Stumbles from the Giants and Padres have allowed the Dodgers and Rockies to ascend to the top of the division while the Diamondbacks' negative spiral continues.
The NL West now looks like most people expected it to at the start of the season, with the Dodgers on top of the division. However, there is a tight, four-way race for that spot, with the Rockies, Giants and Padres all hot on LA's heels.
San Francisco, who was leading the division a week ago, has seen a total power outage, scoring just 10 runs in its last six games. The Padres have been similarly bad offensively this week, scoring just 14 runs in their six contests. The struggles offensively for those two teams has allowed the Rockies to climb into second, just a half game behind the Dodgers, who they face this weekend.
As for the fifth team in the division, things continue to go wrong in Arizona, where the Diamondbacks are 5-18 and inspiring quotes like these from their players.
That is definitely not a good sign for the Diamondbacks' chances this season, nor do they bode well for manager Kirk Gibson and GM Kevin Towers. We may have a 2012 Rockies (or worse) situation on our hands in Arizona this season.
Arizona Diamondbacks (5-18, 8 GB)
The Week that Was: Arizona won just one of its five games this week, a 4-2 victory over the Dodgers on Friday. They have lost their last four, a pair each to the Dodgers and Cubs, by a combined 26-10 margin. The Diamondbacks have scored just four runs in their last three games, a stat that has not helped their disastrous starting pitching so far in 2014.
The Week to Come: The Diamondbacks have two more games at Wrigley Field before returning home to take on the Phillies and Rockies. Two of the next four starters they face are Jeff Samardzija and Cliff Lee, bad news for Arizona's struggling bats.
Disabled List: LHP Matt Reynolds (15-day, torn UCL), RHP Daniel Hudson (15-day, torn UCL), RHP David Hernandez (60-day, torn UCL), LHPPatrick Corbin (60-day, torn UCL)
Player to Watch: Archie Bradley
That's right, Arizona's player to watch isn't even on their Major League roster. Bradley is unquestionably the best pitching prospect in the Diamondbacks' system and is considered by many to be the best pitching prospect in baseball. The 21-year-old has a 3.98 ERA in four starts at AAA Reno and many are calling for Arizona to call him up to aid their depleted starting rotation. At this point, it seems the call for Bradley will come sooner rather than later.
Los Angeles Dodgers (12-9, 0 GB)
The Week that Was: Even a so-so week at 3-3 was enough to see the Dodgers rise into first place in the NL West, where they currently sit a half game ahead of the second-place Rockies. The Dodgers started the week by winning their series finale against the Giants and taking two of three from the Diamondbacks before dropping the first two of a four-game series against the Phillies.
The Week to Come: The week starts for the dodgers with a great pitching matchup as Zack Grienke takes on Cole Hamels at Dodger Stadium today. After two games against Philadelphia, LA will welcome the Rockies to Chavez Ravine before traveling to Minnesota to kick off a road trip against the Twins.
Disabled List: RHP Chad Billingsley (15-day, torn UCL), LHP Scott Elbert (60-day, torn UCL), C A.J. Ellis (15-day, knee), LHP Clayton Kershaw (15-day, back)
Player to Watch: Dee Gordon
Don't look now, but Gordon has a .408 on-base percentage and a dozen steals. Gordon's speed has never been in doubt, but he has never hit well enough at the Major League level to earn consistent playing time. Entering 2014, Gordon's career high was 330 plate appearances and he had a career-best .686 OPS (in 233 plate appearances) in 2011. If he can keep getting on base, he becomes yet another big weapon in the Dodgers' arsenal.
The Week that Was: There were just 28 total runs scored in San Diego's six games this week, with San Diego scoring 14 times and picking up three wins. They dropped a game to the Rockies Thursday before taking two of three from the Giants and splitting a pair of games in Milwaukee against the Brewers.
The Week to Come: The Padres continue their 10-game road trip this week with one more in Milwaukee before a four-game weekend series in Washington, where they get Jordan Zimmermann and Stephen Strasburg in the first two, and then back to California to take on the Giants at AT&T Park.
Disabled List: RHP Josh Johnson (15-day, forearm), RHP Casey Kelly (15-day, torn UCL), LHP Cory Luebke (60-day, torn UCL), OF Cameron Maybin (15-day, biceps), OF Carlos Quentin (15-day, knee), RHP Joe Wieland (15-day, elbow)
Player to Watch: Jedd Gyorko
Gyorko signed a six-year, $35 million extension last week, but has had an awful start to the 2014 campaign, hitting just .141/.225/.225 with just three extra-base hits in 71 at bats, not nearly good enough for someone who was supposed to be a key cog in San Diego's offense. Getting Gyorko going is crucial for a Padres team that has scored a league-low 58 runs in 21 games this season.
San Francisco Giants (11-10, 1 GB)
The Week that Was: The Giants have scored just 10 runs in six games this week, which is a good way to go 1-5. San Francisco dropped a game at home to the Dodgers before heading out on the road, dropping two of three to the Padres at Petco Park and scoring just three runs in a pair of losses to the Rockies at Coors Field.
The Week to Come: Tyler Chatwood, with a 3.15 ERA in his home park since the start of 2013, is not likely to be the cure for what ails the Giants' bats in their series finale at Colorado. Perhaps returning home, where they face the Indians and Padres, will be a remedy for San Francisco's offense.
Disabled List: LHP David Huff (15-day, quad), 2B Marco Scutaro (15-day, back)
Player to Watch: Buster Posey
Speaking of players who need to get going, Posey is just 3-for-33 in his last 10 games, with his batting average having dropped from .351 to .229 and his OPS sinking by 300 points to .722 in that span. Odds are the Giants offense will get going when their All-Star catcher gets going and not a second sooner.