Prince Fielder may have taken home the MVP honors at Tuesday's All-Star game (and deservedly so), but the NL West stars quietly had an extremely good night at Chase Field.
The Dodgers in particular had a fairly historic All-Star Game. Andre Ethier singled home a run, while Matt Kemp singled, walked and scored. Ethier's RBI single was the first RBI for a Dodger in the All-Star game since Mike Piazza 15 years ago. The duo reached base three times,the first time in 30 years that has happened. Oh yeah, Clayton Kershaw also threw a shutout inning with a strikeout using just eight pitches.
Of the five Giants named to the team, only two played, but both were exceptional. Brian Wilson inherited two runners in scoring position in the ninth inning and retired both men he faced for the save. Pablo Sandoval got one at-bat, collecting an RBI single. The Kung Fu Panda became the first homegrown Giants player to drive in a run in the All-Star Game since Will Clark in 1992.
The only team that didn't play along was the host Diamondbacks. Miguel Montero was left in the on deck circle for the NL's last bat, leaving him without a plate appearance. Justin Upton managed to make two outs on just three pitches seen.
All told, the NL West combined for 2.0 shutout innings with zero base-runners, while the hitters went 4-for-8 with 2 RBI and a walk.
Team capsules after the jump! **tra la la la la**
NL West Report
Arizona (49-43, 2nd, L2, 3.5 GB)
Last Week: 1-2. 1-2 @ Cardinals.
You Should Know: As realignment talk continues, the Diamondbacks have been told they will NOT move to the American League in any eventual realignment.
Divisional Change: Lost 1.5 games to first place San Francisco
This Week: 3 game home series vs. Dodgers. 4 game home series vs. Brewers.
News: In one of the more random quotes there is, Andre Ethier spoke of playing for Arizona:
I asked Andre Ethier about the idea of playing with Dustin Pedroia. He said maybe when they were 38 with the D'Backs.
The Diamondbacks are unlikely to acquire Heath Bell. You know, that who divisional rival thing. But they are attempting to acquire relief pitchers, with Kerry Wood and Jason Isringhausen on the list. Kevin Towers has been personally scouting Arizona's prospects in an effort to better know his own potential trade chips.
Injuries: Activated IF Geoff Blum from the 15-day DL (7/15). JJ Putz threw a bullpen session yesterday and could return next week.
Arizona Diamondbacks Injuries
Los Angeles (41-51, 4th, W4, 11.5 GB)
Last Week: 3-0. 3-0 vs. Padres. The Dodgers swept the Padres despite scoring just six runs in the series. That's what happens when you hold the opponent to one run all weekend.
You Should Know: A solo home run by Rob Johnson is the only run scored on the Dodgers in the last four games.
Divisional Change: Gained one half game on first place San Francisco and moved into fourth place.
This Week: 3 game road series @ Diamondbacks. 3 game road series @ Giants.
News: While potential trade chip Hiroki Kuroda earned a $12million salary this season, Eric Stephen notes the money left to Kuroda is quite small. One third of that salary was part of a signing bonus, and with more than half the season concluded, Kuroda is only owed about $3.3million.
James Loney has had a miserable last 162 games,as Eric Stephen pointed out on twitter:
James Loney, 2010 All-Star break to 2011 All-Star break: 164 games (147 starts), .243/.300/.337 with 8 HR, 56 RBI, 43 runs
#7 / First Base / Los Angeles Dodgers
May 07, 1984
|2011 - James Loney||91||325||23||87||12||0||4||31||21||39||3||0||.268||.311||.342|
The Dodgers will almost certainly be sellers, which is almost disappointing. There will be no James McDonald/Andrew Lambo for Octavio Dotel deal this year. GM Ned Colletti's contract expire this offseason, but Colletti got Frank McCourt's vote of confidence, for whatever that is worth. When the Dodgers do sell off pieces, the players who are off-limits to being dealt: Matt Kemp, Clayton Kershaw, Chad Billingsley, Dee Gordon and Rubby De La Rosa.
Former Dodger Juan Castro has retired.
The Dodgers are moving on from the Marcus Thames era....and into the Juan Rivera era. As Dodger Thoughts' Jon Weisman tweets, that isn't much of a change. At least the Dodgers are only paying $175k of Rivera's salary.
Giants fan Bryan Stow will have a say in Frank McCourt's bankruptcy. Stow is listed as a creditor despite not technically being one now, as Stow and his family plan to sue the McCourts.
