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Preview, #123: 8/17 @ Padres

The D-backs have quietly been among the best in the NL since the All-Star break.

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

Today's Lineups

Jon Jay - LF Jose Pirela - LF
Eduardo Escobar - 3B Wil Myers - 3B
A.J. Pollock - CF Eric Hosmer - 1B
Paul Goldschmidt - 1B Hunter Renfroe - RF
Steven Souza - RF Christian Villanueva - 2B
Nick Ahmed - SS Austin Hedges - C
Ketel Marte - 2B Freddy Galvis - SS
Jeff Mathis - C Manuel Margot - CF
Robbie Ray - LHP Joey Lucchesi - LHP

If it seems a while since the D-backs had a good, long winning streak... That’s because it has. They have not won more than three games in a row for approaching two months, since they swept the Pirates in Pittsburgh from June 21-24. They’ve had a trio of three-game winning streaks since: first, when they swept the Marlins in Miami, later in June; then against the Rockies and at Wrigley Field; and most recently, from July 27-29, the last time we were in San Diego. But conversely, there haven’t been many long losing streaks either. Over the same time, Arizona has had one of four games (including being swept at home by the Giants) and one of three games.

While the D-backs have not gone on the hoped-for run, their overall win percentage in the second half is better than before the break, at .560 vs. .544. It helps no-one in the division and few in the league are better. At 14-11, our post-break record is surpassed in the NL only by the Cardinals (18-10) and Braves (16-10). But it’s really tight: only 212 games separate the 3rd-place D-backs and 12th-place Giants in those standings. However, it’s worth noting that our second-half Pythagorean W-L record, based on runs scored/allowed, is a robust .635, only three points behind the league-leading Cardinals. We’ve outscored opponents by 33; the Rockies, in contrast, have been outscored by 21, despite having the same 14-11 record.

That’s probably the main reason I’m less concerned about the Rockies than the Dodgers in terms of rivalry. If you continue to score fewer runs than your opponents, eventually you will stop winning. The Rockies have already beaten the odds for 120 games, by winning the close games and losing the blowouts (21-12 in one-run games, 10-17 in those with a margin of 5+). While it’s possible to do this for an entire season - see the 2007 Diamondbacks - it’s not easy. Those wins are in the bank, certainly, but the Pythag record is a better predictor of future performance. And there, Colorado are 1012 games back of Arizona, not the 112 games shown in the standings.