It's been a wild first half, but the San Francisco Giants enter the second half only one game out in the NL West. Photo Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

San Francisco Giants: NL West Roundup Heading into 2nd Half

For the San Francisco Giants and the rest of the NL West, the first half of the 2014 season was an interesting one. While there is still a lot of baseball to play, the division has taken shape as a two-horse race heading into the final 2+ months of the 2014 season.

NL West Standings after All-Star Game

Team
W
L
PCT
Last 10
Games Back
Los Angeles Dodgers5443.5576-4--
San Francisco Giants5243.5475-51
San Diego Padres4154.4323-712
Colorado Rockies4055.4214-613
Arizona Diamondbacks4056.4175-513.5

So, what might the Dodgers, Giants, and the rest of the NL West have in store for the rest of 2014?

 

First Place: Los Angeles Dodgers

Upcoming Series: 3 at St. Louis, 3 at Pittsburgh, 3 at San Francisco

Remaining Divisional Series:  

Los Angeles Dodgers: Remaining vs. NL West

Opponent
Home
Road
Arizona DiamondbacksSeptember 5-7August 26-27
Colorado RockiesSeptember 26-28September 15-17
San Diego PadresAugust 19-21; September 8-10August 29-31
San Francisco GiantsSeptember 12-14July 25-27; September 22-24

The Good:

  1. With Zack Greinke and of course, Clayton Kershaw in the rotation, the rest of the Dodgers pitching staff has a tremendous load off. Even with the injury to Josh Beckett and the occasional inconsistency of Hyun-jin Ryu and Dan Haren, Kershaw and Greinke anchoring things serves a few purposes. One, it keeps the Dodgers from going on long losing streaks. Two, it saves the bullpen, so they’re generally completely well rested when the other guys are going.
  2. They withstood the injury to Hanley Ramirez and he should be good to go for them after the break.

The Bad:

  1. If you think back to the Giants series against the Mets at the beginning of June, remember that it was a sweep for the Giants, but the Mets could have easily won at least two of the three games. As a matter of fact, a better team almost certainly wins that series. The Dodgers recent series against the Padres felt much like that. They won three of four games, but scored four total runs in their three wins. The offense is leaving a lot to be desired right now.
  2. They get no bargains coming out of the break. St. Louis and Pittsburgh are always tough places to play and while the Giants are an unknown at this point, the Dodgers have not played them well this year. Actually, they haven’t won the season series from the Giants since 2009. On the other hand, if the Dodgers can withstand this start of the second half, they’re in great shape. That’s certainly a question mark, though.

 

Second Place: San Francisco Giants

Upcoming Series: 3 at Miami, 4 at Philadelphia, 3 vs. Los Angeles Dodgers

Remaining Divisional Series:

San Francisco Giants: Remaining vs. NL West

Opponent
Home
Road
Arizona DiamondbacksSeptember 9-11September 15-17
Colorado RockiesAugust 25-28September 1-3*
Los Angeles DodgersJuly 25-27; September 22-24September 12-14
San Diego PadresSeptember 25-28September 19-21

*In addition to the three scheduled games, the Giants and Rockies will also finish a postponed game from May.

The Good:

  1. Ryan Vogelsong, Matt Cain, and Tim Lincecum all closed the first half pitching very well. If those three guys are going strong, the pitching staff is lethal and one of the best in the game.
  2. At the very least, the Giants seem to be able to handle some of the weaker teams in the league. Now, they didn’t do well against the A’s and have struggled against opponents like the Reds and Cardinals over the last month, but doing well against the bad teams is a must.

The Bad:

  1. While Vogelsong, Lincecum, and Cain appear to have found their form, neither Madison Bumgarner or Tim Hudson are pitching particularly well right now.
  2. Hunter Pence, Buster Posey, and Pablo Sandoval are hitting. Heck, Bumgarner is even hitting on his days. The rest of the lineup? Not so much. Remember, Panda didn’t start the year well at all. This team was winning at the beginning of the year because guys like Michael Morse, Brandon Crawford, and Brandon Belt were hitting. It seems like we’ll be seeing Angel Pagan sometime soon, but the rest of the bats need to get going.

