Way back when I so aptly previewed the National League West, I predicted that three teams from this division would be contenders and two would make the playoffs. So far, my thoughts about Arizona have proven true: they've got the best record in the majors and are firing on all cylinders. Brandon Webb is 5-0 and fooling hitters everywhere with his sinker. Chris Young, Justin Upton, and Conor Jackson are all mashing the ball as if it were a delicious Yukon Gold potater. The rest of the division, however, is another story entirely. Here are your current NL West standings:
1. Arizona Diamondbacks (15-6, .724)
2. Colorado Rockies (9-12, .429)
2. Los Angeles Dodgers (9-12, .429)
4. San Francisco Giants (9-13, .409)
4. San Diego Padres (9-13, .409)
Least surprising on this list would be the lack of competitiveness from the Giants. While they are barely scraping together three runs scored per game, the pitching staff has suffered injuries and even worse, is suffering Barry Zito. Would the Giants consider giving the lefty with an 0-5 record and a 5.61 ERA a couple weeks to regroup? They did it last year with Matt Cain and it worked out well:
When asked if the Giants might consider doing that with Zito, pitching coach Dave Righetti said, "No, because who the hell is going to pitch? We're not that deep in starting pitching. Noah Lowry is hurting now and we're not that deep in Triple-A. We need (Zito) to pitch."
Yikes. As for the Rockies, their bullpen has been the weakness so far. The Dodgers are simply underperforming where they should be. Their three best starting pitchers (Penny, Lowe and Kuroda) match up well with the Diamondbacks' top three. Also, they're outscoring their opponents across the month but little things like 'batting the aged Nomar Garciaparra third' or 'paying Andruw Jones to play baseball' are hurting the team.
I didn't predict the Padres to do very well, so I'm not going to try and find fault with their poor start. Besides first basegentleman Adrian Gonzalez, there are no hitters on that team that strike fear in the hearts of men. It's a shame; superstar first base prospect Kyle Blanks is ready to play, afro and all.