NL West Report: The Red Sox Prove the Giants Won't Repeat

I am pretty sure this is where I am supposed to warn everyone that we can't glean anything substantial from a week of games. But the Red Sox are 0-6, and since that means it is Armageddon, I'll throw all traditional thought out the window. Suck it Brian Sabean, and enjoy the cellar all season. Dan O'Dowd will be calling you Monday to find out the measurements of the World Series trophy so he can have a case built.


NL West Standings

W L PCT GB STRK
Colorado 4 1 .800 0 Won 4
San Diego 3 2 .600 1 Lost 1
Los Angeles 3 3 .500 1.5 Lost 2
Arizona 2 3 .400 2 Won 1
San Francisco 2 4 .333 2.5 Won 1

(updated 4.8.2011 at 12:18 PM MDT)

Team capsules after the jump.

 

NL West Report


Arizona (2-3, 4th, W1, 2 GB)

Last Week: 2-3. 1-1 @ Rockies, 1-2 @ Cubs. The Diamondbacks have been unexpectedly competitive so far, with all five games being decided by three runs or less on the road.

You Should Know:  While the D-backs often get grief for attendance, they are ranked 14 of 30 MLB teams in attendance the last ten years, according to the Phoenix Business Jounral. Arizona faced five starting pitchers last week, and four of them left the game injured - Ubaldo Jimenez, Jorge de la Rosa, Randy Wells and Andrew Cashner. Only de la Rosa avoided the disabled list.

This Week: 3 game home series @ Red. 3 game home series vs Cardinals. Arizona's home opener is tonight, and they get to host the defending NL Central champions, who have done everything well thus far to a 5-1 record. Ian Kennedy gets the home opener thanks to the postponement Sunday.

News: Juan Miranda will be the starting first baseman most of the time for the Diamondbacks. The 28-year-old former Yankee has just 95 career PA, but Kevin Towers is buying into upside here, rather than playing Russell Branyan, who has hit 25 home runs in each of the past two seasons.


Juan Miranda

#46 / First Base / Arizona Diamondbacks

6-0

220

L

L

Apr 25, 1983


G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB K SB CS AVG OBP SLG
2011 - Juan Miranda 5 12 1 3 0 0 0 0 1 4 0 0 .250 .357 .250

Of course, that shouldn't be surprising, since Kevin Towers hates home runs and strikeouts and exciting baseball. That means Branyan could be made available in a trade, and MLB Trade Rumors' Dan Mennella outlines five teams he might get flipped to.

I watched last Saturday's game, and I must have missed the theatrics. But apparently, Gerardo Parra and Jorge de la Rosa had a run-in, which was composed of Parra staring at de la Rosa and the Rockies' lefty saying a few words back. The origin is quite amusing:

According to several people in the D-backs' clubhouse, there was unhappiness with the way De La Rosa reacted to an inside pitch earlier in the game and the D-backs felt he then hot-dogged the base hit he got in the fourth that drove in a run.

The thought of de la Rosa as a hot dog makes me giggle. There has never been a major league player who strikes me as less of a "hot dog" than de la Rosa, and I'm confident that the Diamondbacks' seeing anything otherwise stemmed more from the frustration of giving up an RBI single to a weak-hitting pitcher. I'd say the D-backs should know de la Rosa is not a hot dog, as he spent five years in their organization, but the franchise has been turned over several times since then.

In quite the convoluted resume, former Chicago Bulls GM and, most recently, White Sox director of international scouting Jerry Krause has taken a voluntary demotion to join Arizona. Krause will now be special assistant to Jerry DiPoto, the Diamondbacks' executive vice president of scouting and player development. No word yet on if Krause's business cards will be 3 x 5 cards.

The Diamondbacks have always been good with transparency and openness with fans, something I am frankly quite jealous of.  President and CEO Derrick Hall hosted a webchat with fans last week, something he does regularly.

Transactions:  Signed FA SS Josh Wilson. Hey, maybe he can help the bullpen.

