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NL West Report: All Tied Up in Knots

The Rockies are in good position if the NL West ends in a 3-way tie.
The Rockies are in good position if the NL West ends in a 3-way tie.

Yesterday's loss to the Dodgers hurt, but the Rockies are still very much in the wild, wild NL West. The Padres and Giants each have 66 losses, and the Rockies are right behind with 67. In a race that essentially amounts to a "have the least number of losses" contest, the NL West is nearly tied up. This is significant, because Atlanta's 4-2 week has pushed the cumulative odds of the Wild Card coming out of the NL West to around 10%. It's division or bust, and it's a three horse race.

NL West Standings

W L PCT GB Playoff odds
San Francisco 84 66 .560 0 48.02%
San Diego 83 66 .557 0.5 38.36%
Colorado 82 67 .550 1.5 24.34%
Los Angeles 73 77 .486 11 0.000000036%
Arizona 59 91 .393 25 Eliminated

(updated 9.19.2010 at 9:49 PM MDT)

Colorado has 6 of 13 remaining games at home, San Diego has 7 of 13 at home and the Giants have 6 of 12. That's about as even as you can ask for at this point. It may prove difficult for one of these teams, especially the Rockies, to finish ahead of both of the other contenders. So a tie scenario can come into play.

Two-Way Tie

We know what happens in a two-way tie. We've been there, done that. It should be noted though, that the host team is no longer decided by coin flip as of last season. Instead, it is decided by head-to-head record, meaning the Rockies would host the Padres, the Padres would host the Giants, and if the Rockies/Giants have yet to be decided.

If the Rockies win this weekend's series vs. San Francisco, they win the tie-breaker. If the Giants sweep, they win the tiebreaker outright, but if the Giants take 2 of 3 from Colorado, there would be a second tie-breaker - record vs. NL teams This penalizes teams that do well in interleague like the Rockies. Thus, whoever wins this weekend's series wins the right to host a play-in game should a tie atop the division develop between San Francisco and Colorado.

The wild card here is indeed the wild card. If Atlanta or Philadelphia fall apart and finish in a tie atop the wild card standings with two or teams in the NL West who lead the division, the National League will be disbanded. Naw, actually, the NL West would be decided first, then the loser of the NL West play-in game (or 2nd best record of a round robin) would play Atlanta in a play-in game for the wild card. The Braves would host the Giants and Padres for a play-in game but would have to travel to Coors Field to face the Rockies. The Phillies would host the Giants and Rockies but go on the road vs San Diego.

So just for fun, what would happen if the Rockies, Giants and Padres finished the season with a three-way tie?

Three-Way Tie

In past seasons, the Rockies would be in a disadvantage, but it is quite different this season, as record vs. the other two tied teams is a tie-breaker. The Rockies are in the best position by virtue of their 20-13 against the Giants and Padres, which clinches the best record among the three teams against the other two teams. That allows the Rockies the choice to be Team A, Team B or Team C in an altered round robin. They would absolutely not choose Team B, as it is the least leveraged position.

  • Team A: Would host Club B on Monday, October 4, the day after the Rockies close the regular season in St. Louis. If Club A wins, they would host Club C, with the victor being crowned the NL West champion. Objective: Win two home games.
  • Team B: Visits Club A Monday, October 4. If they win, they host a one-game playoff with Club C at home with the division on the line. Objective: Win one road game, then one home game.
  • Team C: Will play one road game against the winner of the October 4 game. Objective: Win one road game.
The Giants have the worst record against the remaining two teams, so they would likely end up as Team B, the most disadvantaged position; they would have to win a road game AND a home game to win the division. If the Braves hold onto the wild card, there's a lot riding on those two games.

So let's imagine the NL West ends in a three-way tie. The Rockies would choose between winning one home game each vs the Padres AND Giants or one road game at AT&T Park or at Petco Park. It is a fascinating scenario. Choose between beating both teams at home, or one team on the road without the power to choose who. Interesting....but not interesting enough....

