Bob Stanton-USA TODAY Sports
It’s no secret that the San Francisco Giants haven’t been playing good baseball as of late.
Still, they are in first place in the division. So let’s have a little closer at the positives and negatives of the Giants and everyone else in the division.
Note: All records are current through the games on Thursday, June 19.
First Place: San Francisco Giants
- Record: 43-29 (4 games up)
- Last 10: 2-8
- Upcoming: 3 at Arizona, 3 vs. San Diego, 4 vs. Cincinnati
- Buster Posey and Tim Lincecum are both beginning to perform a little more consistently.
- The last few weeks have been rough. The Giants have won one game since sweeping the Mets, so the positives are a little tough to find at this point. Still, the main one is simple. If you had polled every Giants player, coach, and fan at the beginning of the year and asked if they would take this record and lead this deep in the year, you could probably count the people that would have said no on one hand. It’s been a rough stretch, but they’re still completely in control of things. I’ve needed to remind myself of that a few times over the last week, but it’s absolutely true.
- As far as specific numbers go, playing .500 from this point on gets the Giants to 88 wins. If they win 50 more games, that’s a .556 winning percentage 93 wins. That is one more win than the Giants and Dodgers had in their division winning seasons of 2010 and 2013, and only one fewer than what the Diamondbacks and Dodgers won the division with in 2011 and 2012. Even with the recent slide, they’re winning percentage is at .597 and even the .556 winning percentage is actually below their full season totals in both 2010 and 2012.
- Getting challenged is not necessarily a bad thing. It’s way down the road, but teams that cruise through the regular season often don’t have great playoff success. Also, a tighter division race may put a bit more emphasis on Brian Sabean to add depth to the starting rotation and improve the second base position.
- He pitched well against the Mets in his first start back from the DL, but Matt Cain has pitched poorly in his last two outings.
- We aren’t sure about the severity of the injury, but Angel Pagan is the Giants catalyst. As good as he was on Wednesday, Gregor Blanco is not a suitable replacement on an everyday basis. The Giants need their lead off man back and healthy as soon as possible.
- They blew late leads in all three losses to the Rockies. For a team that’s relied a lot on its bullpen, that’s a really bad sign.
- The Dodgers are getting hot and for really the first time all year are seriously challenging the Giants. The lead is still big but if things don’t change quickly, the NL West race will quickly get significantly more interesting.
Second Place: Los Angeles Dodgers
- Record: 40-34 (4 games back)
- Last 10: 7-3
- Upcoming: 3 at San Diego, 3 at Kansas City, 4 vs. St. Louis
- A case could be made that Clayton Kershaw just had the best game any pitcher has ever had.
- The Dodgers are red-hot, having won three in a row and five of their last six.
- After the Rockies swept the Giants, they had a chance to possibly pass the Dodgers or at least, make the NL West a three-team race. But the Dodgers sweeping the Rockies all but knocks Colorado out of things, as the Dodgers are closer to the Giants than the Rockies are to them. Los Angeles still has an uphill climb to the division title but now, they really only need to worry about the Giants.
- They’ve closed a lot of ground on the Giants but even if the NL West still belongs to San Francisco, Los Angeles is in great position for one of the two Wild Card spots. With their pitching, a long playoff run from a Wild Card spot is not impossible, or even improbable.
- As Everett Cook from the Los Angeles Times said, Hanley Ramirez doesn’t blame the error in Kershaw’s no-hitter on a finger injury, but something definitely didn’t look right there. An error is certainly possible on a play like that and it’s not right to pile on Hanley, but that throw wasn’t close. His injury is at least something to monitor.
- We went over this with the Giants but it’s worth saying again. As good as the Dodgers have been over the last week and as bad as the Giants have been, Los Angeles is still four games back, five in the loss column. Things will normalize a little bit for both of them and when they do, the Giants should still have a nice cushion.
