It looks like it's going to be a 2 team race in the National League West, unless Colorado goes on a long winning streak. The Giants have the pitching and the experience on their side and that gives them the edge.
We're just past the mid-part of the season and as we leave
the All-Star Break, the National League West Division seems to be playing out
as expected with the San Fransisco Giants on top at 52-40. Can they hold off a
stubborn Arizona Diamondbacks team who is just 3 games behind them for the top
Let's take a look at the teams and we're they currently
sit in the eyes of the MLB odds makers with an estimated 70 games left in the MLB season.
This has been an unpredictable division but Chance Harper
was accurate with his prediction that the San Fransisco Giants would be the
league leaders. As I've said so many times, good pitching wins games. The San
Fransisco Giants team is based around their pitching.
Getting little run support from the offense, the Giants play
very low scoring games and the pitchers need to be nearly perfect everytime
out. San Fransisco is 27th in the league, scoring just 3.61 runs per game. On
the other hand, they're 4th in ERA (3.20), 5th in WHIP (1.23), 1st in K's
(755), and 4th in quality starts (59).
The Giants look to their ace Tim Lincecum to carry the team,
but thus far Lincecum has had a subpar season for his standards., He' 7-7 with
a 3.06 ERA. The lack of run support shows in his record but Lincecum has been
inconsistent. Look for him to have a strong 2nd half. He started to pitch
better towards the break.
Starter Ryan Vogelsong has been one of the unsung
heroes of the staff. Vogelsong is 6-1 with a 2.17 ERA. Opposing hitters are
hitting just .226 off of him. If the Giants can get any type of production
close to that from Vogelsong, they'll be in good shape.
Matt Cain has been another solid contributor at 8-5 with a
3.06 ERA. Expect more of the same from the steady Cain. The Giants are a deep
staff. They also carry Jonathan Sanchez (4-5, 3.81) and Madison Bumgarner (4-9,
3.87). All starters give up 4 runs or less. Sanchez allows just .212 from
opposing hitters while Bumgarner allows a lot of hits, but neither deserves the
records that they have.
There's not much to say about SF's lackluster offense.
They're 23rd in home runs, 27th in runs batted in and 25th in batting average.
The loss of Buster Posey has hurt them but this isn't a good hitting team.
In limited at-bats, Pablo Sandoval leads the Giants with 8
HR, 29 RBI, and a .303 BA. Aubrey Huff also supplies some power at 8 HR, 44
RBI, and .236 BA. Huff hasn't had a good season. While Aaron Rowand, Miguel
Tejada and some other veterans have been disappointing, Nate Schierholtz has
been an asset. His last game going into the all-star break was a 4-4
performance against the Mets. On the season, Schierholtz has 7 HR, 31 RBI, and
Look for the Giants to keep relying on their pitching. It
worked well for them last season.
Bodog currently lists the Giants at -300 to win the NL West,
7/1 to win the NL Pennant, and 16/1 to win the World Series. With a pitching
staff like the Giants have, the defending World Champions look to be a good
At 49-43 and 3 games behind the Giants, the D-Backs are
right where they want to be if they have a good 2nd half to the season. They
don't have a pitching staff like San Fransisco but Arizona has 3 solid starters
in Ian Kennedy (9-3, 3.44), Daniel Hudson (9-5, 3.74), and Joe Saunders (6-7,
3.86). They have a solid bullpen. J.J. Putz has done a good job but is
currently injured. The pitching staff will definitely need the rest of the team
to hit well.
The offense is a run producing machine(7th in runs) that
currently has 5 players in double figures in home runs. This power team is 6th
in home runs and 7th in runs batted in.
Leading the team is Justin Upton with 15 HR, 46 RBI, .293
BA, and 14 SB. Chris Young (16 HR, 50 RBI, 262 BA, 12 SB) and Kelly Johnson (16
HR, 42 RBI, .218 BA) lead the team in home runs. This is a team that's barely
average when it comes to getting on base but the power that they possess makes
up for it.
The D-Backs are currently +300 to win the division, 16/1 odds to
win the NL Pennant, and 35/1 to win the World Series. I don't see this team in
having one legitimate player that they can
truly count on like a C.C. Sabathia. They could possibly overtake the
Giants but I don't see them going much further.
The Colorado Rockies aren't even an average team at 43-48
but the positive for them is one good winning streak could put them in
contention. Is it possible?
Although he's come on strong towards the all-star break,
pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez has been an utter disappointment for the Rockies. Last
season he was 19-8. This season, he's 4-8 with a 4.14 ERA. Look for Jimenez to
have a strong 2nd half. He's been pitching well as of late.
