If you’ve watched the San Francisco Giants over most of the last month, this may be hard to believe, but they are a first place team.
How long will they stay that way? Well, hopefully this week’s NL West Roundup can help answer that question.
First Place: San Francisco Giants
- Record: 46-33 (2 games up)
- Last 10: 3-7
- Upcoming: 3 vs. Cincinnati, 3 vs. St. Louis, 3 at San Diego
- Tim Lincecum threw a no-hitter and he’d actually been throwing the ball a lot better heading into that start. The pitching staff has been poor recently, which is the probably the biggest reason they’ve been losing games. So, even if we can pretty well concede that the Cy Young Award winning version of Lincecum is a thing of the past, it’s nice to know that he’s generally reliable for a quality start.
- At the very least, Adam Duvall didn’t appear overwhelmed by his first career start.
- While his teammates aren’t following suit, Buster Posey is hitting the ball well right now.
- This isn’t that complicated. The Giants are just not a very good team right now. With the injuries to Brandon Belt, Angel Pagan, and on a much less serious scale, Michael Morse, they are continually forced to not only play guys that really shouldn’t even be starters (Gregor Blanco, Tyler Colvin), but they’ve also had to put them in important roles in the lineup.
- A few too many mediocre pitchers have thrown good games against the Giants to be a coincidence. If it happens once, it’s easy to dismiss as someone just having a hot day. If it happens several times over the span of a few weeks, it’s a little tough to ignore the offense they’re having the great games against.
- The second base position remains a huge hole. Some good news comes from Marco Scutaro beginning to rehab, but something needs to be done faster than that. Brandon Hicks and Ehire Adrianza are not good enough to be everyday players and while he’s shown glimpses, Joe Panik seems a little raw to be starting on a team in “win now” mode.
- Matt Cain is not pitching well since his return. Tim Hudson has had two rough outings in a row. In the post Barry Bonds era, this team’s foundation has always been its pitching and while they’re getting no help from a sputtering offense, the guys on the mound need to be a lot better.
Second Place: Los Angeles Dodgers
- Record: 45-36 (2 games back)
- Last 10: 8-2
- Upcoming: 3 vs. St. Louis, 3 vs. Cleveland, 4 at Colorado
- The clearest positive for the Dodgers is how hard it is to find a negative. The offense has been hot over the last few weeks and the pitching is so good that they just beat the Cardinals despite a good game from Adam Wainwright, and didn’t even need Clayton Kershaw or Zack Greinke to do it.
- While his last week hasn’t been great, Matt Kemp has been playing well for most of June. That either gives the Dodgers an extra All-Star caliber player or, if nothing else, a tremendous trade chip.
- Adrian Gonzalez still can’t get it going.
- They’ve gained a lot of ground recently but naturally have done so with a win streak of their own coinciding with a San Francisco losing streak. That’s not a huge negative, but it does mean that the Giants still should be in good if they turn things around relatively quickly.
Third Place: Colorado Rockies
- Record: 35-44 (11 games back)
- Last 10: 1-9
- Upcoming: 3 at Milwaukee, 3 at Washington, 4 vs. Los Angeles Dodgers
- The team has a lot of issues right now, but they are hitting the ball. Troy Tulowitzki, Justin Morneau, Charlie Blackmon, Corey Dickerson, and DJ LeMahieu are all on fire right now.
- That’s really the only positive to speak of for Colorado. The Giants are 3-7 over the last 10 games and have still picked up two games on the Rockies in that stretch. Colorado is nowhere near a playoff spot and with their upcoming schedule, I wouldn’t overlook the possibility of them being in last place in pretty short order.
Fourth Place: San Diego Padres
- Record: 34-45 (12 games back)
- Last 10: 5-5
- Upcoming: 3 vs. Arizona, 3 vs. Cincinnati, 3 vs. San Francisco
- Lincecum’s no-hitter may overshadow this, but they took the series from the Giants — in San Francisco — and it was not a fluke. They did get good pitching performances from Odrisamer Despaigne and Jesse Hahn, but also scored 13 runs over those two games.
- Much like the Rockies, this is pretty simple. The record speaks for itself. Now, a few weeks ago, the Dodgers were only a few games closer to the Giants than the Padres are now, but they still only needed a Giants collapse to get back into the mix. The Padres need the Giants to keep slumping and the Dodgers need to hit the skids. I wouldn’t bet on either, but certainly not both.
- It may not be too serious, but Andrew Cashner returning to the DL is not good news. San Diego is definitely selling right now and they could probably get a lot for Cashner, but that haul goes down if the other team is worried about his health.
Fifth Place: Arizona Diamondbacks
- Record: 33-48 (14 games back)
- Last 10: 4-6
- Upcoming: 3 at San Diego, 3 at Pittsburgh, 3 at Atlanta
- It’s only been a few good starts, but the Diamondbacks might have found a rotation mainstay in Mike Bolsinger, who has an ERA of 2.57 and a WHIP of 0.93 in his last two outings (14 innings).
- They won’t make the playoffs but with the continued slides of the Rockies and Padres, Arizona may well be in third place pretty soon.
- The everyday hitters seem to be in a collective slump right now. As we went over with Cashner, it’s always nice to get the most you can out of a possible trade, so you’d like your potential trade chips to be surging heading into the month before the deadline.
- For a while, it seemed inevitable that the Diamondbacks would get out of the cellar. It still may happen, but they haven’t made significant headway for a few weeks.