NL West Report: Rockies Rising High Above the West

NL West Standings

W L PCT GB STRK
Colorado 10 2 .833 0 Won 6
San Francisco 6 6 .500 4 Won 2
Los Angeles 6 7 .461 4.5 Lost 3
Arizona 5 6 .454 4.5 Lost 1
San Diego 5 7 .416 5 Lost 1

(updated 4.14.2011 at 11:27 PM MDT)

It sure is beautiful, isn't it? I mean, the Rockies are in first place, but they aren't just in first place. They lead by FOUR games while the remaining four NL West teams are stuck within a game of each other down there at the bottom. And yes, I know. The season is two weeks old. We are not even one-tenth of the way through the season, so there is no reason to celebrate. Divisionleads_medium

Actually, there is. It isn't a crime to at least appreciate the accomplishments of the 2011 Colorado Rockies so far...

If those divisional standings look oddly foreign to you, they should. Consider:

  • In six of the franchise's 19 seasons, the Rockies failed to be in first place for a single day.
  • Prior to 2011, Colorado had led the NL West by two (2) games in just two seasons - 1995 and 1997. Not in 14 years.
  • The last time the Rockies led the NL West by four games was July 29, 1995, when Troy Tulowitzki was 10 years old. Now he has a ten year contract.
  • Colorado's current four game lead already represents the second largest divisional lead in franchise history. 
  • The Rockies led the NL West by 5.0 games on July 25, 1995, which represents the biggest lead Colorado has ever had. That could be matched tomorrow.
  • The 2011 squad is already guaranteed to be in first place for at least 13 days, which is the fourth most in franchise history.

There is no way to know if the Rockies will break through and actually win the division. If they stay healthy, i am confident they will, and do so convincingly in the way we have surmised them capable of in recent years.

So while buying plane tickets for the NLDS is premature, appreciating the foreign territory they are in is not. Go ahead and enjoy this 10-2 start, guilt-free. You deserve it.

There - done? Now let's continue the domination.

NL West Report

Arizona (5-6, t-3rd, L1, 4.5 GB)

Last Week: 3-3. 2-1 vs. the Reds. 1-2 vs. Diamondbacks. Arizona has been 1-1, 3-3, 4-4 and 5-5 at different points during the season, but the only time they were above .500 was after winning Opening Day against Ubaldo Jimenez.

You Should Know:  A total of 85 runs were scored during Arizona's six games at Chase Field, an average of 13.1 per game. The winning team reached double digits in 4 of the 6 games with the "lowest" scoring winner being the Reds on Satuday, who scored six times. Methinks the humidor idea might be revisited.

Divisional Change: Lost 2.5 games to THE DIVISION LEADING COLORADO ROCKIES. Moved into a tie for third place.

This Week: 3 game home series vs Giants. 3 game road series @ Reds. The schedule isn't any easier for Arizona next week

News: The Diamondbacks' bullpen was supposed to be better in 2011, but here they are, dead last in ERA in the NL once again at 5.91. They have allowed a league-high 6 home runs. After Kevin Towers moved key lineup pieces to shore up the pen, fans are understandably upset with the early returns. But MLB.com's Steve Gilbert isn't concerned. Looking at their staff K/9 of 9.77, BB/9 of 3.09 and BABIP of .394, he might be right.

Top prospect Jarrod Parker made his first start since returning from Tommy John surgery, and his night Monday wasn't pretty: 3.2 IP, 8 R, 7 ER, 6 H, 5 K, 3 BB, 3 2B, 1 HR. Baseball America's Ben Badler breaks it down, though you need a BA membership to read it.


Jarrod Parker

#61 / Pitcher / Arizona Diamondbacks

6-1

180

R

R

Nov 24, 1988

The Diamondbacks have the #3 overall pick in June's amateur draft, and they are looking at Anthony Rendon, Gerrit Cole and Danny Hultzen with that pick. If those are the three, Hultzen will most likely be the pick, as Cole and Rendon have been expected to go 1-2 (in some order) for months. Hultzen is a junior southpaw starting pitcher at the University of Virginia. Most scouting reports have him living in the high 80's with his fastball and peaking as a mid/back rotation starter. Arizona also has the #7 pick in the draft - not surprisingly, they will be weighing signability heavily at that spot as that draft choice is not protected (it is already a compensation choice for not signing their 2010 first round pick).

