NL West Roundup: Week Two

Doug Pensinger

I like calling this a round up. It makes it sound like someone is getting lassoed and dragged away - rather like what Don Mattingly did to that Dodgers reliever who walked in two runs after Clayton Kershaw left the game Friday night.

Welcome back to the NL West Roundup, a look at what happened within the division. It's not exactly all the news that's fit to print but just enough to allow a reader to speak with semi-authority when asked how you like the Diamondbacks chances in the West this year. Impress your friends at parties with your insight! (Impressive knowledge not guaranteed, no substitutions, exchanges, or refunds)

The roundup will be presented in order of division standing and this week that means looking down on all the teams below the Diamondbacks (from the lofty height of half a game ahead).

San Francisco Giants

  • Record: 7-4
  • Previous series: STL, COL, CHC
  • Upcoming series: MIL, SD

It was Backward Week in the Bay: Barry Zito has yet to allow a run and the offense scored times. Those 36 runs are four times as many as the nine runs Giants hitters scratched out the first week and funny enough, nine runs is the amount Matt Cain allowed in one no good, very bad inning against the Cardinals. The Giants continue to be the weirdest team in the division. There's no other way to describe a team that allows nine runs in a single inning against their ace while Barry Zito, of all people, currently has a lower ERA than Clayton Kershaw. With the exception of Barry Zito, ERA King, the Giants pitching was very hittable this week, allowing an average of over five runs per game.

For once, the Giants offense is keeping pace with their pitching. This offense is coming by way of Angel Pagan, Pablo Sandoval, and Hunter Pence. Brandon Belt, poised to break out after a hot spring, is struggling mightily. Half of his hits are doubles, which wouldn't be so bad except he only has six total hits. Joining him in the Fewer Hits Than Fingers Club is MVP Buster Posey. Still, the Giants are more than getting it done even if they are winning in ways complete opposite to what's been their usual the past couple years.

Los Angeles Dodgers

  • Record: 6-4
  • Previous series: PIT, SD, ARI
  • Upcoming series: SD, BAL

The Dodgers are the new Giants. Everything starts to make so much sense once you realize that. The Dodgers are the Giants. The pitching was untouchable last week and it's been untouchable out again this week, even if the Diamondbacks did hand Clayton Kershaw a positive ERA. Only three of their pitchers have ERAs over three (the only starting pitcher of the three is Josh Beckett, who I've thought for years has been incredibly overrated - just pointing that out). Things may change with the Dodgers now that they have to replace Greinke in the rotation but so far their staff has been lights out.

Unfortunately for the Dodgers, their lineup is suffering a similar power outage. This is a lineup that strikes fear into the heart of the nobody and if it weren't for them beating up on the Padres (note: they also got beat up by Carlos Quentin) there's a good chance this team would have a losing record. How bad is their hitting? Clayton Kershaw has the fifth best batting average on the team. They have been relying on Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez to carry them and scored an average of just over three runs per game - and that average would be even lower if they hadn't managed to hang six runs on the woeful Pirates. The hitting is just enough to get the win behind their exceptional pitching. The Dodgers are the Giants. LA did sign former Diamondbac Sean Burroughs to a minor league deal this week. Hope it works out for him.

Colorado Rockies

  • Record: 6-4
  • Previous series: SD, SF, SD
  • Upcoming series: NYM, ARI

The Rockies are a feast and famine team. They've scored six or more runs twice this week but were shut out once. Their pitching gave up more than five runs three times this week. And they have the same record as the Dodgers. Basically, the Rockies are a big old ball of crazy benefiting from a schedule that matched them against the Padres a lot. Jhoulys Chacin continued his great start, going 6.2 innings against the Brewers and holding them to just one run. Too bad the bullpen blew it for him and the Brewers walked it off in extras. Speaking of pitching, the Rockies traded for Aaron Harang from the Dodgers, whom they promptly flipped to the Mariners for fringe prospect Steven Hensley, denying the rest of the West from a summer's worth of 'Rockies get harangued' puns.

Offensively, Dexter Fowler continued his hot start and now has six home runs. Troy Tulowitzki kept pace with Fowler (though with fewer home runs) and Todd Helton is still barely useful. Really, besides playing a bit of hot potato with the career of Aaron Harang, the Rockies didn't change much from last week to this one. They're exactly the same as the Dodgers except with more hitting and much worse pitching.

San Diego Padres

  • Record: 2-8
  • Previous series: COL, LAD, COL
  • Upcoming series: LAD, SF

There's really not a lot that needs to be said about the Padres. They were terrible last week and they're just as awful this week. Their pitching was mostly fine, allowing four runs or fewer three times but exploding to the tune of seven or more runs twice. Even if their pitching had a solid three ERA all week, that wouldn't be enough to win when the poor Padres played so often against the superior staffs of LA and San Francisco.

As for the hitting: Cameron Maybin has two hits in 27 at bats. That's something I felt like sharing. Things on the offensive side of the game has been up and down but they've still spent a lot of time playing teams with much better pitching. They've scored anywhere from one to nine runs with Yonder Alsonso, Nick Hundley, and Jedd Gyorko as the standouts. Cody Ransom has been DFAed and Chase Headley received his rehab assignment.

Did you hear about that guy who did that thing?

Carlos Quentin is appealing his eight-game suspension for charging the mound after Zack Greinke hit him with a pitch. Greinke broke his collar bone in the bench-clearer and requires surgery. He could be out eight weeks.

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