LOS ANGELES -- A loss to the Giants on Sunday, which eliminated the D-backs from playoff contention, showed Arizona where its club is at. A four-game series against the Dodgers that started Monday will show where they aspire to be.
After missing out on the playoffs for the fourth consecutive season, D-backs manager Chip Hale looks at the Dodgers as where they want to be -- a team closing in on its third straight division title. For Arizona, these games matter as a constant measuring stick for progress, and the D-backs also wouldn't mind delaying the Dodgers' celebration.
"I don't know if it's a spoiler role but we have to remember these are the teams that we aspire to get to," Hale said. "If that's being a spoiler, we're going to try to stave off them celebrating on the field with us."
Los Angeles is a place where the D-backs have had more than their share of troubles. They entered Monday 0-6 against the Dodgers in Los Angeles and were 2-7 last season on the road against the leaders in the National League West.
"A lot of times maybe the experience factor has shown through. But there's a reason they're in first place, there's a reason they're that many games over .500. It's all the reasons we can't beat them here so far. But we're looking to change that," Hale said.
The added benefit of playing the Dodgers is keeping Los Angeles from its third straight division title; the Dodgers entered Monday with a magic number of seven, which was lowered by the D-backs taking two of three against the Giants in San Francisco. The Dodgers clinched the NL West title in Arizona in 2013 and infamously celebrated by jumping into the pool at Chase Field.
"You never like to see a team celebrate on the field and that's one of those things in September if you're not in it, you hate to see. We're going to try to hold it off," Hale said. "They've obviously proven something this season and they're going to make the playoffs. We'd like to match up with them and see how well we can play."
Steve Bourbon is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.