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Preview, #38: Arizona Diamondbacks vs Pittsburgh Pirates

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The Pirates are having a disappointing season. But they're far from alone.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Today's Lineups

PITTSBURGH PIRATES ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS
Adam Frazier - LF Gregor Blanco - CF
Josh Harrison - 2B David Peralta - RF
Andrew McCutchen - CF Paul Goldschmidt - 1B
Gregory Polanco - RF Jake Lamb - 3B
David Freese - 3B Yasmany Tomas - LF
Josh Bell - 1B Brandon Drury - 2B
Francisco Cervelli - C Nick Ahmed - SS
Jordy Mercer - SS Jeff Mathis - C
Trevor Williams - RHP Taijuan Walker - RHP

We're not even a quarter of the way into the season, and things have already radically changed from expectations before Opening Day. The table below compared the projected win tally before the season [from USA Today, which just happened to be the first credible one I found when Googling] to the actual win percentages obtained through the start of play today. There's already quite a large discrepancy, with 40% of the teams being more than 100 points away from their expected tally - I'm not sure whether you'd expect that to increase or decrease as the season goes on, either due to more unpredictable events like injuries, or the larger sample size respectively.

Tm W L W% Exp W Exp L Exp W% Diff
MIN 18 14 .563 66 96 .407 .155
NYY 21 12 .636 80 82 .494 .143
HOU 25 11 .694 90 72 .556 .139
CIN 19 16 .543 66 96 .407 .135
BAL 22 12 .647 84 78 .519 .129
COL 23 14 .622 81 81 .500 .122
ARI 21 16 .568 74 88 .457 .111
WSN 22 12 .647 90 72 .556 .092
MIL 19 17 .528 72 90 .444 .083
CHW 15 18 .455 68 94 .420 .035
OAK 16 19 .457 70 92 .432 .025
STL 19 15 .559 88 74 .543 .016
LAD 21 15 .583 92 70 .568 .015
TBR 18 20 .474 75 87 .463 .011
LAA 17 20 .459 74 88 .457 .003
DET 17 16 .515 85 77 .525 -.010
SDP 14 23 .378 68 94 .420 -.041
PHI 13 19 .406 74 88 .457 -.051
SEA 17 19 .472 85 77 .525 -.052
CLE 18 16 .529 95 67 .586 -.057
ATL 12 20 .375 70 92 .432 -.057
BOS 18 17 .514 94 68 .580 -.066
NYM 16 18 .471 89 73 .549 -.079
MIA 13 21 .382 75 87 .463 -.081
TEX 17 20 .459 89 73 .549 -.090
CHC 18 17 .514 99 63 .611 -.097
PIT 14 22 .389 81 81 .500 -.111
KCR 14 21 .400 83 79 .512 -.112
TOR 15 21 .417 87 75 .537 -.120
SFG 13 24 .351 89 73 .549 -.198

So far, it's the Minnesota Twins who have been the biggest surprise in a positive way, with the Yankees just behind them. The Astros were expected to be good enough to win their division, but nobody expected their winning percentage to be this close to starting with a seven after 36 games. The D-backs are a little further back, but have still outperformed the USA Today prediction by 111 points, the second-most of any team in the National League West, with the Rockies just above them, with eleven additional points of overperformance. The Dodgers are one of the closest teams to expectations, and the Padres, too, are fairly close to as bad as people thought.

And then, there's the Giants. Hoo-boy. Watching the melt-down by the bay has only been slightly less pleasurable than the unexpected competitive nature of the Diamondbacks. Behind San Francisco, there is a 78 point gap before the next most disappointing team, the Toronto Blue Jays. Tonight's opponents, the Pirates, are also in the top five, along with the Royals and - another source of personal schadenfreude - the World Series champion Cubs, who look likely to fall back to the .500 mark, with defeat looming in St. Louis this afternoon. Of course, it's a long season, and there are still 125 or more games to go. But it's looking likely to be a very long summer for some fans.