Remember the days when we were trying to figure out possible scenarios how the Diamondbacks would end up at 90 wins? Ah, happy days. The 11-17 record in May, when the schedule was supposed to be at its easiest, pretty much drove a stake through contention's heart, cut its head off, stuffed its mouth with garlic and buried it facing down at a nearby cross-roads. So, let's re-calibrate, accepting that - and I know this will be difficult to swallow - the 2016 Arizona Diamondbacks are not going to win 90 games this year. Call me Debbie Downer, but I'm doubtful that we're going to make it.
Instead, let's use three lines, indicating possible scenarios, and see how the team is stacking up against each. The positive scenario would see the team matching last year's tally, going 79-83, to finish just short of .500. The median scenario is the one which we projected last week, based off the Diamondbacks' first-half record, which saw Arizona improve fractionally, as most below .500 teams do, and end the year at 71 wins. The pessimistic scenario sees the team end at 63 wins. There's no particular reason for that figure, except it's as far below Scenario B, as Scenario A is above it. Also, any worse and the team has 100 losses. Which would not be good.
The chart below shows how the team has done so far. The basis is the schedule analysis I did before the season.There, I worked out, based on pre-season projections of each team's W-L record and home advantage, the chance of us winning each game. Add all those up and it's a projected win total. But we can also scale that route to reach any particular number by season's end, and you get a path of wins that takes into account the schedule. The four lines are: 79 wins (green), 71 wins (amber), 63 wins (red) and the actual wins recorded by the team (black).
The team has been almost exclusively between the red and green lines over the past two-plus months. Since April 29, the only day they've broken through the ceiling or floor was after the win over Colorado on May 10, That was our 17th victory, and the projection needed for 79 wins was 16.98 wins. We lost the following day to slide back into the zone, and have been there ever since. After last night's victory over the Dodgers, the 40th win, the D-backs are pretty close to the 71-win line (40.9 wins), and comfortably between the 63- and 79- projections, at 36.3 and 45.5 wins respectively).
Looking forward in the schedule, there is a relatively easy stretch of games coming up. We finish at home against the Blue Jays, then go on the road to face the Reds for three, then the Brewers for four - the projections saw us with a better than 50% chance of winning each of those. Even the revised 63-win schedule sees us picking up 3.6 wins in the next nine contests, rising to 4.1 for the 71-win line and 4.5 for the 79-win Of course, that was based on pre-season expectations, but I don't think they're too far off the mark for those three teams. USA Today had them at 86, 61 and 64 wins pre-season; their current paces are 90, 60 and 70 respectively.