It seems like, early in the season and late in the season, you get a lot of time facing off against your division foes to start things off. That's great in September, when you might be jockeying for a playoff spot, but let's be honest here- we just spent a month of Spring Training with these mooks around all the time. How long do we have to wait to see a fresh face on the other side of the diamond?
On the other hand, it makes things a little simpler for me, because I can practically cut my work in half, right? Working hard? More like I'm hardly working, much like our division leaders, the...
Yup, another week of games finds that first place is still Rocky Mountain high, as Colorado goes 4-2 on the week to move to 7-2 on the season. They struggled in their series with the visitors from the Windy City, dropping two games to the Cubs, thanks to the ineffective closing efforts of LaTroy Hawkins. The Rockies, acting with a swift brutality that makes me wonder if they watched Game of Thrones on Sunday night, demoted Hawkins from the role Monday morning. It was set to be a closer by committee situation, but that didn't stick around long. Rafael Betancourt closed out the first game in San Francisco, but they swiftly decided that a save wasn't good enough: Adam Ottavino, fresh off his disappointment that he won't be the villain in the next Spider-Man movie, was taking the closer's role. Helped out by a mindbogglingly amazing catch that may have been one of the greatest of all time- someone tell me if I'm over-selling that, I can't watch the video- the Rockies took the next two games, sweeping the Giants in San Francisco.
Okay, now that I've got all that unimportant baseball stuff out of the way, the truly vital bit: it has come to my attention that today, April 16, 2015, is the 21st anniversary of Dinger's... Well, I could say birth, but I think "springing unto this mortal world with an unholy vigor and the unmistakable smell of brimstone" is more accurate. On this terrifying day, I recommend that no one makes eye contact with Dinger, not state his name aloud or even think to strongly about his presence. We know not what wicked skills he may lay claim to now that he has reached such a venerable age.
Once they make their appropriate blood sacrifices to the Dark One, the Rockies will head down to Los Angeles to face the Dodgers for three games, and then fly home to Denver to take on the Padres for four games, hoping to offer up the spirit of their defeated foes in humility and fear to the one called Dinger for the blessed peace of his eternal slumber.
Los Angeles Dodgers
Speaking of the Dodgers, we did just have Jackie Robinson Day in Major League Baseball, commemorating the legendary player for the Brooklyn Dodgers. Past seasons have had players across the league don Robinson's 42, but this year, entire teams could wear it. Personally- hold on, let me get my grumpy old man hat on- I preferred it when it was an honor only reserved for a few. Though I did like that astronaut Terry Virts wore a Brooklyn Dodgers jersey in orbit with Robinson's number. I think Captain Sisko would approve.
The Dodgers did pretty well for the week, too, going 4-2 to keep the pace on their record, leaving them at 6-3 so far this season. They dropped two games to the Diamondbacks in Chase Field, but recovered by heading home to beat up on the Seattle Mariners for a sweep, though the first two games may have been closer than they liked, taking walk-offs to win the first two games. Their offense has been what's keeping them afloat so far this year: their 43 runs scored is second best in the National League, only beaten by Colorado. But they're not seeing so much luck on the mound: 40 runs allowed is only 4 runs behind Milwaukee's league worst 44.
Meanwhile, Yasiel Puig wants to cut down on his bat flips.
The Dodgers play host to the Rockies for three games, and then head up the coast to San Francisco to take on the Giants for three more.
San Diego Padres
Sitting in third place, a half game back of the Dodgers, San Diego probably had the best week in the division. A 5-2 record clawed their way out of the cellar, putting them at 6-4 on the season. Their only loss in the four game series with San Francisco was in the opening game, where the teams either were equally strong on the mound or equally poor at the plate, needing 12 innings until the Giants scratched out a walk-off run to take the win. But that was the last mercy the Giants would see from San Diego, as the Padres hammered them 17 to 6 over the next three. They took their victories back to San Diego to face the Diamondbacks, and, despite dropping the first game, put together the runs to win the second two from Arizona, partially thanks to some guy hitting a couple of home runs. I don't know who, it probably isn't important. He probably didn't even listen to my mix tape anyway.
Speaking of spurned affections, Jake Peavy apparently was pretty shocked by the Padres off-season moves, making huge, expensive changes to the roster. He talked to the press about how, every year he was with San Diego, "[W]e prayed and wanted nothing more than to happen what just happened this winter. Every offseason, you were wanting to feel like you were going into spring training as a legitimate contender to win the first title this town had ever seen. That was obviously not the case." Of course, Peavy has done better since leaving the Padres than they have, so don't be all bitter because you come back into town and find out your old flame has finally gotten their life together and opened that bar they talked about. Just give them a nod, get back in your Lexus, and go check in to your suite at the Ritz. Or something.
San Diego is likely heading cross country at this very moment (disclaimer: not really) as they head to Chicago to face the Cubs- and I mean it this time, not like last week when I mixed up where the Cubs and Rockies were playing- and then they'll face the Rockies for four games. That one may be in Chicago, too, I'll have to check my notes... Nope, in Denver. I gotta get this straight.
San Francisco Giants
And that brings us to the Giants, who had a truly unimpressive week. After winning the Padres home opener in twelve innings, the Giants then went on to lost their next six games, with that bringing their season record to 3-7, good enough for last place in the division. They did this with an offensive display that might charitably be called anemic, being outscored 27-9 over those six games. They were shut out twice and only managed to score more than two runs once in the span. Obviously, the Giants are really embracing that "we're awful on odd numbered years" thing whole-heartedly. Personally, I encourage them to keep it up for at least the next four games.
Things seem to have been rough for the Giants, and there wasn't much news to keep the fans otherwise entertained- Nate Schierholtz signing for the Hiroshima Carp seems to be about the most exciting twist out there. However, the fine writers over at McCovey Chronicles are keeping their minds focused on the important things, and asking the big question: How unlikable are the new San Diego Padres? I won't give away the answer, but I'll let you know- one of them is very unlikable. And there's dancing numbers.
The Giants will take their six game losing streak with them into a four game set with the Diamondbacks this afternoon, and hopefully we'll add to it. After that, the Dodgers will come to town, and... They can just beat each other back and forth, I don't even care.
Which wraps up our traipsing around the NL West for this week. Until next week, keep watching the DBacks, and remember that, if you aren't sure what feat to take for a character, Improved Initiative is always a good option.