The D-Backs are probably going to make the playoffs thanks primarily to 2 players

The dog days of August are over.

We're now less than a month away from the end of the impossibly long 162-game MLB season, and the Diamondbacks have used the first five months of the year to make September as simple as possible.

While Arizona is 13.5 games back of the near-historic Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League West, they're also 7.5 games clear of the Milwaukee Brewers, the first team outside the NL wild card picture. The Colorado Rockies hold the second wild card spot, 6 games back of Arizona and 1.5 games ahead of Milwaukee.

In order to miss the playoffs, Arizona would need both Colorado and Milwaukee (or two other teams in the wild card hunt) to leapfrog them.

And if their 10-game winning streak is any indication, it doesn't appear they'll be giving trailing teams much of a chance to catch up in the season's remaining 25 games.

If there are any baseball purists still upset about the 1994 advent of the wild card, the 2017 Diamondbacks could be an outlet for that frustration. As of Monday afternoon, FiveThirtyEight.com's MLB prediction model says Arizona's chances of making the playoffs are greater than 99 percent, but its odds of winning the division are less than 1 percent.

That FiveThirtyEight model gives the D-Backs a 3 percent chance of winning the World Series, which may not seem like much, but they're one of only eight teams with championship odds at or above 1 percent.

So how have the Diamondbacks gotten to this point? Two words: Goldy and Greinke.

According to FanGraphs, they're the only two Diamondbacks with more than three wins above a replacement-level player. Zack Greinke's 4.7 wins above replacement place him sixth among all pitchers in the majors, and 21st overall, while Paul Goldschmidt, at 5.3 WAR, is the ninth-best player overall in MLB and the seventh-best positional player.

One of the reasons the D-Backs didn't take off last year, despite having a similar roster, is that Greinke only put together a 2.2 WAR season, and other Diamondbacks pitchers did not pick up the slack in his first year in the desert.

This season, though, all five of Arizona's primary starting pitchers have at least 120 innings pitched and earned-run averages below 4.

The offense doesn't need to be exceptional outside of Goldschmidt if starting pitchers are routinely getting through six innings and the bullpen is reliable.

That rotation and Goldschmidt's stellar, steady bat have put Arizona in a good spot heading into the season's stretch run.

If you want to register for D-Backs postseason tickets (they're going to make it, guys), you can do so on the team's website.

© 2017 KPNX-TV


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