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D-backs Preview #66: 6/13 vs. Angels

The Diamondbacks have been the worst team ever in one-run games so far.

Arizona Diamondbacks v Tampa Bay Rays Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

Today's Lineups

Justin Upton - LF Carson Kelly - C
Jared Walsh - 1B Ketel Marte - CF
Max Stassi - C Eduardo Escobar - 2B
Anthony Rendon - 3B Christian Walker - 1B
Jose Iglesias - SS Asdrubal Cabrera - 3B
Taylor Ward - RF Pavin Smith - LF
Juan Lagares - CF Josh Reddick - RF
Patrick Sandoval - LHP Nick Ahmed - SS
David Fletcher - 2B Jon Duplantier - RHP

Baseball, as a game, is affected more by chaos theory than any other. The difference between a grand-slam and a lazy fly-ball is a fraction of a centimeter, on the spot where round bat hits a round ball, thrown with malicious intent at 95 mph. It’s beyond the scope of human ability to affect with certainty, in a single case. This means that the outcome of close contests are often basically random. A ball is fair or foul. A strike is called or not. A funny hop. These can all be crucial determining factors in a one-run game. Generally, how teams perform in these is not seen as indicative of their overall skill, and over time, most sides will tend towards a .500 record in one-run decisions.

Over a season, it’s really difficult to be VERY bad (or good) in them. The boundary is typically about a win percentage of .250. It has been more than 80 years since any team has been below that in one-run games for a full season: the 1937 St. Louis Browns went 10-31, for a W% of .244. The all-time worst came a couple of years before that, when the 1935 Boston Braves were 7-31 (.188). Then there are the 2021 Diamondbacks, who are currently 2-14, a win percentage of just .125. If sustained, it would be far and away the worst record ever. Even just looking at the first 65 games of a season, it’s easily the worst. The next lowest were those 1935 Braves, who went 2-11 at the start of the year, for a .154 W%.

The odds are, things will even out going forward. In the last full season, the median number of one-run games was 44. If the D-backs follow suit, they have 28 to go - a random split of those would be 14 wins and 14 losses. That would give them a 16-28 record. Still not great, yet at .364, well off the worst mark ever. To end at .250, they just need to go 9-19. That said, while there are no guarantees, the odds of them being 5-39 or 6-38 at the end of the year seem very slim. That’s why there is some reason for optimism in terms of the team’s performance there going forward. But much like their injuries, that alone is probably not going to be enough improvement, to get them out of the NL West cellar.

Torey Lovullo notes

  • Josh Rojas is getting a pre planned day off. Despite him hitting two homers yesterday, Torey is sticking to the plan.
  • J.B. Bukauskas has been throwing off flat ground and will throw a bullpen Tuesday
  • Taylor Widener is on a similar trajectory as J.B.B.
  • Madison Bumgarner is out to 75 feet with his throwing program.
  • Tyler Clippard has been throwing from 90 feet. He’s been coming out to the stadium to talk shop with the guys and offering insights and leadership. He’ll throw a flat ground on Tuesday.
  • 22 Teams have reached the 85% Vaccine rate: ”We are still a body or two short....obviously we want to be the 23rd team, but we can’t quite get there”
  • Ketel Marte and the possibility of 3rd base: I made clear I understood Torey has no say in the trade deadline or off season moves and the roster construction, but does he think Ketel Marte have the arm to handle 3rd base? “Of course I do. I think Ketel Marte could play anywhere on the field and excel, he’s that talented a player”
  • Starters vs. Giants:
    Monday: Matt Peacock
    Tuesday: TBA
    Wednesday: Merrill Kelly
    Thursday: TBA

Torey Lovullo audio [or link]