PHOENIX -- The Arizona Diamondbacks lead the NL West by five games after becoming the first National League team in 111 seasons to win their first nine series.
Not that it has swayed the competition.
"When it's all said and done, the Dodgers will be at the top of the division," Roberts told reporters before the Dodgers' game in San Francisco on Sunday.
If the present does not back Roberts, the recent past does.
The Dodgers have won the last five NL West titles, and they made it all the way to Game 7 of the World Series last year before falling to Houston.
They have an opportunity to make some immediate inroads Monday in the first game of a four-game series at Arizona.
Former Dodgers right-hander Zack Greinke (2-2, 4.80 ERA) will start for Arizona, while the Dodgers are expected to start right-hander Brock Stewart. Rich Hill was expected to be activated from the disabled list to make the start, but his return was stalled because of an infection in the middle finger of his pitching hand. Stewart was recalled from the minors Sunday.
The Diamondbacks (19-8) tied the franchise record for best start by winning three-game series in Philadelphia and Washington on a road trip that ended Sunday with a 3-1 win. The last NL team to start that quickly was the 1907 Chicago Cubs, who won their first 11 series. The 2001 Seattle Mariners also won their first nine, the only other team since the 1907 Cubs to do that.
Included are two series wins over the Dodgers, who were swept in a three-game series at Chase Field from April 2-4 and salvaged the final game of a three-game set at Dodger Stadium from April 13-15. Arizona has won 11 of the last 12 regular-season meetings between the two.
Arizona received some bad news Sunday, however, when left-hander Robbie Ray was diagnosed with a strained right oblique muscle and is to be given an MRI on Monday. Ray was removed after feeling discomfort on his first pitch to Matt Wieters with one out in the second inning. Greinke went 39 days between starts after suffering a strained oblique in July 2016.
Ray, 2-0, was an All-Star in a breakout 2017 season when he won 15 games, and his loss, even for a short period, will require the Diamondbacks to find a second "next man up" after losing No. 4 starter right-hander Taijuan Walker for the season after Tommy John surgery. Matt Koch has made two starts in that spot, and Arizona remains the only NL team with an ERA under 3.00.
"I felt great up until that one pitch," Ray said. "I was letting go of the ball and just felt my side grab and I wasn't able to finish the pitch and left it up and away. I just wasn't able to get anything on it."
Greinke, who finished second in the NL Cy Young voting while with the Dodgers in 2015, beat Los Angeles in his only start against them this season when he gave up five hits and four runs with seven strikeouts after being staked to an 8-2 lead. He was 1-2 with a 3.65 ERA in four starts against them last season and is 5-4 with a 3.91 ERA in 12 career starts against them.
Greinke is 1-0 at Chase Field and has allowed two runs in two home starts this season after leading the NL with a 13-1 home record a year ago.
As well as the season has started for Arizona, the Dodgers have had their trials.
Los Angeles (12-15) has lost five of its last six after dropping three of four in San Francisco over the weekend. Yasiel Puig was placed on the disabled list Sunday after suffering a bruised foot when he ran into the right field fence to catch a foul fly ball in the Dodgers' 15-6 victory in the first game of a doubleheader Saturday afternoon, and Cody Bellinger was removed in the sixth inning Sunday after getting two hits in a 4-2 loss. Top prospect Alex Verdugo was recalled to take Puig's place.
While the Dodgers scored 24 runs in San Francisco, the bullpen gave up 12 runs in 10 1/3 innings in the series.
The Dodgers have won two series, sweeping San Diego and taking two of three from Washington during a mid-April stretch.
"It's a tough month for us," Roberts told reporters. "The solace is that no one's making excuses and we're playing hard. Guys are trying to make pitches. It's just not happening right now. That's encouraging. It really is."
Stewart has made two of his nine career starts against the Diamondbacks and had his only two career victories against them, both in September of 2016. He went five innings in each game, giving up a total of 10 hits and three runs. He has not pitched in the majors this season and was 1-0 with a 2.41 ERA in four starts at Triple-A Oklahoma City.