What seemed a foregone conclusion for much of the season is now rather less than certain. The Colorado Rockies, who led the NL West as late as June 20, are now back in third place, and only clinging to a one-game lead over the Milwaukee Brewers for the final wild-card spot. Both sides have ten games left: Colorado follows us into San Diego for four, then finishes at home against Miami and Los Angeles. Meanwhile, the Brewers are at home for four against the Cubs, and the Reds, then finish on the road versus the Reds. And we probably shouldn’t entirely forget the Cardinals, a further 1.5 back of the Brewers: they have 11 left, facing everyone in the NL Central, at least once.
Fangraphs still makes the Rockies favorites, with a 68.1% chance of getting a wild-card spot. The Brewers sit at 18.7% and the Cardinals 10.8% - the balance is the Cubs, but for now, let’s presume they are going to hold on to their 3.5 game division lead. So, who would you want the Diamondbacks to play in the wild-card game on October 4, almost certainly at Chase Field? We’ve discussed this somewhat previously, but with it being an off-day today, I figure it probably deserves it’s own topic. Here, in descending order of Fangraphs’ likelihood, is a quick overview of why we might (or might not!) want to see each of them.
Diamondbacks record: 11-8. They’re certainly the team with which we are most familiar. And that goes all the way back to spring training, since we share the Salt River Fields complex with them. We have beaten them seven of the last nine times we faced them this season, but it is worth remembering they did take the first two series this year. The conventional wisdom is that we wouldn’t want to play the Rockies at Coors Field, but overall this year, we’ve done better against them there, going 6-3, compared to a 5-5 record at Chase Field.
Diamondbacks record: 4-3. The particular appeal here is revenge. We have certainly not forgotten the 2011 NL Division Series, where the Brewers beat us, despite the D-backs outscoring them 25-23. That went all the way to extra innings of Game 5: there’s certainly a case that the deciding factor was one Ryan Joseph Braun, who hit .500/.571/.889 in the series, for a 1.460 OPS. And, of course, subsequently failed a drug test. Six years later, he’s still with the team, and eliminating them from the post-season in our next trip back would be only fitting. We took the series against them in Phoenix, and split four games in Milwaukee.
St. Louis Cardinals
Diamondbacks record: 3-4. The only team here against whom we don’t have a winning record, and you could argue they’re the best of the three. By fWAR, their offense is clearly tops (they rank 7th, MIL 19th and COL 24th), while their pitching can stand alongside the others (MIL 8th, STL 9th, COL 10th). However, the D-backs showed themselves able to keep the Cardinals’ hitters in check, keeping them to five runs over four games, when we faced them most recently in St. Louis, though only won two of those games. With franchise icon Tony La Russa now occupying an “advisory” role with the D-backs, this might make for an interesting match-up.
So, who do you want and/or not want?
Who do you want the D-backs to play in the NL wild-card game?
This poll is closed
St. Louis Cardinals