|Brandon Nimmo - CF||Geraldo Perdomo - 2B|
|Tommy Pham - LF||Evan Longoria - 3B|
|Francisco Lindor - SS||Corbin Carroll - LF|
|Pete Alonso - 1B||Christian Walker - 1B|
|Starling Marte - RF||Lourdes Gurriel - DH|
|Jeff McNeil - 2B||Jake McCarthy - RF|
|Francisco Alvarez - C||Carson Kelly - C|
|Brett Baty - 3B||Nick Ahmed - SS|
|Mark Canha - DH||Alek Thomas - CF|
|Kodai Senga - RHP||Tommy Henry - LHP|
There’s a definite split opening up in the National League between the top and bottom halves. Going into play today, just one and a half games separates the five teams who are currently fighting for the second and third wild-card spots, plus the NL Central. Effectively, they’re the teams fourth through eighth in the overall standings. After them though, you have a five and a half game gap before anybody else shows up - the Pirates, currently well below .500 with a record of 40-45. The reality is that no team in the wild-card era has made the post-season after 45+ losses in their opening 85 games. Even the 2019 Nationals, the poster-child for bad starts, had recovered to be 44-41 by that point.
Therefore, it seems increasingly likely that the NL post-season field is going to be made up from six of these teams, listed in descending order of wins: Braves, D-backs, Marlins, Dodgers, Reds, Phillies, Brewers and Giants. I’m sure the Padres and Mets will not be happy with that assessment, but that’s the reality of things: they would need to do something not achieved in 27 attempts (we will continue to ignore the fake 2020 season). Even Fangraphs, which project both to be considerably better going forward, has them finishing the season off at 83 and 81 wins respectively. That’s not going to be enough for a playoff spot: Fangraphs currently pegs the third wild-card place at 86.4 wins.
Interesting note over at Baseball Reference, where their playoff odds now make the D-backs favorite for the NL West, at 41.6% to 38.1% for the Dodgers. They currently see the most likely post-season scenario as Arizona joining Atlanta in a first-round bye, and awaiting the winner of the Brewers-Giants series - basically, the NL Central vs. top wild-card set. I would not mind that, as we won the season series against the Brewers 4-2, and also currently have a winning record versus the Giants (4-3, with four to play in San Francisco, beginning tat the end of this month). The idea of an NLCS rematch against the Brewers appeals particularly, giving us a chance to take long-delayed revenge for their “stolen series” of 2011.
And, dammit, I completely forgot again about the weekly Power Rankings round-up, what with the off-day on Monday, then July 4th and everything. I’ll get that knocked out for tomorrow’s Gameday Thread. Someone remind me. :)