ESPN: Arizona Diamondbacks face tough test the rest of the season
With roughly 30 games remaining for the Arizona Diamondbacks and the rest of the MLB clubs in the 2018 regular season, every game can mean making, or missing, the postseason.
Prior to Wednesday’s action, ESPN took a look at the top 14 teams who are most likely contenders when the postseason rolls around.
Using a number of variables, such as remaining home and away games, remaining opponents’ records, opponents’ expected performance and opponents’ strength based on projected performance, each team was ranked accordingly. They also were given a projected final wins total.
In terms of the D-backs, the road ahead is going to be a rough one.
Luckily, the team has an even 15-15 split between the remaining 30 home and away games. Looking at the other NL-West teams, the Colorado Rockies have a favorable 17-13 split, while the Los Angeles Dodgers have the worst of the 14 teams at 13-17.
Here’s where it gets dicey for Arizona.
The remaining opponents on the docket for the D-backs hold a combined win percentage of .526, only better than the Braves’ .534. The Dodgers’ and Rockies’ opponents have percentages of .500 and .506, respectively, while the Cleveland Indians hold the best percentage with .444.
ESPN went a step further, however, and added in the opponents’ expected and projected performance. The D-backs flip-flopped with the Braves, holding a .534 percentage, the worst among the 14 teams in the expected category, while they also found themselves at the bottom of the projected category at .533. The Rockies aren’t far behind with a .519 percentage.
In their remaining 11 series, the D-backs will have seven series against NL West foes. All but the San Diego Padres are still within striking distance of the D-backs’ in the NL West.
After one hurdle will be yet another.
In their final three series, Arizona takes on the Braves, Chicago Cubs and Houston Astros, each of whom are leaders in their respective divisions.
Their only day of rest over that time span will be Sept. 20.
Lastly, ESPN put together all 14 teams projected win totals.
The D-backs have a raw win total of 88.3 and an adjusted total of 87.3. If these numbers hold true, Arizona would seemingly take the NL West over the Rockies (86.8, 86.3) and would be in a tight race with the Dodgers (88.8, 88.9) at season’s end. For the Wild Card race, the Philadelphia Phillies hold a one-win advantage over Colorado.
The Indians have the easiest road to the postseason, according to the numbers, as they rank first in every category except their home and away games (17-14).