The last week was not a good one for the San Francisco Giants. Actually, if it wasn’t for a freak play on Wednesday, it’s very possible that the week could have been a worst case scenario, with the Dodgers winning all of their games and the Giants losing them.
They did pull one victory out but after one week of starting with the Giants, but the standings don’t look so pretty anymore.
NL West Standings after July 31
|Los Angeles Dodgers||62||47||.569||8-2||--|
|San Francisco Giants||58||50||.537||4-6||3.5|
|San Diego Padres||48||60||.444||5-5||13.5|
Because of that, we start with the Dodgers heading into August.
First Place: Los Angeles Dodgers
Upcoming Series: 3 vs. Chicago Cubs, 2 vs. Los Angeles Angels/2 at Los Angeles Angels, 3 at Milwaukee
- They’re on a six-game winning streak, including all three against the Giants. Yes, Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke help matters, and four of those six games were started by those two. But a six-game winning streak is a full turn through the rotation. Also, while they may not be the best teams in the league, the six were against the Giants and Braves, who both have winning records.
- Aside from the pitching, the biggest positive is the possible reemergence of Matt Kemp, who’s starting to show the elite form that’s been missing for two years.
- Right now, there’s only one real negative to speak of with the Dodgers. They’ve been red hot recently and the Giants have been really cold. Now, if that continues, this divisional race could well be over in a matter of a few weeks. But if you subscribe to the notion that things eventually even out, then things will eventually start turning San Francisco’s way. If that happens, 3.5 games can be made up pretty quickly.
Second Place: San Francisco Giants
Upcoming Series: 4 at New York Mets, 3 at Milwaukee, 3 at Kansas City
- Entering August a few games back is not all bad. Trades can still happen, the players involve just need to clear waivers. In that situation, a team with a weaker record has a chance to block a trade, which is how the Giants landed Cody Ross in 2010. As long as the Giants are reasonably close, being able to block potential moves by the Dodgers and or any Wild Card foes is not all bad.
- The return of Matt Cain is still a mystery, but the news seems to be good there, but the Giants don’t seem far from getting Brandon Belt and Angel Pagan back in the lineup.
- No trades. Even when the Giants had the best record in baseball, they had a gaping hole at second base and very little depth. Today, they still have a gaping hole at second base and very little depth. The returns of Angel Pagan and Brandon Belt will be helpful, but let’s put this into some perspective. Angel Pagan is not Rickey Henderson. Brandon Belt is not Lou Gehrig. Expecting too much from them will leave us fans very disappointed.
- Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw vs. the Giants: 16 IP, 7 H, 2 BB, 0 ER’s 17 K’s. Okay, but those are two of the best pitchers in the game. If you’re a fan of very cheap excuses, you could even point out that the travel oddities might have had something to do with that game. Now, Vance Worley and Francisco Liriano vs. the Giants: 16 IP, 8 H, 2 BB, 1 ER, 14 K’s. Travel wasn’t an issue there (it’s a lame excuse anyway) and with all due respect to Worley and Liriano, they aren’t two of the game’s best pitchers. Yet, they found a way to be nearly as dominant as the Dodgers duo. It’s not just the pitchers, folks.
- At the end of play on June 8, the Giants record was at 42-21. Their current record is 58-50, which means they’ve been 16-29 since. We’re not that far from saying that they’ve been bad for as long as they were good.
- In hindsight, the 2013 season just looks like it was lost from Day 1, that’s just not quite accurate. They were a very solid 23-15 at one point last year, yet finished 76-86. I doubt they’ll finish that low this year, but things are not looking good. That means that they’re not that far from completely collapsing in two consecutive seasons. That reflects as much on Brian Sabean, Bruce Bochy, and everyone else on the Giants as much as the World Series wins in 2010 and 2012 do.
Third Place: San Diego Padres
Upcoming Series: 3 vs. Atlanta, 2 at Minnesota, 3 at Pittsburgh
- The Padres kept most of their team together after trading away Huston Street and Chase Headley. It won’t get them to October, but it should keep them competitive with the rest of the NL West (excluding the top-two teams) for the rest of the season.
- After a great start to the year, Odrisamer Despaigne has had two rough starts in a row. His Minor League numbers weren’t great but his start in the majors gave some reason to think the Padres might have something. Now, it’s at least still up in the air.
Fourth Place: Arizona Diamondbacks
Upcoming Series: 3 vs. Pittsburgh, 3 vs. Kansas City, 3 vs. Colorado
- Chase Anderson is providing a nice spark to the rotation. He’s thrown three quality starts in a row with a 1.89 ERA and 1.16 WHIP.
- Paul Goldschmidt has had a rough week. Mark Trumbo is still not doing much. With Gerardo Parra and Martin Prado now gone, the remainder of the season will feature a lot of auditioning for the future. Long term, that’s a good thing. Short term, it could lead to some rough baseball for the rest of 2014.
Fifth Place: Colorado Rockies
Upcoming Series: 3 at Detroit, 3 vs. Chicago Cubs, 3 at Arizona
- Charlie Blackmon is going from a guy that had a hot start to just a good player. He’s far from a baby at 28, but the Rockies have a lot of potential uncertainty in their future lineups. Having another solid piece will give them more flexibility.
- He wasn’t traded at the deadline, but it’s looking very possible that Troy Tulowitzki will be moved in the off-season. He’s already hurt and if he is moved, Rockies fans only have a limited time to see one of the best players in franchise history.