I expect Los Angeles and San Francisco to fight it out for second place, with the Dodgers taking the surprising upper hand... I'm placing San Diego at a competitive fourth, hovering right around .500....Vegas has the Diamondbacks' line at 72.5 wins, which seems about right. Either way, don't worry too much about Arizona.
Those were pulled from my preseason predictions for the NL West, with the implication that the Rockies would win the division by several games. I also projected someone from the Giants' rotation to get injured, Aubrey Huff and Andres Torres to offer much less, the Giants' defense to be a weakness, and Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier to bounce back. So after a month, so far, so good.
NL West Standings
I seem to have overestimated the offensive additions in San Diego with the possible exception of Cameron Maybin, as I really thought Brad Hawpe and Will Venable would prove to be better weapons. With Mat Latos winless in 2011, some improvement there could make the division shake out as I envisioned.
Is it too early to pat myself on the back for predicting the division well? You bet. This may be the only chance I get to look smart, so I'm taking it. But I'm also sticking to my guns.
Divisional rival team capsules nach der Pause.
NL West Report
Arizona (11-13, 4th, W1, 5.5 GB)
You Should Know: The Diamondbacks have lost just one series (St. Louis) against a team with a winning record. Meanwhile, they have won two series from the Reds, one from the Phillies, and split a road series with the Rockies.
Divisional Change: Lost 1.0 game to first place Colorado.
This Week: Finish 3 games of 4 games home series vs. Cubs. 3 game home series vs. Rockies
News: Daniel Hudson looked like a steal last season after his acquisition from the Chicago White Sox. 2011 hasn't treated the young right-hander as well. Peripherals suggest his true talent level is centered in between his 2010 and his heretofore 2011.
#41 / Pitcher / Arizona Diamondbacks
Mar 09, 1987
|2011 - Daniel Hudson||1-4||5||5||0||0||0||0||30.1||30||20||19||2||12||32||5.64||1.38|
General Manager Kevin Towers admitted to manipulating the radar guns while GMing the San Diego Padres. Specifically, the organization made sure to mess with Brad Penny. Where's the outrage, Brian Sabean? Well, it's a prevalent tactic. It might actually be going on at AT&T Park.
Matt Williams has finally returned to duty as Arizona's third base coach. He missed about a month with a broken foot as a result of playing with his children.
Transactions: Called up IF Josh Wilson (4/25).
Injuries: Placed UT Willie Bloomquist (hamstring) on the 15-day disabled list Monday. He is on track to return in early May. RHP Aaron Heilman (shoulder tendinitis) and LHP Zach Duke (broken hand) both threw 30-pitch side sessions Tuesday and should return sometime in May. Geoff Blum (knee) underwent arthroscopic surgery Tuesday and will be out until sometime around the All-Star Break.
Arizona Diamondbacks Injuries
Los Angeles (13-13, t-2nd, W1, 4.5 GB)
Last Week: 3-3. 2-1 @ Cubs. 1-2 @ Marlins.
You Should Know: Andre Ethier has started all 26 games for the Dodgers and has a hit in all but the second game. That counts for a 24-game hitting streak, an MLB April record, and it is still running. Only one other player (Ryan Zimmerman in 2009) has recorded a hit in 25 of his team's first 26 games since 1977.
Divisional Change: Moved into a tie for second place in the division, yet lost 0.5 games to first place Colorado.
This Week: 3 game home series vs. Padres. 3 game home series vs. Cubs.
News: Great news for fans in the NL West. Even after the MLB takeover, GM Ned Colletti will be allowed to make moves without MLB approval, as long as the move does not put the Dodgers over budget. That will become an issue in the draft, where Los Angeles has made a practice of paying above slot for strong first round talent (Kemp/Kershaw/Lee etc), but day-to-day moves will run as normal. Tom Schieffer just wants to help.
Writes Bill Plaschke: "It appears Colletti will be able to unilaterally make any roster changes within the confines of the current budget, with Schieffer acting as a gatekeeper only for those requests that exceed the budget." Of course, going over budget isn't a locked door. The Nationals got approval from MLB when they were under MLB control, and of course, there's that Cliff Lee thing with the Rangers.
Our own Troy Renck said the Dodgers "the Dodgers have become an embarrassment to the sport." Tell me how you really feel. For other reactions around the country to the MLB takeover, click here.
