NL West Report: Home of MLB's best pitching

Pitching wins championships.

At least that's what they say.  If that's the case, pitching wins games too.  It should be no surprise then that the rise of the NL Worst to the NL Best has centered around strong pitching.  We'll just take a simple look at Wins Over Replacement, taking a look at the top 8 in MLB.  Choosing the top 8 is partially a novelty for the number of playoff teams and partially a good cleavage point for the argument.

Here's the deal:  The NL West has 4 of the top 5 pitching staffs in the National League in WAR, as well as 4 of the top 8 in MLB. 

Team Pitching WAR
Red Sox 19.6
Rockies 19.0
Braves 18.6
White Sox 18.6
Giants 18.2
Blue Jays 15.8
Diamondbacks 14.9
Dodgers 14.7

Of the other five divisions, the NL Central has zero, the NL East has one, the AL West has zero, the AL Central has one and the AL East has two.  Only Arizona and Toronto are out of contention for the playoffs.

 

NL West Report

Arizona (55-70, 4th, W1, 19 GB)

Last Week1-6.  0-1 @ Braves.  0-3 @ Phillies.  1-2 @ Astros.  Yesterday's win in Houston broke a season-long 7 game losing streak.

Pace:  71-91.

Divisional Change: Lost 3.0 games.

This Week:  3 game road series @ Giants, 3 game home series vs. Astros.

News:  The biggest question this offseason for Arizona will be whether Brandon Webb's extension will be picked up.  Via Steve Gilbert's twitter, Josh Byrnes says:

"If [his recovery is] close, he'll probably get the benefit of the doubt."

Other than Arizona's season-long losing streak, the storyline of the week was whether Jerry Dipoto would be fleeced from their front office to be the Nationals' new GM.  Yahoo! Sports and CBSSports.com both reported that DiPoto got the job, but their reports proved premature.  Washington turned down the opportunity to hand over their front office reins to the former Rockies closer, instead naming interim GM Mike Rizzo the full-time general manager.

P Jon Garland cleared waivers.  He's not a good value, but he might be the most effective starting pitcher available through waiver trade.

Jon Garland

#52 / Pitcher / Arizona Diamondbacks

6-6

210

R

R

Sep 27, 1979

W-L ERA WHIP K BB
2009 - Jon Garland 7-11 4.48 1.46 78 51

Jon Heyman at SI.com wrote that Doug Davis remains in Arizona because Milwaukee offered nothing more than salary relief after claiming him on waivers.

Transactions: RHP Daniel Cabrera assigned to AAA Reno.  Called up 1B Brandon Allen from AAA.  Allen was the prospect Arizona received in the trade for Tony Pena.  Optioned 1B Josh Whitesell to AAA.

Injuries: Conor Jackson saw a disease specialist  Aug 19.  He might miss the rest of the season.  Justin Upton will start a rehab stint in Single-A tonight in an attempt to return in a couple weeks.

Arizona Diamondbacks Injuries

Probable

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Stephen Drew other-excused 08/24/2009

15-Day

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Eric Byrnes hand 06/26/2009
Scott Schoeneweis other-excused 08/10/2009
Justin Upton oblique 08/06/2009

60 Day DL / Out for the season

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Conor Jackson pneumonia 05/12/2009
Brandon Webb shoulder 04/07/2009

News on the other three divisional teams after the jump.

Los Angeles (74-51, 1st, L1)

Last Week: 4-3. 1-2 vs Cardinals. 3-1 vs Cubs.

Pace: 96-66.

Divisional Change: Lost 1.5 game lead to COL.

This Week: 3 game road series @ Rockies, 3 game road series @ Reds

News: As we all know by know, the slim division margin doesn't faze LA.  If the Rockies can manage a sweep in the series, they will be tied in the loss column with the Dodgers.  Losing a series to Colorado at Dodger Stadium would make it impossible for Los Angeles to maintain their confident mantra.

Also, as we all know, Joe Torre finally got that starting pitcher addition.  The Dodgers signed Vicente Padilla, who will start Thursday against the Rockies.  True Blue LA reaction. 

Vicente Padilla

#0 / Pitcher / Los Angeles Dodgers

6-2

220

R

R

Sep 27, 1977

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2009 - Vicente Padilla 8-6 18 18 0 0 0 0 108.0 120 61 59 12 42 59 4.92 1.50

CBSSports' Scott Miller notes that Padilla is a "proven starter but also a combustible clubhouse presence."

Drew Silva at MLBTradeRumors poses the question: "What is the future for Orlando Hudson?"  One place he suggests is Washington, where there has been a revolving door of second sackers all season.  True Blue LA weighs in again.

In another TJ Simers piece for the LA Times, apparently Manny Ramirez shouted in the clubhouse "Hey, I'm going to be here next year!"  Ramirez has struggled notably since he returned from his suspension.

Eric Stephen's Week in Review (True Blue LA)

Transactions: Placed Hiroki Kuroda on 15-day DL on Aug 19 retroactive to Aug 16.  Called up Vicente Padilla Saturday.  Recalled IF Tony Abreu.

