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NL West Report: Divison Faces Scheduling Gauntlet

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I hate giving prestige to the AL East as much as the next guy, but have you seen the standings recently?  Despite inter-divisional play, MLB's top three records are all in the AL East.  New York: 43-26.  Tampa Bay:  42-27.  Boston:  43-28.  

All three of those teams will strictly be facing NL West teams this week.  After sweeping both the Diamondbacks and Dodgers last week, the Red Sox visit Coors Field and AT&T Park to face the Rockies and Giants.  The Yankees will take Boston's schedule last week, visiting Chase Field and Dodger Stadium to take on the Diamondbacks and Dodgers.  The Rays host the Padres and Diamondbacks.

Then consider the everstrong Angels host two NL West team this week and the schedule really becomes a bear for the division.  Here's how it breaks down (home series in bold, road series in italics):

Team Opponent 1 Opponent 2
Arizona Yankees (43-26) Rays (42-27)
Colorado Red Sox (43-28) Angels (39-33)
Los Angeles Angels (39-33) Yankees (43-26)
San Diego Rays (42-27) Marlins (33-36)
San Francisco Astros (26-44) Red Sox (43-28)

I'm not sure that there's any difference in difficulty for the Diamondbacks, Dodgers and Rockies.  What seems like a bit of a break for the Padres is their draw of the sub-.500 Marlins.  However, wins can be tough to come by for California teams in Florida, the Padres are the only team without a home game, and they'll draw Josh Johnson in the Marlins series.  Johnson is quietly having a ridiculously dominant season.

The true break comes for the Giants at Minute Maid Park.  They do face Roy Oswalt tomorrow night, but Tim Lincecum will be the Giants' starter.  With the difficult games on the docket for the division, should any team have a particularly strong week, they have a very good chance to improve their standing against the other teams.  Moreover, this is a time for the NL West to assert legitimacy against the American League, and specifically, the AL East.


Team capsules nach der Sprung

NL West Report

Arizona (27-43, 5th, L1, 13.5 GB)

Last Week: 1-5. 0-3 @ Red Sox.  1-2 @ Tigers.  Arizona is doing all they can to convince the FO to sell away everyone.

Divisional Change: Lost one game to first-place San Diego.

This Week: 3 game home series  vs. Yankees.  3 game road series @ Rays.  

You Should Know:  In six games with Oakland, Conor Jackson is 7-for-18 with two doubles, two walks, two RBI and a stolen base.  He has reached base in all five starts.  Sam Demel tossed a 1-2-3 inning on June 16 against Boston in his major league debut.

News:   The Diamondbacks are not having a firesale.  Or so says GM Josh Byrnes.  Well, we will see about that.  With discussion going on about every valuable Diamondback sans Justin Upton and 2008 cleanup hitter Conor Jackson getting traded for what John Sickels calls "C+ relief prospect," the players are concerned with who is next.  Dan Haren is relaying all rumors from MLBTR to his teammates.  Adam LaRoche is prepared to relocate.  This is the type of environment at Chase Field.  Needless to say, it isn't conducive to winning.

Bill Shaikin of the LA Times suggests that Dan Haren needs to be an Angel.  You know, in Anaheim.  That's not a statement about how horrible his stats are.  Haren would be a hot target should Byrnes decide to deal him, but despite the trades, miserable record and historically bad bullpen, Dan Haren wants to stay a Diamondback.  Or you know, so he says.

Dan Haren

#15 / Pitcher / Arizona Diamondbacks





Sep 17, 1980

2010 - Dan Haren 7-5 16 15 1 0 0 0 101.1 115 58 53 18 20 101 4.71 1.33

The Diamondbacks are just in a bad place.  They are obviously performing horribly, though most of their issues stem from a bad bullpen and shallow rotation.  The only older player that can be traded for a Matt-Holliday-type haul is Dan Haren, but he is under team control through 2013.  They are essentially stuck floating between trying to contend and trying to rebuild.  If I were Byrnes, I would trade Kelly Johnson, Adam LaRoche and Chris Snyder, if they could net prospects, and hope for a better showing next year without blowing up the core.

Alex Speier talks with Miguel Montero about the trade that almost made him Boston's catcher of the future.  Daniel Bard and Michael Bowden were discussed.  

