LOS ANGELES -- A trip to the Minors appears to have paid dividends for D-backs reliever Tony Sipp.
It was not so much his 3.86 ERA that got Sipp sent to Triple-A Reno on Aug. 4, but the 18 walks in 32 2/3 innings that was the real issue.
"We told him that he needed to throw more strikes, just be more consistent with that," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said of his message to Sipp when he was demoted.
In two games since his return to the big leagues, Sipp has walked one, struck out two and had not allowed a run in two innings.
"I felt like I was taking steps toward the right direction before I got sent down," Sipp said. "I knew I always had good stuff, it was just about me being consistent and throwing strikes. It was never about me just getting hit around a whole lot it, I walked a lot of guys, so I think a lot of it was me just getting back to what I knew I could do instead of pitching around guys go right at them. Be more aggressive out there in the strike zone. The more I do that the more I can then get swings on pitches out of the strike zone later. But it starts with challenging them."
On Thursday against the Giants, Sipp fanned two in his inning of relief.
"The last time Sipp threw, I thought it was his best appearance," Gibson said. "He had very good location, using the whole plate, just really threw the ball well."
Eaton sees every day as an opportunity
LOS ANGELES -- Aside from trying to help his team win, D-backs outfielder Adam Eaton has one goal each day.
"Every day I continue to try to learn, try to take something away from every game -- whatever spot I'm hitting in or position I'm playing," Eaton said. "The more experience I get in each spot, the better off I will be."
That's why the elbow injury that sidelined Eaton for the first three months of the season was so harmful. His elbow healed, but the time he missed slowed his progress.
"He definitely missed out on that," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "He improves with experience as he should."
After initially struggling at the plate when he came off the disabled list, Eaton has found his stroke at the plate, hitting .321 with an on-base plus slugging of .887.
"I think Adam was behind when he came back and he hasn't had a lot of big league time, so he's got a lot to learn, period," Gibson said. "It's just a natural process and he's doing well, he's paying attention. I think he's enjoying it now. Kind of taking the pressure off himself."
The mental strain that comes with focusing so hard on learning the game can take its toll as well, but dealing with that is part of the process for a young player.
"It's good for him to play a tough game and not only be physically tired, but mentally tired, go home and regroup and then do it all over again," Gibson said. "That's kind of part of the routine."
Gibby thinks fracas helped light LA's fuse
LOS ANGELES -- The last time the D-backs played a series at Dodger Stadium, former Arizona right-hander Ian Kennedy hit Zack Greinke with a pitch, touching off a nasty brawl.
At the time, the Dodgers 28-36 and in last place in the National League West. Los Angeles has gone 55-13 and run away with the division since.
Gibson was asked before Monday's game if he thought the brawl could have been one of the reasons for the Dodgers' turnaround.
"I don't think it hurt," Gibson said. "There's probably been instances like that throughout the history of the game that have helped people, helped bring them together.
"They got some players [back] and their rotation got in sync, they got [Ricky] Nolasco. A lot of things happened. It's just a combination of things and that was one of the things. They were in a testing time and they stood up for themselves. I don't think you can look at any one thing, it's a culmination of things and that may be part of what they're going to look back on."
• After being left out of the starting lineup the past two games with an upper respiratory illness, Martin Prado was back in left field for Monday's series opener against the Dodgers.
"I wouldn't say he's healed [but] he's much better today," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said.
• Arizona's Double-A Mobile affiliate has advanced to the Southern League finals after beating Mississippi, 15-0, on Sunday.
The BayBears are looking to become the first team to win three straight Southern League titles since 1975-77.
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Inside the D-backs, and follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.