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Preview #82: 6/29 vs. Giants

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The second-half of the season gets under way!

MLB: Arizona Diamondbacks at Miami Marlins Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Today's Lineups

SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS
Alen Hanson - 2B Jon Jay - RF
Brandon Belt - 1B Nick Ahmed - SS
Andrew McCutchen - RF Paul Goldschmidt - 1B
Buster Posey - C David Peralta - LF
Brandon Crawford - SS Ketel Marte - 2B
Austin Slater - LF Chris Owings - CF
Pablo Sandoval - 3B Jake Lamb - 3B
Austin Jackson - CF Jeff Mathis - C
Andrew Suarez - LHP Patrick Corbin - LHP

It’s always fun to reach the middle point of the season, look at the stats so far, and see what doubling them would mean. Here are a few such numbers, based on the next 81 games gong the same way as the first 81. How plausible do you think these are?

  • Diamondbacks win 94 games. This feels, if anything, a little low. The team’s Pythag is a game above their current record, they’ve only had one month of Robbie Ray and A.J. Pollock, and at some point soon, talent in the bullpen will be more important than depth. At which point, it’s goodbye to Fernando Salas and Rubby De La Rosa, and hello on a full-time basis to Silvino Bracho and Jimmie Sherfy [the latter, in case you missed it, was popped off the roster today, and replaced by Christian Walker, the team returning to a 7-man bullpen, thanks to only needing Zack Greinke and De La Rosa yesterday]
  • Zack Godley gets 18 W’s. Yeah, who had Zack as the team leader in wins at the half-way point? That’s despite him having the highest ERA of any of the six starters with a W to their name, and his FIP is almost identical, suggesting he has not been unlucky there. Greinke is on eight and Patrick Corbin as six: I’m going to stick my neck out and say both of them will (good health willing) overtake Godley by the end of the season.
  • Nick Ahmed (above) hits 20 home-runs. This would be especially impressive, considering he had 20 over the previous four season in his major-league career combined, covering 302 games and over a thousand PA. But he’s definitely changed his approach in the first half - though the weird thing is, his slugging percentage overall has actually dropped fractionally. I’m more inclined to think that we’ll see 30 home-runs from David Peralta this year, another figure well above the player’s personal best.
  • Brad Boxberger saves 38 games. That would be right in the wheelhouse expected for the win total: last year, when the D-backs won 93 times, Fernando Rodney got 39 saves. That version of the team was rather better/luckier in the close games, going 29-23 there: to this point, the 2018 D-backs are 13-12. But I’m fine with that. If we were over-achieving in that area, I’d be concerned about the possibility of second-half regression. As is, the bullpen will have to go some to reproduce the league-best 2.51 ERA, though that only translated to a 14-13 record, considerably worse than the 18-9 and 17-8 of the next two relief corps by ERA, the Brewers and Cubs.

So, which of the above do you think are most/least likely to happen?