Speaking of Montero, he and former D-Back Jose Valverde had a classic middle school slapfight over the weekend.  Valverde called Montero a "(bleeping) piece of (bleep)" and Montero called Valverde "dumb."   

"I wouldn’t mind having him on my team, I’d just keep telling him he’s dumb," Montero said.

Arizona offered Valverde a contract to come back this season.  He had this to say about that:

 He said he would have liked to have returned to Arizona, but that the Diamondbacks offered him "something stupid," he said.  "Like $7 million for two years," he said. "I made $8 million last year.  I’m making $14 million for two years (with Detroit)," he said. "And thank god, because that team is in last place."

Transactions:  Traded LF/1B Conor Jackson for RHP Sam Demel.  Called up Demel and optioned RHP Cesar Valdez to AAA Reno.

Injuries:  Brandon Webb had a bullpen session Friday and "felt good" afterwards.  Activated Tony Abreu from the 15-day DL.

Arizona Diamondbacks Injuries


Player Injury Type Injury Date
Kris Benson shoulder 04/29/2010

60 Day DL / Out for the season

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Brandon Webb shoulder 03/26/2010
Leo Rosales foot 04/29/2010


Los Angeles (38-31, 3rd, L4, 2 GB)

Last Week: 3-3.  2-1 @ Reds, 0-3 @ Red Sox.  The Dodgers got swept for their second consecutive weekend.

Divisional Change:  Lost 1.0 game on first place San Diego. Fell to third place, a half game behind San Francisco.

This Week:  3 game road series @ Angels.  3 game home series vs. Yankees.  Clayton Kershaw is this week's two-start pitcher

You Should Know:  Hiroki Kuroda has allowed only two runs in his past 19.0 IP.

News:  Steve Gilbert reports that the Dodgers' biggest goal is to add a pitcher to the rotation by the trade deadline.  The two big names that are known to be on the block are Cliff Lee and Roy Oswalt.  But Dylan Hernandez reported last week that no progress has been made in negotiations for Lee and Ned Colletti is balking at the financial ramifications of adding Oswalt.  Yeah, none of us saw that coming.

Cliff Lee

#36 / Pitcher / Seattle Mariners





Aug 30, 1978

2010 - Cliff Lee 5-3 10 10 3 1 0 0 77.2 66 25 22 2 4 67 2.55 .90

Ken Rosenthal found it important to clarify that the Dodgers would not trade Matt Kemp or James Loney for Roy Oswalt or Cliff Lee.  Um, yeah.  And the Rockies wouldn't trade Troy Tulowitzki for Lee either.  Thanks Ken.

Jon Heyman has some insight on Joe Torre's status as manager for next season.

Peter Gammons tweeted that the Dodgers were one of two teams to agree to take on Manny Ramirez' salary when they acquired him.  However, Boston asked for Andre Ethier in return.  Yeah right.

Transactions:   Placed SS Rafael Furcal on the bereavement list and called up IF Ching-Lung Hu.  Called up RHP Travis Schlichting.  Signed Claudio Vargas and assigned him to AAA Albuquerque.

Injuries:  The Dodgers gained 20% of their rotation back from the disabled list, but put 40% right back this week.  Vicentee Padilla is back on the field, but Chad Billingsley (groin, 6/15) and Carlos Monasterios (finger blood blister, 6/19) are now on the 15-day.

Los Angeles Dodgers Injuries


Player Injury Type Injury Date
Charlie Haeger toe 06/06/2010
Chad Billingsley groin 06/15/2010
Carlos Monasterios fingers 06/19/2010

60 Day DL / Out for the season

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Brad Ausmus back 04/09/2010
Cory Wade shoulder 03/26/2010


San Diego (40-29, 1st, W1)

Last Week: 3-3.   1-2 vs. Blue Jays.  2-1 vs. Orioles.  After hitting just one home run at Coors Field, the Blue Jays hit four at PetCo Park, three by John Buck.  

Divisional Change:  Extended their lead in the division by one half game.  Lead the division for a ridiculous ninth straight Monday.

