Preview: Game #84: Diamondbacks @ Mets

David Banks

Arizona needs a win today to stay above .500 for the season. Unfortunately, they're facing one of the best pitchers in the National League this season.

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Randall Delgado
RHP, 0-2, 4.05
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Matt Harvey
RHP, 7-1, 2.00

Diamondbacks Line-up

  1. Tony Campana, CF
  2. Aaron Hill, 2B
  3. Eric Chavez, 1B
  4. Miguel Montero, C
  5. Martin Prado, 3B
  6. Jason Kubel, LF
  7. Cody Ross, RF
  8. Cliff Pennington, SS
  9. Randall Delgado, P

Campana arrives, and immediately gets slotted in to the lead-off spot. Should be interesting, if only he can get on base often enough to use his devastating speed. He had 24 stolen-bases in 28 attempts for the Reno Aces this year, but I'd expect an on-base percentage in the majors closer to .250 than the .350 he achieved in Triple-A. Still, should be fun to watch. We also get Pennington rather than Gregorius, which is a little odd, considering it's a right-handed pitcher: but both men have hit a lot better vs. RHP than southpaws, so it's not much of a difference. Chavez starts at 1B for just the ninth time in his 16-year career, giving Goldie a day off. Still no Gerardo Parra.

If you're wondering how the Diamondbacks have managed to stay in first place, despite being mired deep in their worst slump of the season, the following tables should help clarify things. Here are the standings on Friday June 14. The last column is the Pythagorean winning percentage, based off the number of runs scored and allowed.

Tm W L W-L% GB RS RA PyW%
ARI 37 30 .552 -- 295 275 .532
SFG 35 31 .530 1.5 293 297 .494
COL 35 33 .515 2.5 337 302 .550
SDP 33 34 .493 4.0 281 302 .467
LAD 28 38 .424 8.5 232 280 .415

And here are the NL West standings for games played since that date.

Tm W L W-L% GB RS RA PyW%
LAD 11 5 .688 -- 70 60 .570
SDP 7 10 .412 4.5 58 70 .415
COL 6 10 .375 5.0 53 70 .375
ARI 5 11 .313 6.0 52 74 .344
SFG 4 13 .235 7.5 41 68 .284

Bad though the Diamondbacks have been of late, the team which was closest to us in the standings, the San Francisco Giants, have been even worse, and the third-placed Colorado Rockies and fourth-placed San Diego Padres have been only fractionally better. Those four teams have combined to win just one-third of their games since then, with a 22-44 record (and I suspect a lot of the 22 wins came against each other!). The Dodgers have, obviously, done a lot better, but their start to the season was so miserable that they were almost out of the picture. Now, that's no longer the case.

If the Diamondbacks had gone .500 over this stretch of games, they'd have built themselves a 4.5 game lead over the second-placed Rockies, which would be their biggest margin of the season. Instead, they find themselves on a five-game losing streak, and facing a pitcher who has allowed more than one run in only six of his 17 starts to date. Of course, there seems to be something about opposing aces that brings out the best in the D-backs, who have gritted out victories in starts by opposing aces such as Wainwright, Darvish, Kershaw (three times!), Cueto, Cain, Strasburg and Gallardo already this season. Can they add Harvey to that list? I certainly hope so.

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