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Arizona Diamondbacks Game Preview, #132: Giant killers?

Games until the blessed end of the season: 31

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
Zack Greinke
RHP, 11-4, 4.29
Johnny Cueto
RHP, 14-4, 2.86
Jean Segura - 2B Denard Span - CF
Michael Bourn - LF Angel Pagan - LF
A.J. Pollock - CF Buster Posey - C
Paul Goldschmidt - 1B Brandon Crawford - SS
Welington Castillo - C Brandon Belt - 1B
Jake Lamb - 3B Hunter Pence - RF
Yasmany Tomas - RF Joe Panik - 2B
Chris Owings - SS Eduardo Nunez - 3B
Zack Greinke - RHP Johnny Cueto - RHP

If the season had started at the All-Star break, this would be the standings going into this evening's game.

Tm W L W-L% GB RS RA Pyt%
LAD 22 18 .550 -- 204 195 .521
COL 23 20 .535 0.5 240 207 .567
ARI 17 24 .415 5.5 198 279 .348
SDP 17 24 .415 5.5 168 185 .456
SFG 14 26 .350 8.0 162 173 .470

Yep, the Giants would be last in the division and it wouldn't be particularly close. Indeed, the Giants have been the worst team in the entire National League over the second half, two games back of the Braves and Brewers. If that keeps up going forward, then hopefully that "even year magic" bullshit will end. Though the Giants still hold the first wild-card spot, so effectively, they have a 3.5 games hold on a play-off position, currently ahead of the Pirates. That's why Baseball Prospectus gives them a 79.8% chance of making the post-season, and is even more optimistic, at 83.4%. I'm pretty sure Giants fans don't feel quite as hopeful.

I feel somewhat vindicated though, having picked the Phillies and Giants earlier in the season as teams who were over-performing their Pythagorean records to the greatest degree. In the second half, the Giants have regressed, under-performing by 120 points of W%, and they're now actually one below what Pythag projects. Of late, they've won the blowouts and lost the close games - over their past 16 games, San Francisco are 0-6 in games decided by two or fewer runs. They also have one win over that time in which they've scored under six times, so if Greinke is on form tonight, that may bode well for the visitors.

On the other hand, Cueto has been pretty good, allowing just the one score in each of his past two outings. We saw him at the beginning of July and, though he wasn't great (four earned runs over seven innings), it proved good enough for the Giants. We've seen him three times this season: he's 2-1, having gone seven innings each time, and with an ERA of 3.86 against the Diamondbacks in 2016. Our offense looks to be at full strength tonight: Hale is sticking with having Pollock hitting three, behind the 1-2 of Segura and Weeks, and in front of Goldschmidt. We'll see how that works.