This Week:  3 game road series @ Rays.  3 game road series @ Marlins.  It's the tour through Florida for San Diego.  After a disappointing week at Petco, it will be interesting to see how the Padres respond.  Fortunately for them, Mat Latos is slated to pitch twice, though they do draw Josh Johnson in the Marlins series.

You Should Know:  It might not seem like the Padres are coming back to earth, but they are.  After a blistering 15-8 April, they posted a respectable 16-12 May and are now an even 9-9 in June.  The fall has been slower than expected, but it is happening and will continue.

News:   The full effect of PetCo Park hasn't ever taken hold mainstream.  Jerry Crasnick points out that the Padres rank near the top in most every traditional statistical pitching category.  For what it is worth, they still have accrued  more WAR on offense than pitching, thanks to a park factor of 86/87 on Baseball Reference, by far the lowest in MLB.

Luke Gregerson

#57 / Pitcher / San Diego Padres





May 14, 1984

2010 - Luke Gregerson 1-2 32 0 0 0 0 1 34.2 14 7 6 1 2 42 1.56 .46

Jed Hoyer is reluctanct to trade pitching depth for offensive help.  Too bad.  I was hoping for a Herrera-Gregerson swap.

Tim Sullivan gives us an idea of what it is like to watch a game with Jed Hoyer.

Oscar Salazar talks about the trade from Baltimore that re-energized his career.

Yorvit Torrealba was suspended three games by MLB for a spat with an umpire.  Fangraphs lent its take on the issue.

Transactions:  None, other than signed draft picks.

Injuries: Chris Young played catch Friday, but there is no timetable for his return.  SS Everth Cabrera (hamstring) will begin a rehab assignment tonight.

San Diego Padres Injuries


Player Injury Type Injury Date
Matt Stairs knee 06/07/2010
Tim Stauffer appendix 05/10/2010
Kyle Blanks elbow 05/18/2010
Everth Cabrera hamstring 05/24/2010

60 Day DL / Out for the season

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Chris Young shoulder 04/07/2010
Matt Antonelli hand 04/30/2010


San Francisco (38-30, 2nd, W1, 1.5 GB)

Last Week: 3-3.  2-1 vs Orioles.  1-2 @ Blue Jays.  Toronto had the Giants on the ropes, but multiple home runs salvaged the weekend series.  

Divisional Change:  Moved ahead of Los Angeles to second place.  Held serve at 1.5 games behind San Diego.

This Week:  3 game road series @ Astros.  3 game home series vs. Red Sox .  Rodrigo Lopez is set up to go twice.

You Should Know:  Bruce Bochy is currently going with a 4-man rotation as much as off days allow, so Tim Lincecum and Barry Zito will each pitch twice this week.  I agree wholeheartedly with this move, as it maximizes the talent on that roster significantly.

News:   As we saw against Toronto, former Rockie-killer Fred Lewis is hitting well in Toronto.

Fred Lewis

#15 / Left Field / Toronto Blue Jays





Dec 09, 1980

2010 - Fred Lewis 54 213 34 61 21 3 4 19 14 59 5 3 .286 .330 .469

Jon Paul Morosi and Ken Rosenthal report that the Giants won't be acquiring Josh Willingham or Nyjer Morgan, as neither will be available.  He suggests another National outfielder could be a fit:  Mitch Maier.  If Freddy Sanchez and Ryan Garko were underwhelming, what do you classify Maier as?
Buster Posey broke into the big leagues with a flash but has cooled rapidly.  After hitting .429 in his first 13 games, he is 2-for-26 in the seven games since.
Good pitching and no run support - that's the Giants.  Barry Zito managed a Hammel last week - a complete game loss.
Lastly, Tim Lincecum has the munchies:

Transactions:  Optioned IF Matt Downs to AAA Fresno.

Injuries:  Activated SS Edgar Renteria from the 15-day DL.

San Francisco Giants Injuries


Player Injury Type Injury Date
Tim Lincecum shoulder 06/19/2010


Player Injury Type Injury Date
Ryan Rohlinger hamstring 05/31/2010
Todd Wellemeyer quadriceps 06/11/2010
Mark DeRosa wrist 05/09/2010

60 Day DL / Out for the season

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Emmanuel Burriss foot 03/26/2010