Third Place: Colorado Rockies
- Record: 34-38 (9 games back)
- Last 10: 2-8
- Upcoming: 3 vs. Milwaukee, 3 vs. St. Louis, 4 at Milwaukee
- In addition to stalwart Troy Tulowitzki, Charlie Blackmon and Justin Morneau had great weeks with the bat, even with a no-hitter being tossed against the team. To get into a playoff race, they’ll definitely need to get strong hitting from more than just Tulo, so it’s nice that those two have turned things back towards the positive.
- They didn’t follow it up terribly well (more on that in a moment), but sweeping the Giants in San Francisco is a huge plus for this team. The Rockies don’t usually play well on the road and especially in San Francisco. Winning three games against the division leader is something that can go a long way — especially since all three of those wins could have been losses.
- In his last three outings, Jhoulys Chacin has an ERA of 2.84 with a WHIP of 1.21.
- The sweep of the Giants was followed immediately by getting swept by the Dodgers. That can’t happen. At this point, the Wild Card is a far more realistic goal for the Rockies and in the span of a few weeks, lost five of six games to Los Angeles.
- Even with six of the next ten in Denver, the upcoming schedule provides no breaks.
- Jorge De La Rosa has an ERA of 10.80 and a WHIP of 2.23 in his last three outings. In his last two outings — both on the road and in pitcher’s parks (Los Angeles and San Francisco), he’s recorded an ERA 12.79 and a WHIP of 2.84. Ouch.
Fourth Place: San Diego Padres
- Record: 31-42 (12.5 games back)
- Last 10: 3-7
- Upcoming: 3 vs. Los Angeles Dodgers, 3 at San Francisco, 3 vs. Arizona
- In addition to the good numbers from ace Andrew Cashner, the Padres are getting good pitching from newcomer Jesse Hahn, who’s turned in two quality starts in his last two outings.
- If you’re still thinking about the playoffs, I salute you for your optimism. Still, as improbable as that is, the Dodgers and Giants are the teams they need to beat, so getting them over the next six games is a good thing. Heck, even if one or both teams handle the Padres, then at least they’ll be able to focus on possibly rebuilding and dealing some of their veteran assets.
- They get something of a break in the series vs. the Dodgers and Giants, missing Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, and Madison Bumgarner. Those teams have plenty of good pitchers, but missing them will improve San Diego’s chances.
- I don’t care who your favorite team is, the come-from-behind win in their first home game after the death of Tony Gwynn was a great thing to see.
- The team is in a collective slump. Actually, it’s been going for the whole season so it’s not a slump. The Padres just don’t have any offense to speak of. If they were in the Dodgers position, I wouldn’t like their chances with that offense. Opposing offenses know that if they can scratch even three runs out, they’re likely to win.
- Yonder Alonso is on the DL and it doesn’t seem likely that we’ll see Jedd Gyorko before the All-Star break.
- At best, Ian Kennedy and Tyson Ross have both been inconsistent in their recent outings.
Fifth Place: Arizona Diamondbacks
- Record: 31-45 (14 games back)
- Last 10: 3-7
- Upcoming: 3 vs. San Francisco, 2 vs. Cleveland, 3 at San Diego
- It’s very possible that at this time next week, they’ll have overtaken the Padres for fourth place. In the end, that doesn’t amount to much but avoiding the cellar is always nice.
- Paul Goldschmidt has finally overtaken L.A.’s Adrian Gonzalez in All-Star voting. That’s good, because anyone who says that Gonzalez is a better player just isn’t paying attention.
- He’s still not showing much power, but Chris Owings has hit the ball really well over the last week.
- They had been playing well, but Arizona has now dropped three straight series.
- As bad as San Diego’s hitting has been, Arizona’s pitching has matched it. Some of that can be attributed to the loss of Patrick Corbin, but this problem goes well beyond one guy. On the bright side, it could be entertaining to watch the Padres hitters face the Arizona pitchers. Kind of the immovable object vs. the unstoppable force, only the complete opposite.