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Diamondbacks Game Preview #123: 8/24 @ Royals

Can the D-backs get to 72 wins?

Arizona Diamondbacks v San Francisco Giants Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Today's Lineups

Josh Rojas - 2B MJ Melendez - C
Emmanuel Rivera - 3B Bobby Witt - 3B
Ketel Marte - DH Salvador Perez - DH
Christian Walker - 1B Michael Massey - 2B
Daulton Varsho - RF Michael Taylor - CF
Jake McCarthy - LF Kyle Isbel - LF
Carson Kelly - C Hunter Dozier - 1B
Alek Thomas - CF Nicky Lopez - SS
Sergio Alcantara - SS Drew Waters - RF
Zac Gallen - RHP Brady Singer - RHP

The D-backs come into the finale of this quick, two-game series in Kansas City, with a record of 56-66. A target of 72 wins would be an improvement of 20 wins on the fiasco which was the 2021 season, and I suspect might be enough to save Torey Lovullo’s skin. Getting there would mean going 16-24 over the remaining forty games. How likely is that? On a basic win percentage level, it seems likely: their pace to this point would give them 74.3 wins. Their Pythagorean record, based on runs scored and allowed is even better: it currently sits two games better, at 58-64, which would project forward to a final win tally of 77 wins. That’d be 25 games better: hard to argue with that improvement.

However, there are two factors which suggest those predictions are optimistic, both based on the remaining schedule. Firstly, is the previously mentioned road-heavy nature of the remaining forty games. Only 17 are at home, with 23 away from Chase, where the D-backs have played significantly worse. If we use those win percentage splits (.500 at home, .414 away), the expectation drops a little, to 74 wins. But the big factor is how many of the remaining games are against good opponents. A staggering 90% of the remaining schedule is against teams currently at or above .500. The only “losing” games at time of writing are: today against the Royals and three in Coors Field.

That may change. The Giants (six games) are exactly at .500, so they could switch into the losers’ bucket. But the D-backs have 10 games against the Dodgers and Astros, the teams with the best records in their respective leagues. If we go with the current 36/4 split, and use the team’s W% against winning/losing teams (.364 and .625 respectively), that would be only 15.6 more wins for the D-backs, leaving the team just short of the target on 71.6 wins. If the Giants drop, making it a 30/10 split, it projects to 17.2 more wins, 73.2 wins in total. Put another way, Torey’s position may come down to how his team plays against the Giants. They’re 8-5 so far, which may augur well for his ongoing employment!