|Daulton Varsho - CF||Joc Pederson - LF|
|Pavin Smith - DH||Thairo Estrada - 2B|
|Jake McCarthy - RF||Wilmer Flores - DH|
|Christian Walker - 1B||Mike Yastrzemski - RF|
|Ketel Marte - 2B||Evan Longoria - 3B|
|Josh Rojas - 3B||Brandon Crawford - SS|
|Corbin Carroll - LF||Austin Slater - CF|
|Carson Kelly - C||Jason Vosler - 1B|
|Geraldo Perdomo - SS||Austin Wynns - C|
|Merrill Kelly - RHP||Alex Cobb - RHP|
It's the final set of the season against the National League West. Once again our division opponents have proven a tough go for the Diamondbacks, with an overall mark of 28-45 coming in to this series. We could end up having a losing record against every other team, though that would require Arizona to be swept by San Francisco, as we are currently 9-7 up with three to play. But the .384 win percentage against the West is much worse than the .530 returned outside the division.
That will all be changing next year, with a more balanced schedule. Instead of 19 games against each of the Padres, Dodgers, etc. there will be only 14, for a total of 56 within the division. We see the NL East and Central 30 times each, and there is more interleague play, with 46 games against the American League. What impact might that have had on Arizona’s record, had it been in place for 2021? We can use the win percentages against the NL divisions as an approximation. That's .384 against the West (28‐45), .500 playing the Central (16‐16, with 3 to play) and .516 versus the East (16‐15).
Using those against the 2022 schedule, we get 21.5 wins from the West, 15.0 from the Central and 15.5 from the East for a total of 52-64 versus the NL. The wild-card is the American League. The D-backs were 12-8 there, a .600 W%. Applied to 46 games and you get 27.6 wins, taking Arizona to a rounded mark of 80-82 based on this year's performance - a likely gain of 4-5 games. However, that may be optimistic. This year, we played the Central, the weakest AL division: they averaged records of 14-18 against both the AL East and West, and have only one team above .500. Next year, we'll face the other two divisions as often.
If we say the Diamondbacks simply went an even .500 over the 46 AL contests, that would be a 23-23 mark, for a final mark of 75-87 using the new schedule. Depending on what happens over the final six games, that's likely to be very close to - probably no more than a game away from - the D-backs' actual record in 2022. The gain of playing the Dodgers and Padres less often, is basically absorbed by facing better quality American League outfits. That said, it's still going to be more pleasant seeing them less often. I think we'd all far rather lose to the Angels instead of the Dodgers...