Tracy: Pitching makes the difference

Chad Tracy: Pitching makes the difference

As a team, we like our spot right now. Some might say the clubs in the NL West are down right now, but a few years back, San Diego snuck into the playoffs with some [82] wins, and I don't recall those guys caring too much about their record. It's all about getting there. We'll take a return to the playoffs any way we can get it.

Accomplishing what we did last year -- reaching the playoffs -- provides a boost to us this year, especially as we come down the stretch. We've been there, so to speak, and that experience definitely pays off. We battled in so many one-run games, and we relied on our bullpen to help us close out games. Hopefully we can do that again this year. We'll scratch out a few runs and let our pitching staff carry us.

The run last year also makes us hungrier this year. We did some great things last season, but we didn't reach that ultimate goal. You only have a limited amount of time in this game, and you don't always have windows to win. Those winning opportunities don't always come around, so you want to capitalize on them when they're right there in front of you.

As I mentioned earlier, our pitching staff can really carry us. On the starting side, our one-two punch of Brandon Webb and Dan Haren is as good as it comes. There are definitely some good pitchers around the league, but Haren and Webby have established themselves over a long period. Coming down the stretch, if it's close, our pitching staff will make us the team to beat.

We feel like teams are really going to have to swing the bats to beat us. We love our pitching. The Dodgers have good pitching, too, of course, and they're improved with the additions of Manny Ramirez and Casey Blake, but we feel like we have as good a chance as anyone.

We won't underestimate Colorado, either. Those guys are good over there. They have an offense that's as good as any in the National League. And after seeing that 20-game run from a year ago, you can never count them out.

Chad Tracy has played his whole five-year big league career with Arizona. The left-handed-hitting Tracy started the season on the disabled list, but has returned to hit .290 in 50 games for the defending NL West champs, who started action on Tuesday with a 58-54 record and 1.5-game lead over the Dodgers and an eight-game lead over the Rockies.