With the baseball season finally kicking off for real- finally!- we can set back our baseless speculations on what the teams might look like and how they might play, and instead look at actual results! That we can, of course, spend far too much time analyzing and either blow them way out of proportion or dismiss them entirely for not fitting our narrative. Because internet, right? That's right, prescriptive grammarians, it's a preposition now.
Each week, we'll start out with the team currently leading the NL West, and with three games in the books, that brings us to the...
It is true: after an off-season that showed up on numerous "Worst Off-Seasons of 2014" lists, including not really doing anything to improve a pitching rotation that had the worst ERA in baseball last season, the Rockies have come out of the gate with a roar that even Pope Dinger I couldn't put a damper on. Three straight wins to start the season, and the best run differential in the National League have them leaving Milwaukee with a smug smile on their face, and as they head down to the North Side to face the Chicago "We've scored two runs in two games" Cubs, they just might be padding on to those numbers.
What is it that's given the Rockies their hot start? In a word, offense. They shredded the Kyle Lohse on Opening Day, chasing him from the game by the fourth inning as they scored early and often. They weren't any kinder in the second game, knocking six doubles and tying an MLB record for most doubles in the first two games of the season. Yes, someone keeps track of that. It's baseball. Milwaukee gave the Rockies a run in their final game, tying it up with two runs in the bottom of the ninth, but a pinch home run by Wilin Rosario in the tenth sent Brewers fans home to dwell in the misery of cheering for an 0-3 team and still supporting Ryan Braun.
The Rockies head to Chicago for three games, and then fly back across the country to face the Giants in San Francisco next week.
San Francisco Giants
Speaking of the Giants, their 2-1 record puts them in a tie for second place in the division. Since they just earned that record against the Diamondbacks, we're probably pretty familiar with it, but Jim probably wants me to give it a summary anyway.
Despite the Giants rotation being a little bit of uncertainty at the start of the season, they came into Phoenix, rumbled us up, and managed to waltz out of town with a winning record. After all, a few pitching wobbles don't hurt too much when you do things like rack up 37 hits across three games. It was only by the grace of dual three-RBI home runs from Jake Lamb and David Peralta that kept the Giants from notching a win in the second game. That's right, we were only saved by that Jake-Peralta combo.
The Giants will continue their swing of the NL West, heading to San Diego for four games to start the Padres home season- real original, guys- before heading home to take on the Rockies.
Los Angeles Dodgers
The Dodgers are sitting in second place, tied with the Giants at 2-1, but due to an elaborate system I've developed, the Dodgers go after San Francisco, mainly because I hate them. Stick with the NL West Roundup this season to see how my own personal distaste for the rest of our division develops!
The Dodgers started their season at home against the Padres, and then some stuff probably happened, but it's generally been overshadowed in the reports by the fact that Adrian Gonzalez has decided to start the season by hitting every home run possible. Well, maybe just five home runs, including a three homer game off Andrew Cashner in Wednesday's game, which is still a record for the first three games of the season, and was most likely enough to make Padres fans look at Yonder Alonso- yes, that Alonso right over there- and feel a twinge of regret akin to what you feel when you watch that ex you never really got over give their acceptance speech at the Academy Awards, and thanking their current spouse for all the love and support they give, and god is their spouse sitting next to Morgan Freeman, imagine getting to hear those rich, velvety tones making comments about the nominees all night, and he would have loved your line about Quentin Tarantino- oh, god, you never should have left them! *sobs*
Ahem. Sorry. Right, Adrian Gonzalez, tearing up his old team and digging up old heartbreak. The Dodgers could certainly use all the help they could get at the plate, because they managed to give up a lot of runs to the Padres, including a four run ninth inning that let San Diego steal a win in the second game of the series. Even Clayton Kershaw wasn't at his Kershawsiest, giving up three runs in six innings in his start. Fortunately, for DBacks fans, Brandon McCarthy was even less impressive, despite earning a W in his start, giving up four runs in five innings, so we don't have our own heartbreak to wallow in. Yet. It might be coming.
The Dodgers are headed to Phoenix to start a three game set with the DBacks on Friday, and then they'll head back home to play three games against the Mariners, meaning that I, personally, will be spending a lot of time actively wishing them ill for the next week.
San Diego Padres
Which brings us to last place in the division, the Padres. Which, yes, they are 1-2 and tied with the Diamondbacks at that, but remember my formula that put the Dodgers after the Giants? Yes, it's much like that.
As the flip side of the coin to the Dodgers offensive excess in the opening series, so goes the Padres bullpen, mainly. Big signing James Shields performed respectably in his first start in Padres colors, giving up two runs in six innings pitched, and Tyson Ross managed the same in the second game. But Shields was hung out to dry by the 'pen, who gave up four more runs, and Ross was long gone from the game by the time San Diego put up their ninth inning rally to win. Then there's Andrew Cashner, and you remember how his outing went. At least I hope so. I just told you a few paragraphs ago, okay?
The Padres offense, for it part, has been pretty effective, racking up fourteen runs- in familiar names, Justin Upton has a triple and a home run, and is tied for the team lead in RBIs with Matt Kemp, at 3 apiece. Did the Padres just do their signings this year based on players they saw a lot in the seasons before? Derek Norris leads the team with three runs scored, just ahead of Clint Barmes, who has two in only seven at-bats, and all of these players are notable for not playing with the Padres last season. I suspect that the give-away at the first Padres home game will be free "Hello, My Name Is" stickers for the first 25 players out of the clubhouse.
Speaking of which, the Padres head home to start their first home games today against the Giants for a four game set. Another familiar face is set to start for them in Ian Kennedy. After that, they'll just loiter around the stadium for a bit until the Diamondbacks show up, and then probably play some more baseball, I'd presume.
And that takes us around the NL West for this week. Until next time, don't do anything I wouldn't do.