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NL West Report: Three-team race developing for division crown, Kershaw returns

The Giants, Rockies and Dodgers are starting to pull away from the other two teams in the NL West and look to be the three teams that will have a say in who takes home the division in 2014.

Greg Fiume

A gap is opening in the NL West now, as four games separate the third-place Dodgers from the fourth-place Padres. In third, Los Angeles is just two and a half games behind the division-leading Giants, with the Rockies sitting in second, a game behind San Francisco. After a rough week, the Padres are now six and a half games off the top of the division, with the straggling Diamondbacks now 10.5 games behind San Francisco.

However, the dynamic of the division race changed on Tuesday with Clayton Kershaw's return to the mound for the Dodgers. The return of the division's best pitcher will certainly give third-place LA a big boost in their pursuit of the NL West title. Here is how things for all five teams entering Wednesday:

Arizona Diamondbacks (12-24, 10.5 GB)

The Week that Was: The Diamondbacks started to get some sea legs this week, winning four of six games. They nabbed the series finale at home against the Rockies before taking two of three against the Padres at Petco Park and splitting the first two of a series against the Brewers in Milwaukee.

The Week to Come: Arizona closes the series against the Brewers today before traveling to the south side of Chicago to face the White Sox in a three-game weekend series. They will then return home to face the Washington Nationals at Chase Field.

Disabled List: LHP Matt Reynolds (15-day, torn UCL), RHP Daniel Hudson (15-day, torn UCL), RHP David Hernandez (60-day, torn UCL), LHP Patrick Corbin (60-day, torn UCL), OF Mark Trumbo (15-day, foot), RHP J.J. Putz (15-day, forearm)

By the Numbers: 3.32
Arizona's pitching staff is sporting a 3.32 ERA through the first week of May, almost two runs better than the 5.11 mark they posted in April. Granted, they've played three of their five May games in Petco against the Padres, but there are signs of progress from the D'Backs' arms.

Colorado Rockies (21-14, 1 GB)

The Week that Was: Colorado dropped a game in Chase Field against the Diamondbacks before returning to the friendly confines of Coors Field to take three of four games from the visiting Mets and a pair of interleague contests from Texas in which they outscored the Rangers, 20-3.

The Week to Come: The Rockies kick off a seven-game road trip tonight with a return trip to Texas for a pair of games. They will then head to Cincinnati to face the Reds over the weekend before more interleague play in the form of a two-game set in Kansas City.

Disabled List: LHP Brett Anderson (60-day, finger), RHP Tyler Chatwood (60-day, elbow), OF Michael Cuddyer (15-day, hamstring), C Wilin Rosario (15-day, illness), IF Josh Rutledge (15-day, illness)

By the Numbers: .895
That is Troy Tulowitzki's OPS in road games this season. Say what you will about his numbers at Coors Field, and they are mind-boggling, but his OPS at sea level is right in line with what guys like Yasiel Puig, Carlos Gomez and Mike Napoli have been doing this season.

Los Angeles Dodgers (19-15, 2.5 GB)

The Week that Was: The Dodgers had a busy week this week, playing eight games, all on the road. They swept a three-game series in Minnesota before heading to Miami and dropping two of three to the Marlins and split the first two games of a series against the Nationals in the nation's capital.

The Week to Come: The Dodgers close their road trip today in Washington against Stephen Strasburg and the Nationals before returning to Dodger Stadium for a seven-game homestand against the Giants and Marlins.

Disabled List: RHP Chad Billingsley (15-day, torn UCL), LHP Scott Elbert (60-day, torn UCL), C A.J. Ellis (15-day, knee), LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu (15-day, shoulder)

By the Numbers: 13 2/3
The Dodgers are very much in the hunt despite Clayton Kershaw having made just two starts and thrown just 13 2/3 innings this season. The reigning NL Cy Young Award winner has allowed just one run in those innings on 14 hits with a walk and 16 strikeouts. His return makes the already loaded Dodgers just that much more dangerous in the NL West race.

San Diego Padres (15-19, 6.5 GB)

The Week that Was: San Diego lost three games on the division lead with a 2-4 week this week. The Padres dropped the series finale against San Francisco a week ago before returning to San Diego and dropping two of three to Arizona and splitting the first two of a three-game series against the Royals.

The Week to Come: The Padres finish their series against Kansas City today before hosting the Marlins for four games to finish off their homestand. They will then hit the road, traveling to Cincinnati to face the Reds for three games.

Disabled List: 3B Chase Headley (15-day, calf), RHP Josh Johnson (15-day, forearm), RHP Casey Kelly (15-day, torn UCL), LHP Cory Luebke (60-day, torn UCL), OF Carlos Quentin (15-day, knee), RHP Joe Wieland (15-day, elbow)

By the Numbers: 2.7
The Padres are averaging just 2.7 runs per game this season, scoring just 91 times in 34 contests in 2014, good for last in the league by a fair margin. The 29th place Braves have scored 104 runs in 32 games, good for 3.3 runs per game, while the league leaders in scoring, the Rockies, have scored 206 runs in 35 games, or 5.9 runs per game. Yes, San Diego's offense is bad.

San Francisco Giants (21-12, 0 GB)

The Week that Was: The Giants took the final game of their series against the Padres at AT&T Park before heading to Atlanta and sweeping the Braves, holding Atlanta to exactly one run in each of the three games. They then split their first two games against the Pirates in Pittsburgh.

The Week to Come: After closing their series in Pittsburgh today, the Giants will travel to Los Angeles for four games against the rival Dodgers before returning home for another three-game series against the Braves.

Disabled List: LHP David Huff (15-day, quad), 2B Marco Scutaro (15-day, back), RHP Matt Cain (15-day, finger)

By the Numbers: 3
Giants starter Tim Hudson has walked just three batters in 54 1/3 innings pitched in 2014. The 38-year-old has never walked many batters, with just 2.66 BB/9 in his career, but has been outstanding at not issuing free passes this season, which helped keep his ERA down to 1.99 and WHIP at 0.74.