|Greg Garcia - SS||Ketel Marte - CF|
|Nick Martini - LF||Josh Rojas - LF|
|Manny Machado - 3B||Eduardo Escobar - 2B|
|Eric Hosmer - 1B||Christian Walker - 1B|
|Hunter Renfroe - RF||Jake Lamb - 3B|
|Ty France - 2B||Adam Jones - RF|
|Manuel Margot - CF||Nick Ahmed - SS|
|Austin Hedges - C||Carson Kelly - C|
|Ronald Bolanos - RHP||Merrill Kelly - RHP|
Previews might be a little terser this week. Ironically, the D-backs are playing the Padres at Chase Field... and we’re in San Diego, visiting the SnakePitette and her husband for a few days. Be nice to get away for a few days, chilling by the seaside. But I’ll be at the mercy of a) the AirBNB wi-fi, and b) a rather smaller keyboard than the ones on which I usually prefer to type. So do not be surprised if the previews for the rest of the week end up shorter, as I get annoyed with my fat fingers and decide it would be much better, just to go for a drink by the ocean instead. :) For now though, I’m still in Phoenix...
Back at the All-Star break, we plotted a path for the Diamondbacks to reach 85 wins. That path had them at slightly below 26-21 in the second half, up to and including yesterday’s blowout win over the Padres. 25.633, to be precise. The team are pretty close to that, having gone 25-22, so victory this evening would more or less get them on track for that. The question is, will 85 wins still be enough for the second wild-card? The problem is that the current occupants, Washington and Chicago have both played better than that in the second half, going 30-17 and 27-20 respectively. As a result, Fangraphs now predicts the second NL wild-card will go to the Cubs at 88 wins.
On that basis, the D-backs need to perform better still. With 24 games left, they would need to go 17-7 to reach 88 wins themselves. That’s not easy: the Diamondbacks haven’t gone better than 16-8 over ANY 24-game period this season, most recently from April 24 through May 10. They did manage it a couple of separate times in 2018, once at the start of the year and again in June, so it is certainly possible. The big positive is the schedule, which sees them with only three of those remaining 24 games against teams better than fourth in their division. But as Lao Tzu said, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” That journey begins tonight.