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Preview, #48: 5/22 @ Brewers

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Let’s try again, shall we?

Milwaukee Brewers v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

Today's Lineups

ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS MILWAUKEE BREWERS
David Peralta - LF Christian Yelich - LF
Chris Owings - RF Ji-Man Choi - 1B
Jake Lamb - 3B Lorenzo Cain - CF
Paul Goldschmidt - 1B Travis Shaw - 3B
Daniel Descalso - 2B Domingo Santana - RF
Ketel Marte - SS Jonathan Villar - 2B
Alex Avila - C Manny Pina - C
Jarrod Dyson - CF Orlando Arcia - SS
Matt Koch - RHP Jhoulys Chacin - RHP

The Arizona Diamondbacks are no longer leading the National League West, for the first time since Opening Day. The way the team has played this month, I imagine most fans are surprised it took so long, with the team having now lost 11 of their last 12 games. That’s... not good. Indeed, the team hasn’t had such a bad streak in more than a decade. The last such was in mid-June 2006. But in terms of the scope of the defeats, that was much, much, worse. Over the worst 1-11 streak, the D-backs were outscored by 62 runs: an average margin of more than five per game, and that’s including the win.

During the current run, Arizona has been outscored by “only” 27 runs. Seven of the eleven defeats have been by two runs or fewer, and only the pair of losses in Milwaukee didn’t involve a save situation or a walk-off. So that’s cause for hope: it’s not like the team is being relentlessly outclassed on a nightly basis, and they have been in with a chance for the great majority of these games. In five of them, the Diamondbacks actually had the lead at some point, but weren’t able to hold on. Mind you, both this and the closeness of the contests may be contributing to fan frustration. But I still tend to think that the struggles with runners in scoring position will eventually regress.

This team was never really constructed to bludgeon its way to blowout wins. Pitching and defense were always the key, and the inevitable result is a lot of close games. They have played 28 games decided by margins of one or two runs, the most in the National League and their record in these is 14-14. Interestingly, second in the NL are the Brewers, who have played 27 and have gone 18-9. If a team’s record in one-run games is generally considered to be random, I suspect something similar may well hold true for their record in one- and two-run games. In which case, the Brewers and the Rockies (an even more extreme 16-5 in such contests) are perhaps heading for a fall...