|Steven Kwan - LF||Geraldo Perdomo - SS|
|Amed Rosario - SS||Ketel Marte - 2B|
|Jose Ramirez - 3B||Corbin Carroll - CF|
|Josh Naylor - 1B||Christian Walker - 1B|
|Josh Bell - DH||Lourdes Gurriel - LF|
|Andres Gimenez - 2B||Pavin Smith - DH|
|Myles Straw - CF||Josh Rojas - 3B|
|Will Brennan - RF||Carson Kelly - C|
|Cam Gallagher - C||Jake McCarthy - RF|
|Shane Bieber - RHP||Tommy Henry - LHP|
We’re at the 70-game mark in the schedule now, and that’s another marker in the march towards the 2023 post-season, with the D-backs sitting at 42-28. At that stage in the schedule last year, nine of the twelve teams who ended up in the playoffs were already occupying post-season spots: the exceptions were the Giants, Red Sox and Twins. None of them even had 40 wins through 70 games: the Red Sox had 39, while the Giants and Twins were at 38-32. Indeed, over the past decade no NL team has missed the playoffs after going 42-28 or better. The last to do so were the 2012 Dodgers, who were 42-28. The last in the American League were the 2021 A’s (43-27) and the 2018 Mariners (45-25).
Even there, the Dodgers would have made it under the current system, as the third and final wild-card. To find a team who started 42-28 or better, but who faded so badly as not to finish in the top six of the National League, you need to go back almost another decade further to... yes, the Dodgers again. In 2003, they reeled of an eight-game winning streak to reach 42-28, and were tied with the Giants in first. But they were only five games above .500 by the time of the All-Star break, and despite Eric Gagne’s Cy Young, ended up 151⁄2 games back of San Francisco at 85-77. That was a year where ten NL clubs ended up above .500, and was good enough only for the seventh-best record.
So, while it’s still possible for the D-backs to melt down in a way which would leave them outside of the playoffs, it would require almost dedicated effort to achieve such as task. 70 games is typically more than enough to determine the “true” quality level of a team, and .600 baseball is pretty good. Even Fangraphs is now coming around, currently giving the D-backs a 70.9% change of playoffs - though the Padres still have a higher % shot of the World Series, LOL. FiveThirtyEight is a little lower, at 61%, but Baseball Prospectus remains unconvinced, at what feels a comically low 40.7% - almost 20% below the Mets, f’heavens sake. But Baseball Reference is near double that, at 81.0%. You pays your money...
One sad transaction note after yesterday’s game. The Guardians designated Touki Toussaint for assignment. Maybe the D-backs should pick him up? [Don’t @ me!] Anyway, will be missing this one, as we’ll instead be watching Extraction 2 on Netflix. The first was one of the best action movies of 2020, so am really looking forward to the sequel. Review to follow in Monday’s Snake Bytes, I think. Hopefully, Tommy Henry and the D-backs can keep the momentum regained from last night’s victory, and pile up another W before the schedule turns nasty.