The National League West got a serious shakeup last week. After a month of struggling, the San Francisco Giants have finally fallen out of first place in the division.
NL West Standings after July 3
|Los Angeles Dodgers||49||39||.557||7-3||--|
|San Francisco Giants||47||38||.553||2-8||0.5|
|San Diego Padres||38||47||.447||6-4||9.5|
What does that mean? Well, there’s still a lot of season remaining, so it could mean any number of things. But for the purposes of today’s NL West Roundup, it means that we’re not starting with the Orange & Black.
First Place: Los Angeles Dodgers
Upcoming Games: 3 at Colorado, 2 at Detroit, 4 vs. San Diego
- They did have a little setback against Cleveland at Dodger Stadium, but Los Angeles is rolling right now. If the Giants don’t turn things around pretty quickly, the Dodgers may well cruise to a second straight division title.
- They’re finally beginning to get consistent production from Adrian Gonzalez.
- While he hasn’t been stealing many bases, Dee Gordon is beginning to show the form that he had at the beginning of the season.
- Even for his own lofty standards, Clayton Kershaw has been incredibly hot, really ever since he returned from injury, but especially in his last three outings.
- Hanley Ramirez is hurt. It may not be a bad injury, but I wouldn’t expect to see much of him until after the All-Star Game.
- Brian Wilson has been horrendous all year, but his last week has been extraordinarily bad. For Giants fans, this is good news but looking deeper than our spite, one of the Dodgers strengths coming into the year was how good their bullpen was. Kenley Jansen has been dominant, but the bridge to him isn’t exactly a smooth one if the starter only goes 6 innings.
Second Place: San Francisco Giants
Upcoming Games: 3 at San Diego, 2 at Oakland/2 vs. Oakland, 3 vs. Arizona
- We’re likely to see Brandon Belt in San Diego. This lineup is scuffling and has no depth right now, so his return is certainly welcome news.
- Gregor Blanco is no longer batting first in the lineup. That’s good, because there is no reason that he should ever be batting at the top of the order. If Angel Pagan misses substantial time and Hunter Pence doesn’t work out, they should try anyone else before going back to Blanco in that spot.
- Tim Lincecum seems to have completely reinvented himself as a starter. It did take a few years and it’s only been a few starts, but he’s been in pretty good form for about a month now.
- They lost 10 games in less than a month’s time.
- Pagan’s injury is getting a little more troublesome. If he really has to miss substantial time, it’s another reason to trade for Daniel Murphy, or a player like him. There’s already a hole at second base, and a better top of the order guy will be necessary, as well.
- This isn’t overlooking the Padres or Diamondbacks, as the Giants aren’t playing well enough to overlook anyone now. But that Oakland series looms large, and the match-up is not a good one for the Giants. Personally, I think the Bay Bridge Series is a bit overrated (as is every Interleague Play series) and I really don’t care if the A’s have bragging rights. Having said that, I do care if the Giants lose 3-4 more games in the standings.
Third Place: San Diego Padres
Upcoming Games: 3 vs. San Francisco, 3 at Colorado, 4 at Los Angeles Dodgers
- The Padres are finally out of fourth place. Catching the Giants seems like a longshot, but it’s not exactly like San Francisco is incapable of blowing a big lead.
- Jesse Hahn is on fire. Tyson Ross is on fire. Odrisamer Despaigne is doing okay for himself in the show. This team can pitch.
- The Padres still leave an awful lot to be desired offensively. They’ve won four in a row, but have done so scoring two, one, eight, and three runs. Eight runs will just about always get it done, but 1-3 per game isn’t going to get many wins.
- It’s not the most inviting schedule coming up. The Giants are unpredictable and Petco Park hasn’t always been their friend, but three in Colorado can put a good dent in the bullpen right before a tough four-gamer in Los Angeles.
Fourth Place: Colorado Rockies
Upcoming Games: 3 vs. Los Angeles Dodgers, 3 vs. San Diego, 3 vs. Minnesota
- He went o-4, but it’s good to see Nolan Arenado back on the field. The Rockies are still the walking wounded, but getting some of the guys healthy is imperative if they’re going to turn things around.
- Carlos Gonzalez might be back within the next week.
- Justin Morneau, Troy Tulowitzki, Drew Stubbs, Josh Rutledge, and DJ LeMahieu are all hitting.
- They’re all hitting, but the team is still losing. Tyler Matzek hasn’t been bad, but the rest of the pitchers have been consistently awful for pretty much the whole year.
- It wasn’t that long ago when the Rockies were battling it out with the Dodgers for second place, hoping for a Giants cold streak to get into contention. They got the cold streak, but have actually dropped a spot in the standings. Not exactly what you want to have happen heading into the second half of the season.
Fifth Place: Arizona Diamondbacks
Upcoming Games: 3 at Atlanta, 3 vs. Miami, 3 at San Francisco
- Mark Trumbo appears set to come back right after the All-Star Break.
- The offense hasn’t exactly been lighting the world on fire, but the Diamondbacks might have found themselves a player in David Peralta.
- Even with good outings recently from Brandon McCarthy and Wade Miley, the pitching staff has been very ordinary all year and hasn’t gotten going with any consistency.
- Other than Peralta, no hitter is doing much for Arizona. Paul Goldscmhidt is still one of the best in the game, but even he’s cooled off pretty significantly.