By Josh Greene
As the D-backs wind down their 2011 regular season road schedule with the weekend series in San Diego, Executive Vice President & General Manager Kevin Towers is once again back at his old PETCO Park stomping grounds.
Serving as Padres GM from 1996-2009, San Diego brought home five National League West titles and one World Series appearance during Towers’ tenure. Even though he left the Padres a year earlier, he sees a lot of similarities between the 2010 Padres he helped shape and the D-backs club he has built this season.
“Anything can happen in baseball,” Towers said. “I felt that I inherited enough good players here that we could turn this thing around and be a .500 or better club. When you start the season, you never know what exactly the outcome will be. I saw a Padres club last year, who I thought was somewhat similar to us in pitching and defense and without a lot of big names… they took the Giants down to the last day of the season. So if they were able to do it, why not us?”
Mired in a three-game losing streak heading into Sunday’s finale, the D-backs have a five-game lead over the Giants in the NL West with 10 games to play.
“We’ve been a very resilient team,” Towers said. “We’ve had a couple of losing streaks, but we’ve been able to bounce back. That’s because we’ve stayed focused. Even those games we lost in Philadelphia and Atlanta, we were in most of those games. When we homer, we usually win. When we don’t, we usually struggle. We have a lineup with weapons throughout. It’s not just one player. Justin Upton’s had a great year, but so have Ryan Roberts, Miguel Montero and Gerardo Parra. We have a lot of different ways we can beat you. We also pitch well and stay in ballgames.”
With an 11-12 record in 2011, Joe Saunders looks to reach the .500 mark Sunday, before the D-backs head back to Chase Field for the final homestand of the regular season.
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