Four-Way Tie

  • The Rockies would have be swept by Arizona, Los Angeles and St. Louis, while sweeping San Francisco to finish 3-10.
  • The Dodgers would have to sweep San Diego, Colorado and Arizona twice to close out 12-0.
  • The Giants would have to be swept by Colorado, Chicago and Arizona, then win one game in their last three against San Diego to end their season on a 1-11 note.
  • The Padres would need to suffer a second 10-game losing streak by being swept by Chicago, Los Angeles and Cincinnati before forcing a tie by winning 2 of 3 in San Francisco in the season's last series to finish 2-11.
I won't even go into four-team tiebreakers or four team plus wild card since is it essentially impossible to occur. If we assume each game is a coin flip (forcing all teams to be .500 talent, obviously not true), that gives the this 4-way tie scenario a 3.637978807091713x10^(-8) % chance of happening and a 90% chance it will be rendered obsolete tomorrow. So it it likely? No. Fun? Absotively posilutely!

Team capsules after the jump.

NL West Report

All playoff chances are taken from Baseball Prospectus.

Arizona (59-91, 5th, L3, 25 GB)

Last Week: 2-4. 2-2 @ Reds. 0-3 @ Pirates. The Pirates finished off a sweep against Arizona yesterday on "Talk Like a Pirate Day," meaning Arizona will have to go 4-8 the rest of the way to avoid their second 100-loss season. If they go 6-6, they would tie their 1998 expansion team for the second most losses in franchise history.

You Should Know: At the beginning of September, Barry Enright was 6-2 with a 2.45 ERA through twelve starts. He now sits at 6-5 with a 3.87 ERA after allowing 17 ER in just 12.2 ER over his last three starts. He still won't lose his rotation spot, not that there seemed to be any reason to yank a young pitcher under those circumstances.

Divisional Change: Lost 1.5 games in the division.

Playoff Chances: Mathematically eliminated.

This Week: 3 game home series vs. Rockies. 3 game home series vs. Dodgers.

News: Tom Krasovic reports that Arizona hopes to have their next GM named tomorrow. It seems that Kevin Towers is favored at this point. If Towers gets the job, it could be a bitter appointment for both the Dodgers and Padres, according to Ken Rosenthal. He points to prospective Dodgers buyer Dennis Gilbert being a fan of Towers, and you'd be hard-pressed to find a Dodger fan who wouldn't willingly trade Ned Colletti for Kevin Towers. More on that later.

It wouldn't be bad for just the Padres or Dodgers either, as Rosenthal adds interim manager Kirk Gibson to the mix of those who might not want Towers in Arizona. Rosenthal suggests that Padres hitting coach Randy Ready might be added to the list of prospective manager candidates.

Former D-backs manager Bob Melvin will be interviewing to replace Lou Piniella as manager of the Chicago Cubs, according to Tim Kurkjian.

Dan Hudson

#41 / Pitcher / Arizona Diamondbacks





Mar 09, 1987

2010 - Dan Hudson 6-1 10 10 0 0 0 0 71.0 49 13 13 7 14 65 1.65 .89

Jim McLennan analyzes Arizona's young trio in the rotation from three ways, pumping up optimism for a struggling team. Daniel Hudson, Ian Kennedy and Barry Enright could be fixtures in Arizona. Or at least as much as a "fixture" can be these days. McLennan notes that Enright comes with a distinct Yumeiro Petit-type risk.

Speaking of Hudson, reports that Hudson could have been a Brewer if Milwaukee accepted him in a one-for-one trade for Prince Fielder. I'm still not so sure that I would do that now.

Chase Gharrity at Baseball Prospectus uses SABR to explain why Arizona would be wise to add Randy Choate and Carlos Villanueva to their bullpen next season.

Transactions: Called up C Konrad Schmidt, then DFAed and outrighted RHP Cesar Valdez.