While Jason Hammel has been uninspiring, starter Jhoulys
Chacin has been the backbone of the pitching staff. Although somewhat wild,
Chacin has held opposing hitters to just a mere .201 BA. Chacin is 8-7 with a
3.17 ERA. The Colorado setup men and closer have been strong thus far. Huston
Street has 26 saves (2 blown saves) with a 3.29 ERA. Street gives up hits but
doesn't walk hitters and is averaging almost a strikeout per inning.
I never take Colorado too seriously when it comes to hitting
at home and the altitude but they have a fairly good offense led by Troy
Tulowitzki, Carlos Gonzalez, and veteran Todd Helton. People thought that
Helton's numbers were bloated due to hitting in Colorado but this season, he's
hitting more for average.
Helton leads the team with a .321 BA to go along with
10 HR and 41 RBI. Tulowitzki has been the power, hitting 17 HR, 57 RBI, .268 BA
while Gonzalez is a combination of everything and offers speed with a team
leading 14 stolen bases.
I don't see this team pulling off any miracles due to lack
of depth in the starting pitching. If Jimenez pitches the way that he should,
this is at least a .500 team.
Colorado is 40/1 to win the World Series but I recommend
that MLB bettors don't give it a thought. The pitching can't hold up.
Los Angeles Dodgers
Now here's a disappointing baseball team. Chance Harper
picked them to go 82-80 and he might have a shot if the Dodgers have a strong
2nd half. Los Angeles is currently 10 games below .500 but have won their last
4 games going into the all-star break.
Starter Clayton Kershaw has been masterful, pitching to a
9-4 record with a 3.03 ERA. Kershaw has held opposing hitters to a .215 BA.
He's also has 147 strikeouts in just 130 2/3 innings. Most games that Kershaw
pitches in, tend to have low totals (for obvious reasons).
If you're talking
about lack of run support, Hiroki Kuroda is a prime example. Kuroda is just
6-10 with an ERA of 3.06. Look for Kuroda to keep pitching well and it will be
up to the LA offense to provide some support.
Veteran pitcher Ted Lilly has been a disappointment for the
Dodgers. Lilly is 6-9 with a 4.79 ERA. From watching him pitch, I wouldn't
expect much out of Lilly in the 2nd half. He's been a slightly above average
pitcher for his career but this doesn't seem to be his year.
The Dodgers are 26th in saves and without any
legitimate closer to shut the door, like a Brian Wilson, they're going to
continue to have problems.
Offensively, Matt Kemp has been a superstar this season. He
didn't show it in the home run derby but Kemp has been a producer. He leads the
Dodgers with 22 HR, 67 RBI, .313 BA, 27 SB. Kemp's offense is much needed
because the 2nd highest home run total on the team is Andre Ethier with 9.
Speaking of Ethier, he's been the 2nd option on the Dodgers offensively. He's
had a 30 game hitting streak this season and has 9 HR, 44 RBI, .311 BA. Aside from
the greatness of Kemp and Ethier, Los Angeles is very weak in the hitting
department. Look for Kemp to tail off slightly in the 2nd half and for Ethier
to hit more for power. Don't expect much from anyone else.
I don't see this team going too far. They have pieces to the
puzzle such as Kershaw, Kemp, and Ethier but it's not enough.
The Dodgers are at 200/1 odds at Bodog to win the World
Series and rightfully so. This team isn't going anywhere this season.
San Diego Padres
Finally, we look at the bottom of the division and we find
the San Diego Padres at 40-52. The Padres look good in a lot of statistical
categories except for the most important one, wins. They're 5th in ERA and
saves, 6th in ER allowed, and 2nd in HR allowed. Overall, the Padres are in the
top half of most categories.
Starters Dustin Moseley (2-8, 3.21) and Tim Stauffer (5-6,
2.97) have held the opposition but haven't gotten the run support. For Moseley,
most pitchers and managers would be thrilled with his 3.21 ERA but to carry a
2-8 record is unthinkable.
Former Reds pitcher Aaron Harang is sporting a nice 7-2 with
an ERA of 3.45 but he's good for 6 innings at the most and then the ball has to
be handed over to somebody else. Closer Heath Bell has been nearly perfect,
with 26 saves (only 1 blown save) and an ERA of
2.43. Mike Adams has been simply brilliant this season with 18 holds, a
1.32 ERA, and he's holding opposing batters to just .159 on the season in 41
Offense is the downfall of the Padres. They're at the bottom
of mostly every statistical category. The Pads are 30th in HR, 30th in RBI, 29
in runs, hits, and BA. The offense is killing the team and good pitching
performances are wasted.
Ryan Ludwick leads the team with 11 HR, 55 RBI, and .245 BA.
Chase Headley has had a good season thus far, but that's basically it. If this
team picked up some hitters, they could easily have 10 plus more wins on the
The Padres are 250/1 according to Bodog to win the World
Series but with an offense like that, it's an impossible task.