There’s no denying it: the last ten games, if not fatal to the Diamondbacks’ post-season hopes, were seriously problematic. They went 4-6 overall, which would have been bad enough in general. Making things worse was that seven of those ten games were against the Orioles and Marlins, two of the worst teams in the majors this year. They are exactly the sort of opponents against whom any self-respecting team should be looking to pick up ground. Arizona did manage to edge Baltimore, taking two of three, albeit only outscoring them narrowly (13-12). But they then went to Miami, and dropped three of four, conceding three more runs than they scored (18-21).
A split in New York was somewhat credible, but in the first game started after the trade deadline, the season-long offensive slump continued. They managed only an infield hit... by the pitcher... as they were blanked by the wild-card rival Nationals. [If you’re keeping score, the D-backs have now hit 80 OPS points worse at home than on the road, compared to an NL average 30 points better] You don’t have to be a weatherman to see which way the post-season odds will be blowin’ after results like that. Here are the current numbers from the five systems we have been monitoring.
- Fangraphs: 6.0% (division: 0.0%; wild-card 6.0%)
- Baseball Prospectus: 12.4% (division: 0.0%; wild-card 12.5%)
- FiveThirtyEight: 11% (division 0%; wild-card 11%)
- Numberfire: 13.8% (division: 0.0%; wild-card 13.8%)
- Baseball Reference: 24.3% (division < 0.1%; wild-card 24.3%)
Ouch. More or less, that is them cut by more than half over the space of ten games, virtually across the board. B-R.com was the only one to avoid that, dropping by “only” 47%, but in absolute terms was by far the largest, losing 21.5%. On the other extreme, the always pessimistic Fangraphs sliced Arizona’s odds - already the slimmest projection by any of the systems - by a further sixty percent, now giving us only six chances in a hundred. Way to confirm the decision to sell at the deadline was a wise one, D-backs! In contrast, the Cards went 7-3 to lead our rivals, while the Phillies and Nationals also had winning records. [Though the Giants only went 5-5. Hanging onto Bumgarner will be a mistake, I predict]
Here’s the chart:
That’s pretty much a season-low across the board for every system, and the combined average is now 13.5%. With games against Stephen Strasburg and Patrick Corbin to come over the next couple of days, followed by series against the Phillies, then in Los Angeles versus the Dodgers, then two in Coors Field to finish off, the next ten has the potential to be completely savage. A lot will depend on how new arrivals Mike Leake and Zac Gallen perform for the team, both of them making their debuts for Arizona during the series against Philadelphia. On its own, going 5-5 over these games would not be a bad result. However, all that’ll do, is cross 10 off the schedule, and not gain any ground.
The fat lady may not yet be singing, but she’s certainly gargling with lemon juice. It’s quite conceivable that the next update could well be more of an “in memoriam” to the D-backs’ playoff chances, and be the final one in this series.