Busy schedule looms in second half

Busy schedule looms in second half

Busy schedule looms in second half
CHICAGO -- Hopefully, for their own sakes, the D-backs got plenty of rest during the All-Star break, because the schedule is not going to cut them much slack over the next two months.

Starting Friday against the Cubs, the D-backs begin a stretch of 55 games with just two off-days squeezed in.

"This is the most crucial part of the season so far," manager Kirk Gibson said. "This next stretch, 53 games."

The D-backs play 20 straight days, have a day off, play 10 straight, have a day off and then play a whopping 23 straight days.

The 23 consecutive days with games is a violation of the Basic Agreement between the owners and players, and the D-backs are close to changing one of the games of the series with the Marlins from Aug. 20-23 to a day-night doubleheader, thereby adding an off-day.

An announcement on the change could come as soon as next week.

Either way, the next 55 games will be challenging, and Gibson is hoping that the extra days of rest he has given his starters to this point in the season will pay off with them being able to go deeper into games during this stretch.

"I'm hoping they have more in their tank," Gibson said of the starters. "They're going to be digging down."