By Allyus Fritz
The NL West is one of two divisions in baseball where each team still has a shot of winning the title. After an amazing start, the Colorado Rockies have slowed down thanks to the loss of Troy Tulowitzki. Now the Diamondbacks have taken command, but no one knows for how long.
With the NL Central performing as well as it is it seems unlikely that the NL West will produce more than one playoff team. These five teams will have to fight for the division crown because there truly won’t be an award for second place.
Here’s the NL West breakdown.
1. Arizona Diamondbacks (42-40)
Paul Goldschmidt is having an all-star caliber season, leading the Diamondbacks with a .303 avg., 20 HR’s and 69 RBI’s. Hell, he’s even got the team lead in stolen bases with 8 (must not be a lot of speed on the D’backs). Arizona has the talent to win the west. The only thing standing between them and a division title is health. Trevor Cahill and Brandon McCarthy are on the DL, but more young pitching continues to come up from AAA to take up spots. Arizona’s youth must continue to perform if they are going to hang on to their division lead.
2. Colorado Rockies (41-42) 1.5 GB
Michael Cuddyer and Carlos Gonzalez are both playing excellent baseball in Troy Tulowitzki’s absence. Starting pitching has become a major issue. How long can the Rockies stay in contention with only three reliable starters? Roy Oswalt is definitely not the answer. Colorado’s upcoming series against Los Angeles will tell us whether or not it can stay in the hunt.
3. San Diego Padres (40-43) 2.5 GB
With only a few exceptions, San Diego seems to be just a bunch of no-namers playing over their heads. Jason Marquis has a surprising nine wins, however he’s the only Padres pitcher pulling his weight. San Diego is a year or two away from truly reloading with their farm system. Look for this team to fade, and fade quickly.
4. San Francisco Giants (39-43) 3 GB
The World Series Champions are in a bit of a pickle. Starting pitching hasn’t been a problem for the Giants this century, yet this season it has finally began to plague them. Matt Cain, Tim Lincecum, and Barry Zito are all underperforming. With the exception of Buster Posey, Hunter Pence, and Marco Scutaro, no one is hitting. The Giants need better performances all around if they expect to make it back to the postseason.
5. Los Angeles Dodgers (38-43) 3.5 GB
Winners of 8 of 10, the Dodgers have finally awoken. Sparked by Yasiel Puig, the Dodgers have fought off their early struggles and are threatening to pass up their divisional opponents. If Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier start producing like they’re capable of doing, this team indisputably becomes the most dangerous team in the west.
When Carl Crawford comes back from the DL there will be a logjam in the outfield. Could the Dodgers front office move Andre Ethier to try and pick up pitching or a new second baseman (Chase Utley)? We’ll see.
See you in the AL West.
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