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Hinch takes spoiler role seriously

Hinch takes spoiler role seriously

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DENVER -- Of the remaining 25 games on the D-backs' schedule, at least 16 of them look like games with playoff implications.

The D-backs play four more games against the National League Wild Card-leading Rockies, three more games against the NL West-leading Dodgers, six more games against the Giants, who are chasing in both races, and three against the Cubs, who are clinging to Wild Card hopes from seven games back.

It doesn't necessarily give manager A.J. Hinch much opportunity to evaluate September callups, as he is determined to put the best team out to win a game on a daily basis.

"I have a lot of respect for the integrity of the games and the competition," Hinch said. "There'll be a lot of scenarios where: 'Are you going to take a look at young guys? Are you going to play regulars? Are you going to skip Dan Haren?' I believe in the integrity of the season."

Both games in Colorado have had a touch of playoff atmosphere, with the D-backs taking a tie game into the seventh on Friday and staying within a run until the fifth on Saturday before ultimately losing, 4-1. And while the D-backs have averaged a respectable 26,002 in attendance at home this season, they saw three crowds of 45,000-plus in Los Angeles to open the road trip, and they've played for 70,000 fans in Colorado in the first two games of the series.

"I want our guys to feel the energy of playing in this environment," Hinch said. "We've got to take care of our business. I'm going to play a variety of people, but I do respect the division races. We want to win these games. We don't want to just play out the season and be somebody's punching bag."

Part of taking care of business includes make evaluations of some of Arizona's top prospects at the big league level. He was able to see Bryan Augenstein throw a scoreless inning out of the bullpen Thursday at Los Angeles in his first big league relief appearance, along with a scoreless relief inning from Kevin Mulvey in his D-backs debut the same day, and he got John Hester a pinch-hit at-bat in the ninth Saturday.

"It was good to see Mulvey and Augenstein both get an inning of work in," Hinch said. "In a down-one game, down-two at the end. They're not used to those roles. It was a good opportunity for them, Augenstein, in specific, through the middle of their order. That's a good test. You want to be a Major League reliever? Here's [Andre] Ethier, [Manny] Ramirez and [Casey] Blake."

The D-backs have expanded their roster only by three so far in September, including six-year Major League veteran starter Daniel Cabrera, who signed as a Minor League free agent in August and will be available out of the bullpen Sunday for the first time.

"We'll probably have a couple at the tail end of the Triple-A season," Hinch said, anticipating further expansion of the roster after Reno wraps up play Monday. "We could have a couple more guys. [Outfielder Trent] Oeltjen for sure. And then as we're evaluating [Chris] Snyder's health. We'll see if there's another catcher. I think we have enough pitching here now, certainly with length, now that Cabrera's here. We have three guys that were starting in the Minors that are now in our 'pen, so we should have plenty of pitching. But you never have enough pitching. [Left-handed pitcher Scott] Schoeneweis will be activated [from the disabled list] when we get home."

Hinch takes the responsibility of spoiler seriously, determined to field a competitive team as he tries to evaluate the D-backs' future in the waning weeks of the season.

"I'll balance [trying to win] with the opportunities to take a look at guys that maybe haven't been up here all year," Hinch said. "The Justin Uptons the Mark Reynolds the Miguel Monteros, the Dan Harens -- those guys will be sprinkled all over these games."

Pitching matchup
ARI: RHP Yusmeiro Petit (3-8, 5.47 ERA)
Petit has pitched well for the better part of the past two months. There had been speculation that he would lose his spot in the rotation, but over his last seven starts he has a 3.00 ERA. That number goes down to 1.54 if you remove one start in which he allowed seven runs in just four innings. Last time out against the Dodgers, Petit got a no-decision despite allowing just two earned runs in five innings.

COL: LHP Jorge De La Rosa (13-9, 4.60 ERA)
De La Rosa couldn't command his fastball and had a hittable changeup in the first inning of his last start, at home against the Mets. But he grabbed control of his mechanics and gave the Mets absolutely nothing thereafter. De La Rosa held the Mets to no further scoring and four hits in six total innings.

Tidbits
Miguel Montero's bunt single to third in the fourth inning on Saturday gave him a career-high hitting streak of 10 games. He is hitting .351 (13-for-37) during the streak. ... Doug Davis yielded his second leadoff home run of the season to the Rockies on Saturday, with Carlos Gonzalez joining Dexter Fowler, who took Davis deep to open the April 8 game in Arizona. ... Reynolds played in a team-high 130 of the D-backs' first 137 games before earning a rest Saturday. The next closest is Upton, with 113. ... Brandon Allen is 2-for-18 on the road trip, with both of his hits going for homers. ... Chris Young had his 13th multihit game of the season, going 2-for-4 on Saturday. It was his first multihit game since July 26 against the Pirates.

Tickets
 Buy tickets now to catch the game in person.

On the Internet
 MLB.TV
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television
• FS-A

On radio
• KTAR 620, KSUN 1400 (Español)

Up next
• Monday: D-backs (Max Scherzer, 9-8, 4.10) vs. Dodgers (Vicente Padilla, 9-6, 4.72), 12:40 p.m. MST
• Tuesday: D-backs (Billy Buckner, 2-6, 8.29) vs. Dodgers (Chad Billingsley, 12-9, 3.86), 6:40 p.m. MST
• Wednesday: D-backs (Dan Haren, 13-8, 2.78) vs. Dodgers (Jon Garland, 9-11, 4.23), 7:10 p.m. MST

Owen Perkins is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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