 

Third Place: San Diego Padres

Upcoming Series: 3 vs. New York Mets, 3 at Chicago Cubs, 4 at Atlanta Braves

Remaining Divisional Series:

San Diego Padres: Remaining vs. NL West

Opponent
Home
Road
Arizona DiamondbacksSeptember 1-4August 22-24; September 12-14
Colorado RockiesAugust 11-13; September 22-24September 5-7
Los Angeles DodgersAugust 29-31August 19-21; September 8-10
San Francisco GiantsSeptember 19-21September 25-28

The Good:

  1. Even with the injury to Andrew Cashner, this pitching staff is absolutely phenomenal. They pitched well enough to sweep the Dodgers in four games. Obviously that didn’t happen and we’ll get to that in a moment, but this team can pitch and that will keep them in nearly every game they play.
  2. Other than Carlos Quentin, just about anyone that the Padres would be looking to trade is playing well right now. Even Will Venable had a strong week. Don’t be surprised to see the Padres get a good haul by the deadline. It won’t help them in 2014, but if they’re smart, they can become more of a force in the next few years.

The Bad:

  1. If it wasn’t apparent before, this team has a serious offensive problem. The Dodgers have an excellent pitching staff, but the Padres allowed the Dodgers to score 2, 3, 1, and 1 run in their four game series, and won a grand total of won game. That can’t happen. The pitching staff is great but this team desperately needs to find some offensive identity. It probably won’t happen in 2014 but going forward, they need some bats.

 

Fourth Place: Colorado Rockies

Upcoming Series: 3 at Pittsburgh, 3 vs. Washington, 3 vs. Pittsburgh

Remaining Divisional Series:

Colorado Rockies: Remaining vs. NL West

Opponent
Home
Road
Arizona DiamondbacksSeptember 18-21August 8-10; August 29-31
Los Angeles DodgersSeptember 15-17September 26-28
San Diego PadresSeptember 5-7August 11-13; September 22-24
San Francisco GiantsSeptember 1-3*August 25-28

*In addition to the three scheduled games, the Giants and Rockies will also finish a postponed game from May.

The Good:

  1. Carlos Gonzalez is back and has hit safely in each of his three games in the lineup.
  2. Charlie Blackmon is returning to the form that we saw at the beginning of the year. If he establishes himself as a solid player, the Rockies offense gets even more lethal in the future.
  3. Troy Tulowitzki hasn’t really cooled down all year. If nothing else, a hot Tulo will be a lot of fun for the Rockies fans to watch.

The Bad:

  1. The pitching staff is always a weakness with the Rockies. Really, the big negative is where they stand. It’s a two-horse race, but the Padres and Diamondbacks have been pretty much out of it all year. For the second year in a row, the Rockies have had a solid opening two months and been out of it by the All-Star break. That’s a sign that it may be time for an organizational change.

 

Fifth Place: Arizona Diamondbacks

Upcoming Series: 3 vs. Chicago Cubs, 3 vs. Detroit, 3 at Philadelphia

Remaining Divisional Series:

Arizona Diamondbacks: Remaining vs. NL West

Opponent
Home
Road
Colorado RockiesAugust 8-10; August 29-31September 18-21
Los Angeles DodgersAugust 26-27September 5-7
San Diego PadresAugust 22-24; September 12-14September 1-4
San Francisco GiantsSeptember 15-17September 9-11

The Good:

  1. If they do decide to make trades, some of their veteran players (Aaron Hill, Martin Prado), their positions and/or versatility should bring the D-Backs a good haul.
  2. While he didn’t have an especially good first series back, Mark Trumbo has returned to the lineup.

The Bad:

  1. This has felt like a lost season for the Diamondbacks, really ever since they opened the season vs. the Dodgers in Australia and lost both games. Aside from Paul Goldschmidt, very little has been working well for them for Arizona aside from a few hitting streaks. If you’ve followed baseball long enough, you no doubt know what it’s like to see your favorite team relegated to spoiler status by season’s end. Well, the Diamondbacks have been there pretty much all year. For the sake of their fans, hopefully the remainder of the season gives them something positive  to look forward to.

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Tags: MLB NL West NL West Roundup San Francisco Giants

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