the Nationals.

Washington may still have something to play for, as the Nats are five back in the NL Wild Card race.

Now that they are officially eliminated from the postseason chase, the D-backs will play some of their younger players more over the last 10 days.

Specifically, the D-backs would like to get a good look at shortstop prospects Didi Gregorius and Chris Owings as they try to figure out what they want to do with the position going forward.

Owings is also likely to see some time at second base to gauge his versatility, while prospect Matt Davidson figures to see plenty of playing time at third base.

"I want to give everybody a chance to play," Gibson said. "We still want to win as many games as we can, play it out as hard as we can play it. It's just good habit, it's the way you're supposed to do it. We're not going to go through the motions. If guys are going through the motions, they won't play."

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Inside the D-backs, and follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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