The State of the State – Arizona – May 2023

May 24, 2023

The State of the State

A look at what’s happening on the Arizona sports scene: The Dodgers are keeping a close eye on the Diamondbacks

Betting against the Dodgers when it comes to winning the NL West is a dicey proposition. After all, it’s been the Dodgers who have won an incredible nine of the division’s last 10 titles. Nine!

Death, taxes, and the Dodgers winning the NL West – that’s about how it feels, especially for baseball fans in San Francisco, San Diego, Arizona and Colorado. To say that the West goes through Chavez Ravine is an understatement.

In fact, the only two teams that have won the division since 2010 are the Dodgers and Giants. And this year, it doesn’t look like San Francisco has the horses to climb atop the division (they’re already flirting with being more than seven back of the lead).

So, like clockwork, and with the Dodgers sitting on top of the NL West standings per usual, predicting that any other team will emerge as the champ feels irresponsible.

Don’t tell that to the Arizona Diamondbacks, though. The D-Backs are still looking up in the standings, but not all that far.  Actually, at various times this season, Arizona has held the division lead – several times they’ve been up as much as two full games. While the D-Backs slipped a bit in early May, they’ve inched their way toward the Dodgers once again.

It’s a long way to September, but there are fundamental reasons to believe the Diamondbacks can actually challenge for the division. The pitching this season has been good enough to avoid skids, and typically speaking the Diamondbacks defense doesn’t give up that many runs, ranking in the top-10 MLB defenses for runs allowed. Where they’ve really been good, however, is at the plate. Arizona has hovered around the top-5 in terms of runs scored, and they’re doing so by hitting plenty of doubles and triples, ranking among the top three teams in the majors in both categories.

Make no mistake: The Dodgers rate similarly in just about every key category – better in some and just below in others. It’s not as if L.A. has slipped, more like Arizona has just performed well this season. And don’t forget, the Dodgers win the NL West every… doggone… year.

But with the Diamondbacks nipping at their heels, is the Dodgers division price tag of  -550 even worth the trouble?.

Why then, are the Diamondbacks sitting at +1000?

That’s incredible value for a team that’s not far off the division lead and has held it at various times this season.

Seems like as good a time as any to take a flier on the Diamondbacks to win the NL West. Sometime, someone other than the Dodgers will win it.

* Odds subject to change