Another week of games to look at, with a lot of NL West-NL West action still going down. It's still not leading to a lot of separation in the division- right now we've got two teams tied for first, and two other teams a game and a half back. So the only real shakedown so far is that the Giants are suffering from that same post-World Series funk, apparently. But we'll talk about them later, because here, we start with the best records, which means we look at:
Los Angeles Dodgers
Yeah, the jerks. They're tied with the Padres right now, but technically hold first place on account of having a better winning percentage, having played two fewer games than San Diego. They had a pretty relaxed week since the last time we discussed them, taking Thursday off and then calling out on Monday, too. Slackers. They went 3-2 on the week, sweeping the Rockies over the weekend and then dropping their first two games in San Francisco, leaving them at 9-5 on the season. What a way to make a living.
Their victories against Colorado came on some consistent offense- the Dodgers tended to hit early and often, so they only ever trailed for one inning in the whole series. It also got Clayton Kershaw his first win on the year- yeah, that's right, Kershaw, it took you longer to notch a W than it did for, I don't know... Jake Odorizzi! Yeah, that's what I said, Clayton! How do you feel now?
(Sorry, Jake, I shouldn't have dragged you into this. We cool?)
Anyway, the Dodgers took a day off, went up the coast to San Francisco, and forgot how to play ball, I guess. They hit into four double plays against Tim Lincecum in their first match-up before losing 6-2, and then lost on a walk-off sac fly in Wednesday's game, though that came with some controversy, as the Dodgers felt that Gregor Blanco should have been called out at third due to the Giants third base coach making contact to stop him. Wah wah wah, Dodgers.
LA finishes up their series in San Francisco tomorrow, with ex-DBack Mike Bolsinger taking the mound, and then they'll head down to San Diego for three games before returning home for three against... the Giants again. Come on, guys!
San Diego Padres
Speaking of San Diego and vaguely handwaved segues, they took their show on the road this week, making stops in Chicago and Denver for three games apiece, and came out pretty nicely with a 4-2 record in their outings. They kept up their offensive swing in the Windy City, even though the news of the series was dominated by talk about Kris Bryant and his debut for the Cubs. Their only loss in Chicago came on an extra innings walk-off by the Cubs on Saturday, but the Padres took care of it on Sunday to win 5-2.
(Also, the AP article on Friday's game says "Seeking their first World Series title in 107 years, the Cubs selected Bryant's contract from Triple-A Iowa[.]" Is it really mandatory to mention the Cubs World Series drought all the time? Come on, people.)
The Padres took that momentum with them to the Mile High City, and demonstrated a cold-blooded lack of mercy to start off the series. Jorge de la Rosa was making his first start for the Rockies, and it was... less than ideal. Two innings and nine runs later, he probably wished he was back on the DL, but I'm not sure a bruised ego is enough of an injury for that. The second game started off better for the Rockies, with Colorado holding a 5-2 lead after five innings, but the Padres took the lead with a four run eighth, and the Rockies couldn't take it back. San Diego finally stumbled late in Wednesday's game, though, letting Colorado tie it 4-4 in the eighth, and then giving up a walk-off single to Daniel Descalso to break the Padres win streak.
The Padres play one more game against the Rockies today, before heading home to host the Dodgers and the Houston Astros for three games each.
We've talked about how the Rockies week went through the teams they've faced so far. Their hold on first was a fragile illusion, and it shattered into pieces with a five game skid, narrowly brought to a halt with a win against the Padres- they went from 7-2 to 8-7 since the last time we talked, getting routed by the Dodgers and struggling against the Padres. It might be a good thing that certain substances are legal in Colorado, because they're not getting any joy from their baseball team.
Things are looking pretty dire for the Rockies at the moment, despite their hot start to the season. Their starters are, once again, proving to be a weakness- they're averaging a touch more than five innings a start, and with Jorge de la Rosa's start off the DL turning into a rough equivalent of the Krusty Burglar running into Home Simpson dressed as Krusty, it's looking pretty dire. The bullpen is already looking worn down, Wilin Rosario was sent down to AAA to open up a spot for John Axford to be brought into the roster. So, once again, even if the bats are waking up, the Rockies are looking at another drained pitching rotation.
This is also taking a bit of a toll on the fans, too- but really, this is just an excuse to link to a Purple Row article titled The Colorado Rockies Became Too Difficult To Love. If you're an (extremely) old-timer on the 'Pit, you might recognize the writer- Silverblood was a big presence on Purple Row back in the old frontier days of SBNation, when we generally transmitted comments via telegraph, warned about the dangers of bears assaulting Rockies fans, and kept a vigilant eye out for attacks from GasLampBall. Despite division rivalries, Silverblood was always pretty cool, so at once it's nice to see another post from her, and unfortunate to see how baseball ennui can affect the fans. I wish her luck in her future, and hope that she can find some enthusiasm for baseball again soon.
Colorado will try to tie up their series with the Padres tomorrow, then face the Giants over the weekend, before moving on down to Phoenix for a series with the Diamondbacks.
Sam Francisco Giants
Then at the bottom of the division, we have the Giants. After going 1-3 in their series against the Diamondbacks, they remembered the best way to win games- you score more runs than the other team- and took two games from the Dodgers. It isn't much, but it means they got a 3-3 week. Personally, I'm just going to quote myself here:
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.
Nice prediction, past me! Way to nail it! High fives for everyone working on this roundup! Wooooh!
The early season struggles of the Giants have garnered a lot of worry- or at least that's what ESPN's several pieces on the Giants early struggles have led me to believe. They certainly aren't having any luck on the injury front- Jake Peavy just went to the DL with a back strain, joining Matt Cain, while Hunter Pence isn't recovering as quickly as the team wants. But given that many pre-season reports warned of just this kind of thin starting rotation, it shouldn't come as too much of a surprise. This isn't the Giants of a few years ago, where their pitching staff inspired fear. Their offense is going to have to step up if they think they can be a presence in the division.
After one more game against the Dodgers, San Francisco heads to Denver- a great place to jumpstart an offense, really- before going down to LA to face the Dodgers.
Which takes us through the NL West. Plenty more games to come, and we'll be back next week to almost finish off April. Until then, champagne wishes and caviar dreams.