PHOENIX -- Armed with a bolstered roster and a young pitching crop the envy of most big league clubs, the D-backs entered the 2012 season with a heap of expectations placed on their shoulders.
The potential, however, never quite panned out.
Even though the club won on Friday night, 8-3, against the Cubs, the D-backs were eliminated from postseason contention as the Cardinals won in St. Louis, 12-2, over the Nationals.
"When it's all said and done, the best teams are going to go to the playoffs," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "I have no problem saying that. We weren't good enough to be one of those teams this year. It wasn't from a lack of effort. You can dissect it a million different ways. They were better than us. We'll watch, learn and reload."
One of the biggest differences between 2011 and 2012 for the D-backs was that the club never went on a prolonged winning streak. The most games the team won in a row this year was five, while last season the D-backs put together runs of six, seven, seven and nine straight over the course of their campaign.
"We never put together that really strong run, sometimes that happens," outfielder Justin Upton said. "We knew we were a good team all year, we're a very talented team. You battle every night, but sometimes the chips don't fall your way. You learn from it, though."
With five games remaining until the club closes up shop for 2012, the D-backs insist they'll continue to play with the same effort as they would if they were in the postseason.
"We play for pride, we don't go out there and ever give up or roll over," Upton said. "We know we're done after Wednesday, but you have to play the game the right way."
The D-backs need two more wins to guarantee a .500 record this season, something the team believes could help them moving into next year.
"It's really important, you want to finish off on a good note," right-hander Ian Kennedy said. "It really helps when you start winning games at the end of the year and build off it."
Earlier on Friday, Gibson said he would only pencil the names of players into the lineup that will continue to turn in a full-effort performance every day.
"It's not you're eliminated and you throw it in, it doesn't operate that way," Gibson said. "The game of baseball is supposed to be fun, so let's go out there and play the game how it is supposed to be played."
Young could return, Bloomquist unlikely
PHOENIX -- With just six games remaining in the regular season, time is running out for injured players to make a return in 2012.
D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said Friday he expects outfielder Chris Young to be in the lineup again, but isn't so optimistic about veteran shortstop Willie Bloomquist.
Young, who is battling a right quad strain, reinjured the leg on Sept. 18 in the first inning against the Padres on the first play of the game when he ran for a fly ball in left-center field.
"I think he wants to play, he ran again today," Gibson said. "But we don't want to get into the same thing that happened last time, that's just foolish, there's no reason to do it."
The 29-year-old Young recorded a pinch-hit two-run single Thursday in San Francisco, but didn't play in the field.
Young also saw action on Friday, drawing a pinch-hit walk in the eighth, but he again didn't play defense in the ninth.
"I don't want him to re-hurt his leg," Gibson said. "It was probably a 4-6 week injury from the first time he did it, and we pushed it early. He ran the bases hard today, we pushed him hard, we'll see how he feels shagging balls. We'll see how he goes tomorrow and see if we can get him out there again."
As for Bloomquist, the 34-year-old reported that his injured back is now pain-free, but the club still isn't sure it wants to push him.
"What do we have to gain?" Gibson said. "It doesn't seem very smart or reasonable."
Since Aug. 9, Bloomquist has only appeared in a game once, when he took a pinch-hit at-bat in Los Angeles. On the season, the infielder is batting a career-high .302.
"We know we're not complete without him," Gibson said. "He means a lot to us, but he can't do it, physically, and we miss it."
Goldschmidt a late scratch with sore back
PHOENIX -- About an hour before first pitch Friday at Chase Field, the D-backs scratched first baseman Paul Goldschmidt from the lineup with a sore back and replaced him with Mike Jacobs.
Goldschmidt entered the game appearing in his club's last 26 games, dating back to Aug. 28.
The 25-year-old is batting .289 with 19 homers and 81 RBIs this season.
Since being called up from Triple-A Reno earlier this month, Jacobs has played in eight games for the D-backs in September, collecting one hit in seven at-bats.
Lindstrom still pulling for Orioles
PHOENIX -- Traded from the American League Wild Card-leading Orioles at the end of August for veteran pitcher Joe Saunders, D-backs reliever Matt Lindstrom hasn't been able to stop himself from keeping up with his former team, especially as his current club reaches the brink of elimination.
"It's tough not to, just because you have the MLB Network on in every clubhouse and you see what they are doing," Lindstrom said. "I know they are doing well, and I wish them well. It looks like they have a pretty good chance to make the playoffs, so I'll keep pulling for them."
While the 32-year-old wishes the D-backs, who will be eliminated from contention with any loss or Cardinals win, could've made a better postseason run, he's happy for his friends' success in Baltimore.
"My teammates I had over there are great guys," Lindstrom said. "They work hard and do their jobs. I'm sure I'll root for them."
In 10 appearances since the trade, Lindstrom has tossed 9 1/3 innings, allowing three earned runs on 10 hits while striking out nine.
"I thought I've done well so far, I feel like I've made my pitches, for the most part," Lindstrom said. "I've given up some pretty stupid hits, that's kind of been the story of my career, but it's about making better pitches, I guess, and knowing the hitters' tendencies. I've enjoyed my time here with my teammates, though."
D-backs hurlers swap gloves for fishing rods
PHOENIX -- Hours before the D-backs faced the Cubs on Friday night, a pair of Arizona pitchers put aside their gloves and picked up fishing poles.
But the players weren't miles away on boat in a lake. Instead, they were just steps outside Chase Field.
As part of the club's first annual Outdoor Rec Night, the D-backs set up an ATV course, rock climbing wall and a large pool filled with fish for patrons, and a few baseball players, to have a good time with.
National League Rookie of the Year candidate Wade Miley and right-handed pitcher Josh Collmenter each tried out their fishing skills.
Miley estimated he caught around 14 fish, while Collmenter said he only snagged roughly four.
"I had the better bait," Miley said. "There must've been a couple hundred fish in there."
Tyler Emerick is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.