And it had been going so well, too. While ground had been lost after the break in St. Louis, a pair of thumping victories in Texas were followed by a split of the first two back at Chase against the Brewers, With Zack Greinke on the mound, a win would make Arizona climb above Milwaukee, and after seven innings, the D-backs were on course to do just that. Then Andrew Chafin happened. Then Alex Young popped. And Yoan Lopez did what Yoan Lopez had already done on Thursday night. Hello, darkness, my old friend. But let’s see what this has done in numerical terms to the Diamondbacks’ chances of making the post-season this year, Here are the five systems:
That’s actually little movement in most cases: surprisingly little, it might feel, but this season has been the veritable roller-coaster of emotions. One series, this team will look almost invincible e.g. in Texas. The next, the flaws which seem doomed to sink them will be horribly apparent – hello, the bullpen against the Brewers. The stats care not one whit for such thing. And Baseball Reference are the only ones to have shifted by more than a couple of points. Fangraphs and NumberFire actually INCREASED Arizona’s odds, though the 10 games in question date back to before the break, and include a win against the Rockies.
Stop me if you’ve also heard this before, but most of the other teams haven’t exactly set the world on fire. The Giants have gone 10-2, to push their way back into contention, and the Cardinals went 7-4. Otherwise, there wasn’t much change in the standings for the second wild-card, and the D-backs had a tougher schedule, with all 10 of Arizona’s games being against teams who were at or above .500 (at the point we played them – hello, Colorado). I think we’d probably have been happy to settle for going 5-5 in those games looking forward, even if it seems a bit disappointing when we look back, with a number of missed opportunities. But let’s add the latest numbers to the graph.
The B-R figure drops by 5.6%, and that was the only change by more than 11⁄2%, the other four categories remaining more or less steady. This perhaps makes sense, since it was always more of an outlier. As the number of games on the schedule dwindles – by next time, we’ll be into the final third of the schedule, I would expect this to continue, and all the systems will likely continue to converge in their opinions. Overall, that B-R.com drove an overall drop, but it was only 1.2%, with the playoff odds now sitting at 29.3%, compared to a figure after 90 games of 30.5%.
It will be very interesting to see what happens after the next 10 games, which are perhaps the easiest on the team’s schedule. They have seven games against the Marlins and Orioles, who are the two worst teams in their respective leagues. The D-backs should be looking to go at least 5-2 there, before things get tougher again, with two games in New York against the Yankees, and then come home to face the Nationals.