Ninety-two games down, 70 to go.
The Arizona Diamondbacks begin the unofficial second half of their season just three games back of the NL West-leading Giants, legitimately eyeing a playoff spot for the first time in what seems like forever (it’s really only been a few years).
Incidentally enough, the D-backs return to the field to take on one of the two teams they will see quite a bit of in the coming weeks: the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Yes, the D-backs and Dodgers will play 15 more times this season, including a three-game set starting Friday at Chase Field. Joe Saunders, Ian Kennedy and Daniel Hudson will be taking the mound for Arizona, giving the D-backs a good shot at picking up some ground and making a statement that no, they are not going away.
Maybe even more important than just this one series, though, is the fact that the three games against the Dodgers are part of a 10 game home stand that features the Brewers and Rockies too.
From there the D-backs take to the road for nine games – all against fellow NL West teams, all in the state of California – culminating with a three game set in San Francisco.
Somewhere in the middle of that stretch is the July 31 trade deadline, meaning the team that comes back to Phoenix may look a little different than the one that originally left.
There’s a good chance that when the Diamondbacks wake up on the morning of August 4th they’ll have a real better idea of where their chances of winning the division stand.
The good news, in all, is that that of the D-backs’ final 70 games, just 25 are against teams with a record better than .500. Yeah, playing in the NL West has its perks.
The Diamondbacks also have their park, which is another advantage down the stretch.
In all 39 of the team’s final 70 games will be played at Chase Field. The Diamondbacks, while a solid 26-24 on the road, have proven to be better when playing in the Valley of the Sun.
Keeping a true home field advantage could be huge for Arizona, given the fact that their final nine games will be played in the state. The Pirates, Giants and Dodgers all come to town for what could be the most important games the D-backs have hosted since the 2007 season.
Buckle up, it’s going to be one hell of a ride.