The Bad: The Dodgers again are patching things
together, with pitchers Kevin Brown down and Darren
Dreifort still out. They're not getting much
production from third or short, either. The thanks go
to Perez and Sasaki.
What's Next: Tracy is a wizard, leading the
Dodgers to a 14-6 record in one-run games. But you
have to wonder how long he and the Dodgers can keep
this going. Especially with the pressure in the most
competitive division in baseball.
The Bad: Rick Helling (7-7. 4.70) has been an
OK No. 3, but it's a dropoff, no question, after that.
The bullpen has been little more than Byung-Hyun Kim
(22 saves) and funky-armed Mike Myers (3.86 ERA in 37
What's Next: The Diamondbacks can hit ... just
not homers (11th in the NL, 25 fewer than
the league-leading Giants). They'd love to get some
more power and pitching this July. The two big guys
(Schilling and Johnson are 1-2 in strikeouts, 186-171)
should keep them in the race regardless.
The Good: Barry Bonds (.345, 27 HRs, 57 RBIs),
when they let him hit (he's on pace to smash his
record of 177 walks in a season), is the most
dangerous slugger in the game, no contest. Jeff Kent,
finally, is coming on, too (.320, 14, 55). Benito
Santiago (.273, 8, 40) is an ageless All-Star. Robb
Nen has 24 saves.
The Bad: Well, shortstop Rich Aurilia was hurt
and missed some 20 games, which has thrown his offense
out of kilter (.259). Reggie Sanders (.253, 10, 50)
has been OK, but not the spark the Giants had hoped
for. The team could use a boost from first base
(J.T. Snow, .229, 3, 33). A dugout shoving match
between Kent and Bonds could be a sign of worse things
down the road. Livan Hernandez is 6-10, with a 4.94
What's Next: This team is too good, too
balanced to go too far away. Manager Dusty Baker
always seems to get the most out of his team. A good
second half by Hernandez would help. Again, the
showdowns with the teams in the West (where the Giants
are 22-16) will be crucial.
The Good: The Rocks had a good burst of wins
(six in a row) once Clint Hurdle took over for Buddy
Bell. The humidor seems to help. They still have guys
like Todd Helton (.346, 16 HRs, 63 RBIs) and Larry
Walker (.350, 20, 67). Unfortunately, they also have
to contend with that pitching, and with Coors Field.
The Bad: It's the same story in Colorado and
all the tweaking won't change it. But, oh, wouldn't
the Rockies love to trade either Mike Hampton (5-9,
6.73 ERA) or Denny Neagle (4-6, 6.06)? They've
already sent Neagle to the pen.
What's Next: There is improvement in Denver.
The Rockies were 6-16 under Bell and are now 36-30
under Hurdle. If they could somehow solve pitching,
especially in Coors Field -- Have they tried the
eephus? -- this team could be respectable. Yeah, it's
a big if.
The Good: Ryan Klesko (.301, 17 HRs, 49 RBIs)
is a dangerous hitter and center fielder Mark Kotsay
can get you (.311), too. The starting pitching is
struggling, but if it can get to the pen, Trevor
Hoffman (20 saves) is always a good bet.
The Bad: Phil Nevin broke his elbow and is out
indefinitely. The ballyhooed Sean Burroughs played 39
games, hit .221 and was sent down. Bubba Trammell
(.227) has been awful in right. The starters' ERA is
an eeeek-inspiring 4.90. Looking for an answer, the
Padres have started nine different pitchers this
What's Next: They are 13-23 vs. the West,
which means if they keep this up they'll lose 100
games before they blink. This is not the Padres' year.
But just wait until that new ballpark arrives, darn