Arizona is really pushing to rebuild the clubhouse atmosphere. So that makes this story more interesting than usual, when Kirk Gibson got rave reviews from his players after his first ejection. Or maybe it isn't so intersting.

NFL Players are bored these days. Larry Fitzgerald took BP with the D-Backs last week.

Joe Saunders does a Q & A with Nick Piecoro. It isn't particularly stimulating, but I do wish the Rockies did this more often.

Transactions:  Signed FA LH RP Ron Mahay (4/8). Optioned RH RP Kam Mickolio and called up RH RP Esmerling Vasquez (4/13).

Injuries: Geoff Blum took ground balls last weekend and is on track to return late this month.


Arizona Diamondbacks Injuries

15-Day

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Zach Duke hand 03/22/2011
Geoff Blum knee 03/22/2011
Star-divide

Los Angeles (6-7, t-3rd, L3, 4.5 GB)

Last Week: 3-4. 2-1 @ Padres. 1-2 @ Giants. 0-1 vs. Cardinals. After winning six of their first six, the Dodgers have lost three straight

You Should Know: With six players on the disabled list, the Dodgers are missing more players due to injury than every major league team except the Angels, who have seven on the DL.

Divisional Change: Lost 3.0 games to THE DIVISION LEADING COLORADO ROCKIES.

This Week:  Final 3 games of a 4 game home series vs. Cardinals. 4 game home series vs. Braves.

News:  You had guts if you drafted Rafael Furcal to your fantasy team. You were just stupid if you didn't have a back-up plan behind the brittle shortstop. Seriously regret that one. Once again, Furcal is on the disabled list, this time with a broken thumb.


Rafael Furcal

#15 / Short Stop / Los Angeles Dodgers

5-8

190

B

R

Oct 24, 1977


G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB K SB CS AVG OBP SLG
2011 - Rafael Furcal 7 26 4 5 1 0 0 2 2 3 1 1 .192 .250 .231

Jamey Carroll will be the primary shortstop for the next six weeks. In a fit of frustration, Furcal threatened to retire after the injury but has since backed off that statement.

Sixty-seven years ago today, Jackie Robinson debuted for the Dodgers.

Frank McCourt has trouble coming out his ears. Now McCourt is being sued by a Boston law firm.

Jermaine Dye claims the Dodgers inquired about his services before settling on Marcus Thames. It's a shame. I would have loved to see Dye run around in left field for a few games at Coors Field. The Dodgers also inquired on David Eckstein, but balked at his $2million asking price, instead giving $21 million to Juan Uribe.

Last season, the Dodgers dealt Preston Mattingly to Cleveland. Mattingly was cut by the Indians, so the Dodgers re-signed him so his father could resume sporting delusions of coaching his son in the majors.

Transactions: Recalled RHP John Ely (4/10), then optioned Ely the next day. Recalled OF Jamie Huffman (4/11) and SS Ivan DeJesus (4/12)

Injuries:  Placed UT Hector Gimenez (4/10) on the 15-day DL with a swollen knee. Placed SS Rafael Furcal on the 15-day DL (4/12) with a broken thumb. He will be out until late May. Dioner Navarro will soon begin a rehab assignment. Vicente Padilla resumed throwing this past week. Jon Garland had a rehab start on April 10.


Los Angeles Dodgers Injuries

15-Day

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Jay Gibbons eye 03/26/2011
Vicente Padilla forearm 03/22/2011
Jon Garland oblique 03/22/2011
Dioner Navarro oblique 03/22/2011
Rafael Furcal thumb 04/12/2011
Hector Gimenez knee 04/09/2011

Star-divide

San Diego (5-7, 5th, L1, 5.0 GB)

Last Week: 2-5. 1-2 vs. Dodgers. 1-2 vs. Reds. 0-1 @ Astros. After starting the season 2-0 and 3-1, the Padres have lost 6 of 8, of which were all were at Petco Park except one.

You Should Know: After losing their last home series in 2010, the Padres have already failed to win their first three home series of 2011. The last time they went winless in four consecutive home series was July 2009.

Divisional Change: Lost 4.5 games to THE DIVISION LEADING COLORADO ROCKIES. Fell from 2nd place to 5th place.

This Week:  Final 3 games of a 4 game road series @ Astros. 3 game road series @ Cubs. 1st game of a 4 game home series vs. Phillies.

