I don’t know about you, but I was quite surprised to realize that the Diamondbacks went 5-5 since we last checked in. It doesn’t feel like we had an even record somehow. Probably because those ten games include the Rockies completing a four-game sweep against us. If you have a ten-game spell which includes a five-game losing streak, like Arizona just “enjoyed”, then you’re probably not going to go 5-5. Yet, here the D-backs are, courtesy of a sweep on the road against the woeful Giants, and taking two of three against the Mets. If - and I stress, if - we end up making the playoffs, we may look back on Saturday’s comeback from four down in the bottom of the eighth as a turning point in the campaign.
However, it looks increasingly likely, to the point of near-certainty, that any such postseason spot is going to be through the NL wild-card. The Dodgers picked up another four games on the Diamondbacks, and now sit 11 games ahead of us, with a divisional lead over the Rockies of nine games. That’s bigger than anyone else bar the surprising Twins. The D-backs still rank only sixth in the wild-card race, but they are only 2.5 games behind the first-place Cubs. With more than a hundred games left to play, that’s well within the margin which could be overcome. Though, certainly, we could do with avoiding any more months like May, and getting some love from the one-run gods would be helpful as well.
Looking at the odds for Arizona, there is no consensus as to what the last ten games meant for the team overall, in terms of playoff percentage at least. Two of the five systems think our odds went up; two think our odds went down; and one says they didn’t change at all. What has changed, is where those odds lie, with all bar FiveThirtyEight now giving the team just a fraction of a percent of winning the NL West. The average there dropped to 0.6% from 1.8% ten game ago, so went from slim to extremely slim. On the other hand, the wild-card percentage improved, going up from 19.5% to 21.3%. Here’s the current odds from each of the five systems we have been monitoring:
- Fangraphs: 11.7% (division: 0.2%; wild-card 11.5%)
- Baseball Prospectus: 19.2% (division: 0.6%; wild-card 18.6%)
- FiveThirtyEight: 24% (division 2%; wild-card 22%)
- Numberfire: 21.8% (division: 0.2%; wild-card 21.6%)
- Baseball Reference: 33.1% (division 0.1; wild-card 33.0%)
The average across the board ticked up slightly, from 21.3% to 22.0%. Though the shift from division to wild-card odds likely means an overall decrease in our World Series chances. I got through some odds for the latter from BetOnline.ag this morning, coincidentally, and since the beginning of May, the Diamondbacks have drifted out from 50-1 to 66-1. and from 16-1 to 25-1 to win the division. Given the percentages above (mostly < 1%), the latter seems positively stingy. The Dodgers, meanwhile are 25-1 on. In other words, if you bet $25 on them, you would get back $26. Yeah, not worth the effort there. [If you’re interested, Zack Greinke is 15/2 there for the Cy Young]
Here’s the chart showing how the systems have rated Arizona’s hopes, over our regular check-ins.
It’s going to be a tough stretch until we check in again, with six of the next ten games against teams currently leading their division: at home versus the Dodgers, and on the road in Philadelphia. In between, we have three here against the Blue Jays, and we finish the next ten with a game in Washington. A 5-5 split would be not a bad result, with the team then hoping to take advantage of an easier schedule in the next stretch.