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Diamondbacks, Marlins regress after making playoffs in 2023

Christian Walker Arizona Diamondbacks Christian Walker - The Canadian Press

The Arizona Diamondbacks and Miami Marlins were baseball's big overachievers in 2023.

That hasn't carried over to this season so far.

The Diamondbacks and Marlins both made the postseason last year despite negative run differentials — Arizona's was minus-15, and Miami's was a whopping minus-57. The Diamondbacks not only reached the playoffs but went all the way to the World Series, but right now Arizona is languishing under .500 and Miami has the worst record in baseball at 11-31.

This type of regression was not a foregone conclusion. In fact, teams that make the playoffs with a negative run differential don't have that bad a track record the following year. Aside from last year's Diamondbacks and Marlins, nine other teams have made the postseason with a negative run differential. Four of them did it in shortened seasons, either 2020 or 1981. Here are the other five:

— The 1984 Royals won the AL West with an 84-78 record despite being outscored by 13 runs. They improved to 91-71 the following year and won the World Series.

— The 1987 Twins won the AL West with an 85-77 record despite being outscored by 20. They won the World Series that year, and in 1988 they actually improved to 91-71 but finished a distant second in the division to Oakland.

— The 1997 Giants won the NL West with a 90-72 record despite being outscored by nine. The following year they won 89 games but lost a one-game playoff with the Chicago Cubs for the wild card.

— The 2005 Padres won the NL West with an 82-80 record despite being outscored by 42. The next season they improved to 88-74 and won the division again.

— The 2007 Diamondbacks won the NL West with a 90-72 record despite being outscored by 20. They declined to 82-80 the following season and missed the playoffs.

Miami's fate was likely sealed this year by injuries to the starting rotation — Sandy Alcantara and Eury Pérez are out for the season. The team drew protesters outside the ballpark after trading two-time batting champion Luis Arraez.

Arizona, on the other hand, had a busy offseason in an effort to upgrade its pennant-winning roster. The Diamondbacks added Jordan Montgomery, Eduardo Rodriguez, Joc Pederson and Randal Grichuk. They traded for Eugenio Suárez.

Rodriguez hasn't pitched yet because of shoulder problems. Montgomery has a 4.70 ERA through four starts. And Corbin Carroll, fifth in last year's National League MVP vote, is batting .201.

The Diamondbacks actually have a positive run differential this season (plus-17) but their 19-22 record has them closer to last place in their division than first.


The 1997 Giants and 2007 Diamondbacks are two of the four teams to win 90 games with a negative run differential. Who are the other two? (They did not make the postseason)


Atlanta's Max Fried threw seven no-hit innings in a 4-1 victory over the New York Mets on Saturday. The Braves came within one out of pitching a combined no-hitter. Fried got off to a rough start this season, but his last four starts have included a three-hit shutout against Miami, six no-hit innings against Seattle, and the hitless outing against the Mets.


The Milwaukee Brewers were two runs behind Kansas City in the top of the ninth Tuesday night, with two outs and nobody on. Their win probability was 1.1% according to Baseball Savant. William Contreras doubled, Gary Sánchez walked, and then Willy Adames hit a three-run homer to put Milwaukee ahead. The Brewers held on to win 6-5.


The 1984 Mets and 2021 Mariners each won exactly 90 games as well despite being outscored for the season.