Team Record: 82-75, 2nd in NL West, 2nd in Wild Card standings
The B.L.U.F.: The Diamondbacks are running out of gas while three other teams have found an extra gear down the home stretch.
The September swoon continues. Though, a large part of Arizona’s freefall in the standings has of late, been the result of ridiculously good play by both the Cardinals and the Dodgers. On August 16, the Diamondbacks were 65-59, half a game out of first behind the Dodger. The Diamondbacks went on a poorly timed slide, going 4-9. Then, they more or less righted the ship, despite all the injuries piling up, in addition to having an offense falling to pieces. On the flip side, with five games left in the season, the Dodgers still have a chance to finish the season as a 100-win team. Side-by-side, that’s the Diamondbacks going 17-16 down the stretch while the Dodgers have gone 32-3. Nobody is keeping up with that ridiculous pace - nobody.
As far as the Wild Card goes, it’s another smoking hot team that has chased down and passed the Diamondbacks in the standings. Despite what is happening to the Diamondbacks, this is precisely why I like baseball’s long season. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. Team’s with a bit of extra gas in the tank at the end of the season can make magical things happen. While the Arizona has been only one game above .500 since the middle of August, the Cardinals have gone 27-9.
With five games left in the season, two against San Francisco and three against the Rockies, the Diamondbacks magic number to clinch a playoff berth is four, as a combination of Arizona wins and San Diego losses. Going back to the beginning of August, the Padres have played .660 baseball. They got off to a slow start and quickly found themselves looking up at both Los Angeles and Arizona. However, they finally put it all together in the final third of the season, lead by Fernando Tatis, Jr. and Manny Machado. Their weakness has been their pitching. However, the pitching has been healthy enough to support the third-best offense in baseball. That hot final third of a season has allowed them to close the gap with Arizona, bringing the season down to the final week of play. It has to be somewhat frustrating for the Padres to have had such a terrific final third, only to find themselves falling even further behind the first place Dodgers.
The next update will be in three days, as both the real team and the simulated team have games on Tuesday and Wednesday, before an off-day that sends them both to play against the Rockies. Hang on to your hats, this is shaping up to be one wild finish!