Injuries: Stephen Drew has been limited to pinch-hit duty so far this season due to an abdominal strain. For all you traitors via fantasy, he might start tonight but will for sure sometimes this week


Arizona Diamondbacks Injuries

Doubtful

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Stephen Drew abdomen 04/08/2011

15-Day

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

Los Angeles (3-3, 3rd, L2, 1.5 GB)

Last Week: 3-3. 3-1 vs Giants. 0-2 @ Rockies. Rockies fans could not have asked the Dodgers to be more compliant to Colorado's ventures. They squeaked out three wins against the former champs, then got outplayed with their top two pitchers on the mound in Colorado.

You Should Know: Thanks in large part to the Rockies, the Dodgers gave up their tenth home run earlier in the season than any year in the last decade.

This Week:  3 game road series @ Padres. 3 game home series @ Giants.

News:  Matt Kemp is in a different state of mind, won't let distractions bother him is in a better place, yadda-yadda-yadda.


Matt Kemp

#27 / Center Field / Los Angeles Dodgers

6-3

215

R

R

Sep 23, 1984


G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB K SB CS AVG OBP SLG
2011 - Matt Kemp 6 19 5 6 3 0 1 3 4 3 1 0 .316 .435 .632

The most important facet of the Dodgers' future isn't their farm system - it's that pesky ownership divorce. Despite the financial issues, Los Angeles opened with a payroll $12million HIGHER than 2010. That doesn't include $15million in deferred salaries from past contracts. With this past offseason's contracts gaining considerable annual salaries in future years, it would be helpful for the financial picture to get a bit rosier for Frank McCourt.

McCourt's preferred method of doing so is creating a television network, a move that often provides immediate considerable financial returns. According to Buster Olney, that method doesn't excite MLB, as it would ease McCourt's debt without improving the on field product. 

MLB Trade Rumors has a stout offseason review of the Dodgers

Many prominent players from Los Angeles' consecutive division titles remain. The biggest change has been in left field, where Mannywood has been replaced by a Gwynn/Thames/Paul platoon. And Jay Gibbons will join the party soon.

The Dodgers need a fifth starter soon. That appears to be slotted for either Sunday in San Diego against Aaron Harang or Tuesday in San Francisco against Tim Lincecum. Maybe the right decision, Ned. The early leader appears to be John Ely for the role.

After a Giants fans was brutally attacked outside Dodger Stadium last week,alcohol, lighting and security in Dodgertown is being reviewed.

There will be a movie made soon about the Dodgers, of course surrounding the color barrier. Robert Redford will play Branch Rickey.  So who will play Jackie Robinson. Suggestions?

Transactions: Optioned SS Ivan De Jesus to AAA Albuquerque.

Injuries:  Activated Casey Blake from the 15-day disabled list Wednesday. Jay Gibbons is working through his vision problems with a minor league rehab stint. Jon Garland will resume throwing soon. Vicente Padilla threw four simulated innings last Sunday.


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

Star-divide

San Diego (3-2, 2nd, L1, 0.5 GB Div)

Last Week: 3-2. 2-1 @ Cardinals. 1-1 vs Giants. The Giants scored eight runs off the Padres yesterday, powered by hitting for a team cycle in the first against Tim Stauffer. It was the first game in which San Diego allowed more than three runs, and it was at Petco Park

You Should Know: Mat Latos is line up to come off the disabled list next week against Cincinnati.

This Week: 3 game home series vs. Dodgers. 3 game home series vs. Reds. 1st game of a 4-game weeked series @ Astros.

News: Some Padres fans are already calling for Brad Hawpe to be benched more often for Jorge Cantu.


