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NL West report: First place is crowded

A look ahead at the NL West

Welcome to the first NL West report of the 2017 season. Here, we’ll take a peek at the other, less important, teams in the NL West. It’ll give a weekly snapshot of how well the important team is doing. The important team is the Colorado Rockies. This is a Rockies blog.

The Rockies were the only team in the division to begin the year against an out of division foe. The Padres and Dodgers played four games in Los Angeles, and the Giants an Diamondbacks played four in Arizona. So each of those eight other division games was a simultaneous plus and minus for the Rockies.

The Padres this week: 1-3

The Padres might not be good this year, folks. While the rotation appears to be the major culprit, there was only one stinker. It came on Opening Day and courtesy of Jhoulys Chacin, old friend. He allowed nine runs in 313 innings, and the Padres ultimately lost 14-3. Clayton Richard and Trevor Cahill did have nice outings in games two and three. In particular, Richard pitched eight scoreless innings in the Padres’ sole win of the series. In the final game, Jared Weaver tossed five innings and allowed two home runs. Outfielder/catcher/relief pitcher Christian Bethancourt had a terrible outing, walking four batters and allowing three runs in just 13 of an inning.

In all, the Padres pitching woes were on full display in their first series, and they also show up in the teams record thus far.

The Dodgers this week: 3-1

The Dodgers took three out of four against the Padres and outscored them by 17 runs. Kershaw was Kershaw in his start. He struck out more than a batter an inning and walked exactly zero batters per frame. But the star of the series was Yasiel Puig. In four starts, Puig hit .417/.563/1.250 with three home runs. They were hit with authority, too:

Puig’s playing time has been down the past couple of years, and he hasn’t come close to matching his spectacular 2013 debut. He probably won’t do that in 2017 either. But if the Dodgers get a healthier and more productive Puig in their lineup, it’ll deepen their already strong lineup.

The Giants this week: 1-3

The Giants’ pitching staff had a rough week, allowing 26 runs in four games against hte Diamondbacks. Both Madison Bumgarner and Jeff Samardzija lived up to their expectations, but they do have different expectations. Bumgarner struck out 11 in seven innings and also knocked two home runs in the first game of the season. The Giants’ bullpen, also living down to 2016 expectations, lost it in extra innings though. Mark Melancon took the L, but he’ll probably still be alright. Samardzija did his thing by striking out nine batters in 513 innings but also allowing three home runs in those same innings.

Johnny Cueto also had trouble with homers in his game against the Diamondbacks. He allowed two in his five innings in the game that would end up being the Giants’ only win of the series.

The Diamondbacks this week: 3-1

Baseball is a game of debit and credit, and the Giants’ pitching troubles referenced just above were a credit to the Diamondbacks’ offense, which showed up in a big way in the team’s first series of the season. A.J. Pollock reminded everyone just how significant of a player he is. And he did that by reminding how good he really is. Pollock had eight hits in 20 plate appearances, and half of those hits went for extra bases—three doubles and a dinger. Paul Goldschmidt and Jake Lamb each knocked two home runs in the opening series.

A good start from Taijuan Walker, a decent one from Zack Greinke, and a not great for him start based on his track record from Patrick Corbin all serve to highlight that the Diamondbacks are another team to pay attention to in the NL West.

Standings, as of 4/7

Team Record GB Run diff
Team Record GB Run diff
Dodgers 3-1 -- 17
Diamdonbacks 3-1 -- 5
Rockies 3-1 -- -1
Giants 1-3 2 -5
Padres 1-3 2 -17
The week ahead

After the Dodgers play three with the Rockies this weekend, they head east to face the Cubs for a three game set for an early season matchup of what are considered the top teams in the National League. The Giants finish their road trip ringing in the Padres near year with a three game series in San Diego before hosting the Diamondbacks for their own home opener. After the Padres are done with the Giants, they’ll come visit Coors Field on Monday. Before the Dbacks face the Giants, they start their season with some interleague action with their first home series of the year against the American League pennant-defending Cleveland Indians.