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Let's Do The Panic

The June Swoon killed the 2013 Diamondbacks, as they've seen their lead go from 2.5 up in the division to 6 down. What will take for them to make the playoffs, or should we start drinking heavily now?

Jared Wickerham

The Diamondbacks face a 6 game hole with only 51 games left to play. I don't see how they can dig their way out without a miracle.

As has been said on this blog all season long, wins are money in the bank, and as long as you're accumulating the wins, they'll make it difficult for the other teams to overcome. No one should expect the Dodgers to continue playing the .800 ball they've played since July 1st, but even if they correct it will be hard to overcome.

As I've previously written about, the Diamondbacks don't have a great history of coming back to win the division late in the season. Even in 2011 the team was at near tie for first, only a half game back, at this point in the season. By August 10th they had taken over first place, and didn't relinquish it for the rest of the season.

The Dodgers currently are on pace to win 91 games, which means the Diamondbacks will need to go 36-15 the rest of the win the division. Of course, should Los Angeles slacken their torrid pace, then Arizona's path will get easier, but only marginally. And as Jim pointed out yesterday, even assuming the Dodgers only play .500 ball the rest of the way would require the Diamondbacks to put together a 31-20 run.

If there's some room for hope, it would be that the Dodgers have been out-performing their pythag by 4 wins so far. That might not much, though, because the Diamondbacks are matching their pthag record exactly. Remember when I said the Diamondbacks teams that faded after June were the ones that saw a drop in their pythag ratio? Yeah, guess what happened in 2013?

In June the major problem was the pitching; the team scored 120 runs in the month, their highest month-only total this year, yet also gave up 130 runs. In July the pitching only gave up 96 runs, their lower month-only total in 2013, yet the offense only scored 106 runs. The best hitting month managed to coincide with the worst pitching month, and the best pitching was matched with the worst hitting. No wonder we lost first place.

We've playing with borrowed time, but it's catching up with the team now. The team hasn't felt like a real contender all season, and now we're being revealed as the pretender we are.

The funny thing is that at the beginning of June the team was only 2.5 games up. Somehow our lead grew to 4.5, but we didn't want to believe that it couldn't last. The division wasn't going to stay terrible forever, and one of the teams predicted for the playoffs finally remembered how to play (and got healthy enough to act).

It's still in a realm of possibility for the Diamondbacks to make the playoffs, either by division or wild card. We've deluded ourselves this long. What's a little while longer?