Injuries: Justin Upton has sat out four consecutive games and has started just two games since August 30 with lingering shoulder irritation. Brandon Webb is still hoping to return to the big league mound this month.

Arizona Diamondbacks Injuries


Player Injury Type Injury Date
Justin Upton shoulder 09/19/2010

60 Day DL / Out for the season

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Brandon Webb shoulder 03/26/2010

Los Angeles (73-77, 4th, W1, 11.0 GB)

Last Week: 2-5. 1-2 @ Giants. 0-2 vs. Rockies.

Playoff Chances: 0.000000036%

You Should Know: Casey Blake is 3-for-his-last-38 with 20 strikeouts. With all the talk on the failed Dotel trade, some light has been cast on the Blake-for-Carlos Santana deal.

Divisional Change: Lost one game in the division.

This Week: 3 game home series vs. Padres. 3 game road series @ Diamondbacks.

News: In case you didn't hear, Joe Torre has stepped down as manager of the Dodgers. Hitting coach Don Mattingly will be the manager and has a contract through 2013, which qualifies as a bit of an upset, given the prevailing opinion two days prior had Tim Wallach as the favorite. But that just proves the testament of the Dodgers ability to keep this all under wraps, considering that when he was hired as hitting coach before the season, Mattingly signed a contract stating he would be named manager if Torre stepped down. This was set in stone well before the double-mound visit gaffe.

MLB Trade Rumors has multiple reactions to the move, and naturally, TrueBlueLA voiced their opinions. As for Torre, rumors abounded that he might be a fit to manage at Citi Field, but Torre called rumors about the Mets "irresponsible."

In the past, Torre has allowed a player to manage the last game of the season, and he's doubling down with that technique in 2010. Brad Ausmus will manage the second-to-last game of the season, in Los Angeles vs. Arizona, presumably to allow Torre to manage the last game of the season. He will also allow a "younger" player to manage another game in the next two weeks. Given the fact that Ausmus is the oldest player on the team, that doesn't really narrow anything down.

Brad Ausmus

#12 / Catcher / Los Angeles Dodgers





Apr 14, 1969

2010 - Brad Ausmus 20 59 4 12 1 0 0 2 7 15 0 0 .203 .299 .220

Ned Colletti is going to "revamp" the roster this offseason according to Tony Jackson at ESPNLA. MLB beat reporter Ken Gurnick reports Colletti is planning no radical changes. So you know, well, whatever. MLBTR has several links discussing the course of the Dodgers this offseason.

One move that might not end up happening is moving Matt Kemp. Ken Davidoff of Newsday believes Mattingly might reach Kemp better than the 70-year-old Torre.

After his walkoff single yesterday, Rockies fans don't need to be reminded that AJ Ellis is hitting well. Ellis is playing himself into a bigger role in 2011.

MLBTR looks at 35-year-old Hiroki Kuroda as he enters free agency this offseason. It is unlikely he fits into the Dodgers' plans given budget constraints.

On the morning of the Torre announcement, TrueBlueLA examined the public perception of owner Frank McCourt.

Transactions: Traded RHP Octavio Dotel to the Rockies for a PTBNL, probably a low lovel low ceiling type "prospect." Naturally, this means Ned Colletti traded James McDonald, who has been fantastic for Pittsburgh, and top OF prospect Andrew Lambo for 20 IP of Dotel and a PTBNL. This will go as one of the worst trades of the Colletti era, which wasn't surprising when it went down. Dotel slammed it in Dodgerfan's face when he struck out Casey Blake on three fastballs in his Rockies debut yesterday

Injuries: Scott Podsednik is day-to-day and might be out for the season with plantar fasciitis.

