When A.J. Preller was hired as the general manager of the San Diego Padres, he wasted no time in making a flurry of big moves. One of the biggest was the signing of James Shields to a four-year, $75 million contract. Not only was it one of Preller's biggest moves, it has also been one of his best. Through his first 55 games with the club, Shields has been exactly the rotation anchor that the Padres were looking for.
Shields, who has a reputation as one of the most durable and consistent innings eaters in baseball, has done nothing to alter that reputation in 2015. After putting up a 3.58 ERA across 75⅓ innings in his first 12 starts of the year, he is on pace to throw 222 innings on the season, which would be his ninth year in a row with at least 200 innings pitched. In those 12 starts, Shields has gone at least six innings 11 times, allowed three earned runs or fewer 10 times, and helped the Padres to a 9-3 record. When Shields is not on the hill, the Padres are just 18-25 thus far.
Even more encouraging for Shields and the Padres are the peripherals that suggest he may get even better. His 10.99 K/9, 4.38 K/BB, 3.09 xFIP, 2.88 SIERA, and 14% swinging strike percentage are all the best numbers of his career. If those numbers hold up, it will be good news for the Padres and bad news for their opponents. Speaking of their opponents, let's take a peek at the rest of the NL West from this week.
Arizona Diamondbacks (25-27, 5½ GB)
Disabled list: RHP Bronson Arroyo (60-day, Tommy John surgery), RHP Archie Bradley (15-day, shoulder), RHP Enrique Burgos (15-day, shoulder), LHP Patrick Corbin (60-day, Tommy John surgery), C Tuffy Gosewisch (15-day, torn ACL), RHP David Hernandez (15-day, Tommy John surgery), C Oscar Hernandez (15-day, hand), C Gerald Laird (60-day, back), 3B Jake Lamb (15-day, foot), RHP Matthew Stites (15-day, arm soreness)
Player of the week: Paul Goldschmidt
I really don't want to be boring and just give it to Goldschmidt every week, but when a player puts up a slash line of .500/.656/1.091 and a wRC+ of 338, it's kind of tough to give it to anyone else. Goldy had four doubles and three home runs in just 32 PA this week and his 198 wRC+ on the season is second to only Bryce Harper.
Colorado Rockies (24-28, 6½ GB)
The week that was: It was a good week for the Rockies. They swept three games with the Phillies in Philadelphia and split four at home with the Dodgers.
Disabled list: RHP Tyler Chatwood (60-day, Tommy John surgery). IF Charlie Culberson (60-day, lumbar disc), OF Corey Dickerson (15-day, plantar fasciitis), RHP LaTroy Hawkins (15-day, biceps), RHP Jordan Lyles (15-day, toe surgery), 1B Justin Morneau (15-day, concussion), RHP Adam Ottavino (60-day, Tommy John surgery), LHP Ken Roberts (15-day, elbow)
Player of the week: Troy Tulowitzki
Tulo finally got on track this week, posting a .500/.545/1.150 slash line and a Major League-best 341 wRC+ in 22 PA. The slugging shortstop had four home runs, seven runs scored, and 10 RBI in a week that could very well propel him back to being one of the league's top hitters.
Los Angeles Dodgers (31-22, 0 GB)
The week that was: Los Angeles dropped two of three on the road against the Cardinals and split four with the Rockies at Coors Field.
Upcoming schedule: Now, the division leaders come home for four more with the Cardinals, followed by a three-game set with the Diamondbacks.
Disabled list: RHP Pedro Baez (15-day, pectoral strain), RHP Brandon Beachy (60-day, Tommy John surgery), OF Carl Crawford (60-day, oblique), RHP Brandon League (60-day, shoulder), RHP Brandon McCarthy (60-day, Tommy John surgery), RHP Joel Peralta (15-day, neck), OF Yasiel Puig (15-day, hamstring), LHP Paco Rodriguez (15-day, elbow), LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu (60-day, shoulder), OF Scott Van Slyke (15-day, back)
Player of the week: Joc Pederson
Pederson continued to showcase his power stroke this week as he hit five home runs, including a 480-foot blast that is the longest in the Major Leagues so far in 2015. All the hype thus far has surrounded Kris Bryant of the Chicago Cubs, but right now Pederson is the best rookie in the NL.
San Diego Padres (27-28, 5 GB)
The week that was: The Padres continued to hover around .500 as they split four at home with the Pittsburgh Pirates, then took two out of three at home against the Mets.
Upcoming schedule: It's out on the road next week for San Diego as they look to gain some traction. They'll play three with the Reds in Cincinnati and four in Atlanta against the Braves.
Disabled list: C Tim Federowicz (60-day, back), RHP Josh Johnson (15-day, Tommy John surgery), LHP Cory Luebke (60-day, Tommy John surgery), RHP Brandon Morrow (15-day, shoulder), OF Wil Myers (15-day, wrist) OF Melvin Upton (15-day, foot)
Player of the week: James Shields
Shields continued the strong start to his Padres career this week, putting up a 2.77 ERA across 13 innings in two Padres wins. The veteran right-hander allowed 12 hits, walked four, and struck out 10.
San Francisco Giants (30-25, 2 GB)
The week that was: After winning their first two games this week at home against the Braves, the Giants stumbled to five consecutive home losses. Two came at the hands at the Braves with three more coming against the Pirates.
Upcoming schedule: San Francisco looks to right the ship as they travel to Philadelphia for three with the reeling Phillies. Then, the club heads to New York for three more with the Mets.
Disabled list: RHP Matt Cain (15-day, flexor tendon), RHP Jake Peavy (15-day, back)
Player of the week: Tim Hudson
Even at 40 years old, Hudson continues to churn out quality innings. This week, he posted a 1.93 ERA in two starts that spanned 14 innings while allowing just 12 hits and just one walk to his 10 strikeouts.