Despite last night's loss, an excellent week for the Diamondbacks, as they ran their winning streak to nine games, going 5-1, and extending their lead over the Giants in the National League West from three to five, as San Francisco could only split their six games. Add that to another chunk carved off the remaining schedule, and things look very promising in Arizona. Of course, it ain't over - winning one of the games this weekend would be pleasant - but, in the larger picture of things, the D-backs continue to go in the right direction.
After the jump, we'll update some projection and have also our usual look to see what we need to do over the remaining 24 games.Even after Friday's defeat, coolstandings.com has us at 91.8% odds to win the division. Let's put that number in a game context. Remember Tuesday night's game against LOLorado, which the D-backs won 9-4? After Upton got hit, and Miggy swatted his three-run homer, to make the score 6-2 Arizona, our odds of winning that contest were, according to Fangraphs, 91.9%. So, that's basically where we sit this morning. At home, bottom of the fifth inning, with a four-run lead. Not over, certainly, but if you can find anyone who'd willingly swap places with the Giants, they must have eaten a baby giraffe or something.
Also worth noting is the steady pace of improvement in our odds, almost since the All-Star Break:
July 22nd: 24.4%
July 29th: 26.5%
August 5th: 49.1%
August 12th: 62.2%
August 19th: 68.0%
August 26th: 77.9%
September 2nd: 91.8%
That's six consecutive weeks of improvement, taking the Diamondbacks from fringe contenders to red-hot favorites. As we did last time, let's also project forward what the final standings would look like, if the teams in the NL West post the same record over the remaining 24 or 25 games, as they have over their last 24 or 25 games. The picture here is almost unchanged: Arizona will still take the division by ten games. Even the Dodgers' recent good form doesn't do much; the main difference is the Padres falling off a cliff at the bottom.
But now the bit you're all waiting for: the AZ SnakePit What The Diamondbacks Have To Do The Rest Of The Way Chart. It's mercifully a little smaller than the behemoth that was present last time, thanks to six fewer games on the schedule, including one less against San Francisco. The pattern is the same as before. Record against non-Giants opponents down the side, record against the Giants across the top, each box tells us what the Giants have to do to force a one-game playoff for the NL West. Red = D-backs guaranteed win, Orange = Giants certain success.
If you compare this chart to last week's, the difference is clear: the area in Sedona Red has expanded, and the section in Tenderloin Orange has shrunk away like a Californian budget surplus. Now, I'm not saying a couple more wins against the Giants this weekend would be anything other than very welcome, but the overwhelming edge still remains with the Diamondbacks at this point.