News: Out from under the shadow of Yorvit Torrealba, Nick Hundley has come out raking in 2011. Hundley was recently awarded by a promotion to the fifth spot in the batting order.


Nick Hundley

#4 / Catcher / San Diego Padres

6-1

205

R

R

Sep 08, 1983


G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB K SB CS AVG OBP SLG
2011 - Nick Hundley 11 36 7 13 2 1 2 8 5 10 0 0 .361 .442 .639
The Padres have made eight errors as a team so far - four by pitchers. It is probably SSS noise, but Bud Black has voiced concern about his hurlers' D.
Much has been made of the Rays' stockpiling picks, but don't forget the Padres own five of the top 58 picks in June's draft.  Their top choice is at #9, an unprotected supplemental pick awarded for failure to sign their 2010 pick Karsten Whitson.
Corey Brock asked a few Padres about their ideas on expanding instant replay; there was no consensus.

Transactions:   Optioned RHP Samuel Deduno and OF Cedric Hunter to AAA Tucson. Recalled LHP Wade LeBlanc Sunday, then optioned him back down Monday.

Injuries:  Activated RHP Mat Latos (4/11) and OF Corey Patterson (4/10) from the 15-day DL. Kyle Blanks began a minor league rehab assignment Wednesday and could be ready by the end of the month.  Joe Thatcher played catch on Wednesday with no issues.


San Diego Padres Injuries

15-Day

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Joe Thatcher shoulder 03/22/2011
Jarrett Hoffpauir quadriceps 03/22/2011
Kyle Blanks elbow 03/22/2011

60 Day DL / Out for the season

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Mike Baxter thumb 03/22/2011

Star-divide

San Francisco (6-6, 2nd, W1, 4.0 GB)

Last Week: 4-2. 2-1 vs Cardinals. 2-1 vs. Dodgers. Bruce Bochy guided his squad to a winning week despite being outscored by six. This comes after a losing week in which they outscored their opponents by eight.

You Should Know:  Since losing consecutive one run games to start the season, the Giants have won four consecutive one run contests, which represent their last four victories.

Divisional Change: Lost 1.5 games to the DIVISION LEADING COLORADO ROCKIES. Moved up from 5th to 2nd in the division.

This Week: 3 game road series@ Diamondbacks. 3 game road series @ Rockies. Matt Cain will be the Giants' two start pitcher, with their 1-2-3 starters (Lincecum/Sanchez/Cain) lined up to face the Rockies.

News: Brandon Belt is struggling with the bat. Aubrey Huff is struggling with the glove. So Bruce Bochy might have Belt and Huff switch positions.  As of now, Bochy has not followed through with it. I hope he doesn't. I have images of Seth Smith and Carlos Gonzalez making Huff's life miserable in right field next week.

Mark Polishuk of MLBTradeRumors discusses what an extension for Tim Lincecum might look like. The model is Justin Verlander's 5-year $80million deal, which would give me nausea by itself in handing that to a pitcher. I dare say Lincecum's resume is much better than Verlander's was.

Every Giants fan wanted Aaron Rowand gone. He was hardly useful with the bat or glove, and his mere presence was a reminder of yet another stupid contract Brian Sabean signed. Then a funny thing happened. Rowand has hit extremely well in 2011. Grant at McCovey Chronicles hashes out how much to buy into Rowand.


Aaron Rowand

#33 / Center Field / San Francisco Giants

6-0

210

R

R

Aug 29, 1977


G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB K SB CS AVG OBP SLG
2011 - Aaron Rowand 9 30 6 11 2 1 1 3 0 5 0 1 .367 .367 .600
I frankly don't care to discuss Barry Bonds, as I don't see anything new to discuss, but if you're curious, this MCC fanpost go over Bonds' verdict.

Transactions:   None.

Injuries:   CF Andres Torres is day-to-day with a strained Achilles; he jogged in a swimming pool and took batting practice Wednesday. Cody Ross will play in extended spring training games this weekend. Mark DeRosa is day-to-day with a sore wrist.


San Francisco Giants Injuries

Probable

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Freddy Sanchez shoulder 04/14/2011

Questionable

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Mark DeRosa wrist 04/14/2011

Doubtful

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Andres Torres achilles-tendon 04/14/2011

15-Day

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Santiago Casilla elbow 04/01/2011
Cody Ross calf 03/22/2011

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