Brad Hawpe

#11 / First Base / San Diego Padres

6-3

210

L

L

Jun 22, 1979


G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB K SB CS AVG OBP SLG
2011 - Brad Hawpe 4 14 2 1 0 0 0 0 1 5 0 0 .071 .133 .071
Of course, it's only four games, but his progression in San Diego will be watched by many Rockies fans.
Heath Bell has been vocal about wanting a multi-year deal, but now that the season started, Bell has decided not to discuss a potential contract through the media.
Veteran reliever Pat Neshek is feeling good, and he credits massage therapy for his rejuvination.
The Forbes figures that came out a week ago created a wave of backlash and defenses from many big league organizations. Jeff Moorad wasn't happy when Forbes found the Padres had a $37.2million operating income in 2010, most in the majors.  It doesn't look good for that to come out after dealing your franchise player.

Transactions:   None.

Injuries:  Mat Latos threw a simulated game April 4. Eric Patterson began his minor leagure rehab last night. Joe Thatcher experienced a setback in a bullpen session Wednesday and is out indefinitely.


San Diego Padres Injuries

15-Day

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Joe Thatcher shoulder 03/22/2011
Eric Patterson hamstring 03/22/2011
Jarrett Hoffpauir quadriceps 03/22/2011
Kyle Blanks elbow 03/22/2011
Mat Latos shoulder 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 (2-4, 5th, W1, 2.5 GB)

Last Week: 2-4. 1-3 @ Dodgers. 1-1 @ Padres.  The Giants didn't fare too well in their initial defense of their championship, as they finish with a losing record playing at their two road California parks.

You Should Know:  After a week, the Giants rank 2nd from the bottom in fielding percentage and errors. Their total zone of -12 runs is 4th worst in MLB thus far.  Again, I state defense will be a weakness in San Francisco....The Giants are 0-4 in games decided by two runs or less and 2-0 in games decided by 3 or more. They have a +8 run differential despite having a losing record.

This Week: 3 game home series vs. Cardinals. 3 game home series vs. Dodgers. In San Francisco's first homestand, Jonathan Sanchez gets the call twice.

News: Cody Ross could be returning soon, and that puts the Giants' roster in a bind. There are a few options on how to get Ross on the 25-man roster, but none of them are easy. Nate Schierholtz, a regular bench player, could be released or traded. Pat Burrell could be released. Aaron Rowand could be ditched in some capacity, but he's hitting well. Mark DeRosa could be dealt. But the one with the least resistance? Sending Brandon Belt back to AAA. While he hasn't looked lost at the plate by any means, he hasn't taken the job and run with it either.


Brandon Belt

#9 / First Base / San Francisco Giants

6-5

220

L

L

Apr 20, 1988


G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB K SB CS AVG OBP SLG
2011 - Brandon Belt 6 22 3 4 0 0 1 4 4 5 1 0 .182 .308 .318
The Giants picked a strange time, but they extended Freddy Sanchez for a year at $6million. He's a decent defender and solid contributor, but his durability concerns, especially in San Francisco, have been significant. Now they are committed to him for two full seasons.
One guy they definitely won't extend is Barry Zito. Ha. I made a funny.  Jeff Passan decided to tell everyone that Zito's contract was terrible this week.
Today is the Giants' home opener, and Brian Wilson is planning a "treat" with the World Series ball, which he has been in possession of since November.
Can't get enough Brian Wilson? I didn't think so. But if you're infatuated with him, ESPN's Elizabeth Merrill wrote a 2,500 word feature on Wilson (roughly the length of this entire article). It's the first of a new running weekly series at ESPN called Curtain Call.
The prosecution and defense have made their cases in the Barry Bonds perjury trial, and now the decision is now up to the jury. 
Former Rockie Marc Kroon backed off his retirement threats and accepted an assignment to AAA Fresno.

Transactions:   Signed 1B Joe Koshansky and assigned him to the Richmond Flying Squirrels. 1B Travis Ishikawa passed through waivers and was outrighted to AAA Fresno.

Injuries:  Activated closer Brian Wilson from the disabled list. Santiago Casilla was placed on the 15-day DL Wednesday with elbow inflammation.


San Francisco Giants Injuries

15-Day

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