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Diamondbacks Game Preview #90: 7/15 @ Padres

Of all the first halves the D-backs have ever had, this has certainly been... one of them.

San Francisco Giants v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

Today's Lineups

DIAMONDBACKS PADRES
Josh Rojas - 3B Jurickson Profar - LF
Alek Thomas - CF Jake Cronenworth - 2B
Ketel Marte - DH Manny Machado - 3B
Christian Walker - 1B Luke Voit - DH
David Peralta - LF Ha-Seong Kim - SS
Daulton Varsho - RF Eric Hosmer - 1B
Carson Kelly - C Austin Nola - C
Sergio Alcantara - 2B Nomar Mazara - RF
Geraldo Perdomo - SS Esteury Ruiz - CF
M. Bumgarner - LHP Yu Darvish - RHP

The D-backs come into the final series of the first half, already guaranteed to win at least 13 games more than they did in 2021, plus whatever victories they can snag in San Diego. At the break last year, Arizona were a feeble 26-66, with a win percentage of just .283. That was 58 points below any other season in franchise history. It’s all the more remarkable, considering the team were above .500 for the first month of the season, going 14-12 in April. Yes: the 2021 Diamondbacks then went 12-54 from the start of May through the All-Star break. Just one of the worst streaks in baseball history: no biggie. [But despite this historic level of suck, I’m not “passionate” enough, according to some...]

On that basis, the improvement of 165 points in win percentage is good. Arizona are the only team in the National League +100 or better, compared to the first half of last season, with the Braves next best, at +99. But there’s an obvious caveat: it’s a lot easier to improve from historic futility. In particular, it’s worth comparing Arizona against Baltimore, the team with whom we ended up tied for the worst record in 2021. They’re the team in the American League who have shown the biggest improvement, and it’s to an even greater degree the D-backs, with a 191 point increase compared to the first half last season. As ish95 noted this morning, they’ve won 10 in a row. When was the last time Arizona did that?

That’s a semi-rhetorical question. The answer is August 24 through September 6 of 2017, when the D-backs won a franchise record 13 in a row. The only other 10+ game winning streak they’ve ever had was in June of 2003, when they reached 12. Their longest winning streak of the last five seasons is a mere six games, in August 2020. Put another way, from the start of the 2018 season through today, there have been 98 winning streaks of seven games or longer in the majors: none of them belong to Arizona. But in terms of impressive improvement this year, that prize has to go to the Yankees. They are currently 180 points better... and that’s after already being above .500 at the break in 2021 (.517 > .697).