Jonathan Broxton is struggling again, and the Dodgers are left confusing everyone about their closer situation. Maybe it will end up being Vicente Padilla. What? Do you really want to see Carlos Gonzalez facing an eephus pitch in the ninth? Actually...Padilla was used as the closer in the Dodgers' most recent game...
#51 / Pitcher / Los Angeles Dodgers
Jun 16, 1984
|2011 - Jonathan Broxton||1-1||11||0||0||0||5||1||10.1||12||7||5||2||7||8||4.35||1.84|
Clayton Kershaw could be in for a big financial windfall after the season. The Dodgers have a strong 1-2-3 core in Kershaw, Ethier and Matt Kemp, and Jon Heyman expects the Dodgers to find a way to lock all three up.
Perhaps the best source, after Bill Shaikin, for the Dodgers' news is TrueBlueLA's Eric Stephen. Stephen did an interview with Colorado Biz magazine about the takeover.
Injuries: Activated C Dioner Navarro from the 15-day DL. Placed 3B Casey Blake on 15-day DL after being hospitalized with an infected elbow. Hong Chih-Kuo is on a rehab assignment with a back strain and has not been very encouraging. Juan Uribe has missed five straight starts with a tight thigh. OF Jay Gibbons (vision) is still on a AAA rehab assignment
Los Angeles Dodgers Injuries
San Diego (9-16, 5th, L2, 8.0 GB)
Last Week: 1-5. 0-3 vs. Phillies. 1-2 @ Braves. San Diego scored just 10 runs in their last two series (7 games). Five of those came in a 13-inning win on Monday.
You Should Know: It isn't just PetCo Park. The Padres are bad bad bad at the plate. That team slash line .208/.289/.310 just doesn't play in any environment, and their team wRC+ of 73 in the worst in MLB.
Divisional Change: Lost 2.5 games to first place Colorado.
This Week: 3 game road series @ Dodgers. 3 game home series Pirates.
News: The Padres' rotation was supposed to keep San Diego competitive, even with a poor offense. The ace of that staff has not done his part, though. The Padres have lost all four of Mat Latos' starts, and he has only reached the seventh inning once. His last start was his "best," as he was charged with one earned run in five innings. However, he allowed a two-out error by Brad Hawpe to rattle him, and Atlanta blew open the chance for a five run inning (all unearned).
#38 / Pitcher / San Diego Padres
Dec 09, 1987
|2011 - Mat Latos||0-4||4||4||0||0||0||0||21.2||19||17||12||5||10||25||4.98||1.34|
San Francisco (12-12, t-2nd, W1, 4.5 GB)
Last Week: 2-4. 0-3 vs. Braves. 2-1 @ Pirates. It was a rough week for the Giants, who followed their thrashing at Coors Field Wednesday with a home sweep at the hands of the Braves. They then squeaked out a series win in Pittsburgh despite going 2-for-26 with runners in scoring position in the series.
You Should Know Ryan Vogelsong won his start yesterday, his first MLB win since 2004, a streak of 2,412 days.
Divisional Change: Lost 1.5 games to first place Colorado.
This Week: 4 game road series @ Nationals. 3 game road series @ Mets.
News: Who saw this coming? Miguel Tejada has become a defensive and offensive and offensive sore spot for the Giants at shortstop, and the alternatives (Mike Fontenot, Emmanuel Burriss) are underwhelming. He has the 9th lowest wRC+ and 14th lowest fWAR in MLB. I mean, who would have thought signing a near
37-year-old (47?) shortstop with no back up plan could have backfired? Of course, Bruce Bochy is sure Miguel Tejada will hit. Sounds like the empty hopeful predictions from Troy Renck about Garrett Atkins to me.
#10 / Short Stop / San Francisco Giants
May 25, 1974
|2011 - Miguel Tejada||22||81||5||17||5||0||1||9||5||7||0||1||.210||.250||.309|
Transactions: Recalled IF Emmanuel Burriss from AAA Fresno (4/28).
Injuries: UT Mark DeRosa was placed on the 15-day DL with left wrist inflammation. He is out indefinitely. RHP Santiago Casilla (elbow) and CF Andres Torres (achilles) is rehabbing in Arizona and will return in the next two weeks.