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Preview #55: 9/22 vs. Rangers

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A key series in Tankapalooza starts tonight

Wendy Yu Free-diving In Palau Photo by VCG

Today's Lineups

RANGERS DIAMONDBACKS
Leody Taveras - CF Daulton Varsho - CF
Nick Solak - DH Ketel Marte - 2B
Isiah Kiner-Falefa - 3B Christian Walker - DH
Joey Gallo - RF Kole Calhoun - RF
Rougned Odor - 2B Eduardo Escobar - 3B
Anderson Tejeda - SS David Peralta - LF
Sam Huff - C Nick Ahmed - SS
Sherten Apostel - 1B Pavin Smith - 1B
Eli White - LF Carson Kelly - C
Jordan Lyles - RHP Taylor Clarke - RHP

In case you missed it in the Snake Bytes comments, signs indicate that 2021 draft order will be based strictly on 2020 record. There had been suggestions it may be a blended record of 2020 and 2019, for example. However, it appears MLB have decided - quite sensibly, I’d say - that if 60 games is enough to determine playoff teams, then it should also be enough to determine draft order. This is hugely beneficial for the D-backs, as their decent 2019 showing would have dropped them significantly in any blended rankings. Instead, presuming this year is indeed all that matters, here are the current standings in Tankapalooza 2020, as we head into the last six games for Arizona.

  • #1. Pirates: 15-39
  • #2. Rangers: 19-35 (-4 back)
  • #3. Red Sox: 20-34 (-5)
  • #4. Diamondbacks: 20-34 (-5)
  • #5: Nationals: 21-32 (-6.5)
  • #6: Royals: 22-32 (-7)

Boston own the tie-breaker over Arizona, having had a worse record in 2019. The Rangers were also worse than the D-backs, so we would lose a tie with them as well. We would have the edge on the Nationals in any such situation, however. It’s perhaps also worth looking at the remaining games for these teams:

  • #1. Pirates: 3 vs. CHC, 3 @ CLE
  • #2. Rangers: 2 @ ARI, 4 @ HOU
  • #3. Red Sox: 3 vs. BAL, 3 @ ATL
  • #4. Diamondbacks: 2 vs. TEX, 4 vs. COL
  • #5: Nationals: 2 vs. PHI, 4 vs. NYM
  • #6: Royals: 2 vs. STL, 4 vs. DET

The D-backs have six games against teams who don’t have much to play for, so will need to up their game if they want to finish in second [it looks like the Pirates have all but locked up the top pick]. We really need to lose both of this two-game series against Texas. A split would keep Arizona one back - but as they own the tie-breaker, it would effectively mean the D-backs need to make up two games, with only four left to play. A double loss would put us one up on the Rangers - and possibly in second, if the Red Sox beat Baltimore today or tomorrow.

Jack’s otherwise engaged, so no pre-game audio today. But if you just skimmed over the line-ups above, you might have missed that Ketel Marte is back off the injured list, and is batting second tonight. To make room, the team put Josh Rojas on the IL, with lower-back inflammation. At this point, of course, it doesn’t matter much, but a good finish to the season by Ketel would be a nice psychological boost, after a rather underwhelming season for him, considering what was expected.