Los Angeles Dodgers Injuries


Player Injury Type Injury Date
Travis Schlichting shoulder 08/22/2010

60 Day DL / Out for the season

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Russell Martin shoulder 08/04/2010


San Diego (83-66, 2nd, L1, 0.5 GB Div, 2.5 GB WC)

Last Week: 3-4. 2-1 @ Rockies. 1-3 @ Cardinals. 3-4 just doesn't cut it at this point in the season, even if two came against the team on your heels.

Playoff Chances: 38.36% playoffs (-8.19% Last 7). 34.44% division (+0.39% Last 7). 3.92% wild card (-8.59% last week).

Divisional Change: Fell into second place one half game behind San Francisco.

You Should Know: Mat Latos allowed 26 ER from May 1-Sept 7. In his last two starts, he allowed 13 ER in just 5.1 IP. If you're postulating that strange rest patterns are to blame, both came on 4 days rest. He has pitched on 4 days rest in 15 of 28 starts.

This Week: 3 game road series @ Dodgers. 3 game home series vs. Reds.

News: If you're a transactions nerd (ATTN: WolfMarauder) you'll enjoy this story. On September 1, RHP Cesar Carillo was DFAed by the Padres. Eight days later, the Phillies claimed him off waivers, only to DFA him three days later in favor of SS Brian Bocock. The Padres wasted no time, claiming Carillo back three days later. Then, when needing a roster spot to activate RHP Chris Young from the 60-day DL, the Padres once again DFAed Carillo Saturday. So in little over two weeks, Carillo has been DFAed three times and claimed twice. I think his official photo is fitting.

Cesar Carrillo

#0 / Pitcher / San Diego Padres





Apr 29, 1984

Heath Bell is gaining confidence in his curveball. That's all he needs is more confidence.
Luke Gregerson tied the MLB record for holds, which is noteworthy I guess, but not ultimately telling.
In a span of three pitches, Tim Stauffer was hit by a batted ball twice Thursday.
If you've ever been interested in the intimate inner workings of a MLB trade, check out this detailed log of the Miguel Tejada trade with information directly from Jed Hoyer.

Transactions: DFAed and released RHP Craig Italiano.

Injuries: Activated Tony Gwynn from the 15-day DL. Activated Chris Young from the 60-day DL.

San Diego Padres Injuries


Player Injury Type Injury Date
Kyle Blanks elbow 05/18/2010


San Francisco (84-66, 1st, W1)

Last Week: 3-3. 2-1 @ Dodgers. 1-2 vs. Brewers. Thank you Milwaukee.

Playoff Chances: 48.02% playoffs (-7.58% Last 7). 42.70% (+1.84% Last 7) division, 3.46% wild card (-9.44% Last 7).

You Should Know:

Divisional Change: Took a 0.5 game lead in the division. The Padres and Giants have 66 losses and the Rockies 67, so it is a tenuous lead at best.

This Week: 3 game road series @ Cubs. 3 game road series @ Rockies. The Giants are 39-36 on the road, so they won't be scared by a road trip. But the Cubs and Rockies are a combined 24-8 in September.

News: Pablo Sandoval has regressed heavily this season, and the Giants are wondering what they really have, the All-Star caliber player (and .396 wOBA) of 2009, or the .310 wOBA 2010 player, which is worse than Clint Barmes last year. McCovey Chronicles hashes out the Panda situation, with the community completely split on "benching him" or "playing him."

Pablo Sandoval

#48 / Third Base / San Francisco Giants





Aug 11, 1986

2010 - Pablo Sandoval 141 535 59 141 32 3 12 60 44 78 3 2 .264 .318 .402
Bruce Bochy thinks Andres Torres could return this weekend. He is being too optimistic, in my opinion, but I wouldn't rule out Torres returning in the last week of the season.
On the same day the Rockies' 1st round pick Kyle Parker was busy getting pinned by 300 pound linemen, the Giants' 1st round pick Gary Brown visited the team at AT&T Park.

Transactions: None.

Injuries: No news.

San Francisco Giants Injuries

60 Day DL / Out for the season

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Andres Torres appendix 09/12/2010