Transactions: Acquired OF Juan Rivera for a PTBNL or cash from Toronto and designated OF Marcus Thames for assignment (7/12). Signed RHP Justin Miller and assigned him to AAA Albuquerque (7/13). Optioned C AJ Ellis to AAA lbuquerque and released Thames (7/14).
Injuries: Activated C Rod Barajas from the 15-day disabled list (7/14). 3B Casey Blake's return is unknown from his arthritic neck. RHP Jonathan Broxton likely won't be back until August. RHP Vicente Padilla and RHP Jon Garland are out for the year.
Los Angeles Dodgers Injuries
San Diego (40-53, 5th, L6, 13.0 GB)
Last Week: 0-4. 0-3 @ Dodgers. 0-1 vs. Giants. San Diego has scored a total of four runs in their last five games.
You Should Know: The Padres are on pace to score 533 runs this season, the 3rd fewest full season total in franchise history, behind the 1969 club (468) and 1971 (team (486). Both of those team lost 100 games.
Divisional Change: Lost three games to first place San Francisco and fell into fifth place. They are further out of first place than they have been since 2009.
This Week: Finish last three games of 4 game home series vs. Giants. 3 game road series @ Marlins.
News: Baseball Prospectus had a series finding that older, established pitchers got more "false strikes" from umpires. From 2009-2010, those among the top who received the most false strikes were Jake Peavy and Trevor Hoffman. No surprises there.
The Padres will likely be dealing Mike Adams in the next two weeks, and Jon Heyman says Jed Hoyer is going to ask for an elite prospect for Adams. Corey Brock backs up Heyman, stating the Padres want "impact players" in return for their trade chips.
#37 / Pitcher / San Diego Padres
Jul 29, 1978
|2011 - Mike Adams||3-1||42||0||0||0||1||2||42.0||23||7||6||2||7||41||1.29||.71|
Heath Bell could have really hurt that attempt had he gotten injured when he slid into the pitcher's mound at the All-Star Game. He actually had a different prank planned, but backed out on it:
"I almost jumped in the pool, but I was wired [with a microphone] so I didn't think that would go over very well."
Transactions: Recalled C Luis Martinez from AAA Tucson. Optioned RHP Pat Neshek to AAA Tucson (7/9).
San Francisco (49-37, 1st, W3)
Last Week: 3-1. 2-1 vs. Mets. 1-0 vs. Padres.
You Should Know: The Giants have taken advantage of their division, going 7-2 vs Arizona, 7-4 vs Colorado, 5-4 vs. Los Angeles and 4-3 vs. San Diego.
Divisional Change: Extended their lead in the division by 1.5 games.
This Week: Finish last three of 4 game road series @ Padres. 3 game home series vs. Dodgers.
News: NL West fans should be worried about the Giants. There are typically four major aspects that contribute to having the capability to acquire an impact player at the deadline, and the Giants are in a good position to bring in an big bat. Teams need payroll space, and the Giants have it. They have to be willing to acquire rental players, and the Giants are. They need the players available to match-up to positional need, but the line-up has so many holes, any player acquired could find a position. They need prospects and a willingness to deal them; the Giants have them, the only question is what Brian Sabean is willing to deal.
Any impact bat that hits the trade market is a potential target for the Giants. Carlos Beltran is tops on that list. The line-up could improve in a hurry should they double their number of effective hitters with one acquisition.
#15 / Right Field / New York Mets
Apr 24, 1977
|2011 - Carlos Beltran||89||326||52||93||28||2||13||58||47||58||3||0||.285||.377||.503|
Vice president of baseball operations Bobby Evans said the Giants are looking for offensive upgrades at every position except center field, third base and first base. It's almost as if they could hope for more offense from their pitchers. Wait, that joke has been done.
Grant Brisbee posted his second half preview for the NL West. Amusing as always, but he doesn't really step out on a limb with the final standings prediction.
One general manager believes the Giants are the obvious choice to sign Jose Reyesthis offseason, predicting Sabean will offer ~$120million to the Mets shortstop.
Injuries: Placed UT Bill Hall on the 15-day DL with a lacerated leg and activated IF Mike Fontenot from the 15-day DL (7/8). Mark DeRosa should be starting his rehab assignment soon. Jonathan Sanchez threw a successful 32-pitch bullpen session on Wednesday.