Injuries: Jamey Loney is day-to-day with the flu, but may be available to start the series against the Rox tomorrow.  Hiroki Kuroda threw 60 pitches from 60 feet with no issues Aug 20 in an attempt to come back in early September from that concussion.

Los Angeles Dodgers Injuries

Questionable

Player Injury Type Injury Date
James Loney flu 08/24/2009

15-Day

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Will Ohman shoulder 05/28/2009
Jason Schmidt shoulder 08/06/2009
Hiroki Kuroda concussion 08/16/2009

60 Day DL / Out for the season

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Doug Mientkiewicz shoulder 04/17/2009
Xavier Paul ankle 05/21/2009
Eric Milton lower-back 06/28/2009

Star-divide

San Diego (52-74, 5th, L2, 22.5 GB)

Last Week: 2-4.  2-1 vs Cubs, 1-3 vs Cardinals.  That's a perfect inversion of how LA fared against the two NL Central foes.

Pace: 67-95.

Divisonal change:  Lost 1.0 game.

This Week: 3 game road series @ Braves, 3 game road series @ Marlins.  It's time to be a fan of the Padres.

News:  San Diego extended David Eckstein through 2010 with a $1million deal.

Backup catcher Henry Blanco wants to return also.  

San Diego is certainly showing earmarks of a rebuilding team.  Instead of taking the originally reported PTBNL for Chad Gaudin, the Padres took $100k.  They also traded AAA reliever Scott Patterson to Oakland for cash.  What to do with the cash?   Apparently, the Padres have invested $10million in amateur talent this season.

Rebuilding teams also build through the Rule 5 Draft.  RJ Anderson at FanGraphs highlights the Padres Rule 5 Success, notably former Rockie farmhand Everth Cabrera.

Everth Cabrera

#1 / Short Stop / San Diego Padres

5-9

170

B

R

Nov 17, 1986

G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB K SB CS AVG OBP SLG
2009 - Everth Cabrera 67 232 37 63 12 7 2 23 29 51 18 3 .272 .360 .409

Jayson Stark notes that Adrian Gonzalez and Heath Bell were withdrawn off waivers after several teams tried to claim them.

Top pick Donavan Tate made a very good impression when visited PetCo Park.

San Diego honored long-time announcer Ted Leitner.

Transactions:  None.

Injuries: P Sean Gallagher threw a bullpen session Thursday and could return in early September.  Kyle Blanks injured his heel Saturday and is day-to-day.  Chris Young underwent successful surgery last Monday, and Edgar Gonzalez had a couple of hits in a Class A rehab start Saturday.  He is attempting to return from the concussion Jason Hammel gave him.

San Diego Padres Injuries

Questionable

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Kyle Blanks heel 08/24/2009

15-Day

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Brian Giles knee 06/19/2009
Edgar Gonzalez concussion 07/19/2009

60 Day DL / Out for the season

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Mark Worrell elbow 03/27/2009
Cha Seung Baek forearm 03/30/2009
Shawn Hill elbow 04/26/2009
Chris Young shoulder 06/15/2009
Cliff Floyd shoulder 06/18/2009

Star-divide

San Francisco (67-57, 3rd, L2, 6.5 GB)

Last Week: 4-3.  1-0 @ Mets.  2-1 @ Reds. 1-2 @ Rockies.

Pace:  88-74.

Divisional Change:  No change in NL West.  Lost 1.5 games in Wild Card for the second straight week.

This Week: Final game of a four game set @ Rockies.  3 game home series vs Diamondbacks.  3 game home series vs. Rockies.

News:  The Giants signed 1st-rounder Zach Wheeler for $3.3 Million last Monday

Bengie Molina wants to return to the Giants with a 2-year deal.  This is in spite of him threatening to be one of the worst cleanup hitters in the last half century with prized prospect Buster Posey ripping up AAA.

Buster Posey 554811m_medium

#28 / Catcher / San Francisco Giants

6-2

195

R

R

Mar 27, 1987

***AAA Stats** AVG OBP SLG
2009 - Buster Posey .294 .373 .500

Despite having a very successful season since being promoted to AAA, Posey won't be called up this season.  He will instead be a possibility for next year's Opening Day roster.  Molina believes there is enough room for them both on the MLB roster next year if he can be retained to mentor Posey.

Tom Verducci goes into Tim Lincecum's potentially unprecedented contract. 

The Giants claimed Gary Shieffield off waivers, but the Mets pulled him back.

Transactions:  None.

Injuries:  Freddy Sanchez is still listed as day-yo-day after missing six straight starts. 

San Francisco Giants Injuries

Doubtful

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Freddy Sanchez shoulder 08/24/2009

15-Day

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Rich Aurilia ankle 08/12/2009
Andres Torres hamstring 07/31/2009

60 Day DL / Out for the season

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Randy Johnson trapezius 07/06/2009
Noah Lowry ribs 03/27/2009
Kelvin Pichardo shoulder 06/28/2009
Henry Sosa shoulder 08/05/2009
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