PHOENIX -- Nationals manager Matt Williams is back in Arizona for a three-game series against the D-backs ,and Kirk Gibson welcomed his good friend back home with a simple message.
"He wants to win, and I want to beat his [butt], too, so that's mutual," Gibson said with a smile. "We have a lot in common, just the way we were brought up. We talked a lot when I was here and he was here. It will be interesting to see what changes he's made in his philosophies."
Williams, who makes his full-time home in Scottsdale, Ariz., has strong ties to the organization. An original member of the expansion D-backs in 1998, he played six seasons in Arizona and won a World Series with the team in 2001. He also served as a coach, broadcaster, front-office executive and part owner during his time in Arizona.
Williams joined Gibson's coaching staff in 2010.
"He had a real curiosity about everything, and he was dedicated to that," Gibson said. "Where other people might spend their time and their day doing things that were not relevant, he was always looking for something. He went off to the [Arizona] Fall League, and that was great for him."
The Nationals named Williams their manager last October.
"Everybody throughout the whole process was nothing but supportive," Williams said. "Gibby was supportive, Kevin [Towers] was supportive, Derrick Hall, Ken Kendrick and everybody was very supportive of my desire to do this, and if that opportunity came in another organization, they were behind me, and that's refreshing, because they want success."
Gibson and Williams know each other well, maybe too well. The pair spent hours together talking baseball and ran together six days a week.
"When you are in any game against any manager, you weigh all the information when you make a decision," Gibson said. "I've added a few things since he's been gone, too, in anticipation of him anticipating something from me."
D-backs enter homestand feeling good
PHOENIX -- There's a newfound sense of optimism in the home clubhouse at Chase Field.
The D-backs wrapped up a road trip with a 6-3 record, and they had won three series in a row entering the three-game set against the Nationals that began on Monday.
"We are not satisfied, and we want to play better than we have," D-backs catcher Miguel Montero said. "We still have a long way to go, and we need to keep playing better and hope to go on a run. We had a pretty good road trip, but we need more than that, a longer winning streak."
The D-backs had won seven of their last 10 games prior to Monday.
"We just have to keep the momentum going and keeping winnings series," Montero said. "We'll play one game at a time and then see what happens. But so far, we are playing better than what we have, and we are starting to feel better about the team."
D-backs hoping to find answer at home
PHOENIX -- The D-backs are still looking for a home-field advantage.
The club entered play Monday 12-10 on the road and 3-13 at Chase Field this season. The record drops to 3-15 at home overall when the two losses in Australia against the Dodgers to open the season are included.
"We just have to keep the same attitude and play the same way we do on the road," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "It's a good feeling. I know there is a lot of focus on the negative that has happened here, but this team has not bought into it. I've been very proud of them for doing that."
Arizona's 5.36 ERA at home entering play Monday was the highest in the National League, and second to only Houston's 5.45 mark at Minute Maid Park. The team's ERA on the road is 4.35.
"It's a great clubhouse atmosphere and commitment to stopping the bleeding and getting back on track," Gibson said.