Keep up with the latest news, notes and developments with Fungoes, a daily journal for all things baseball that will last all season long.
NL West: Streakin'
Colorado has won six in a row. Arizona has won five in a row. San Diego has won six out of seven.
San Francisco would have been undefeated last week if not for the Rockies. The Los Angeles Dodgers took four out of six from the top two teams in the National League Central, and almost had to hide its face in shame.
There might not be a World Series favorite in the bunch, but the NL West will enter June in the midst a hotly contested race, with three teams within a game of each other and on at least a 91-win pace, and two others not exactly going meekly.
The Padres moved into a tie with the Dodgers for first place at 29-21 thanks to a stretch in which it allowed 2.1 runs per game. The Diamondbacks (30-23) took the opposite path to come within a half-game of the leaders, scoring 40 runs in their past five games and 66 in their past 10.
Meanwhile, the Dodgers needed two eighth-inning rallies to avoid getting swept by the Cubs and for the week added three one-run victories to their NL-best 11-4 record in that category. (Right behind them in one-run games is Arizona at 14-6.)
It's that narrow margin of victory with which Los Angeles and Arizona are generally sneaking by that might make San Diego a slim favorite with two-thirds of the season remaining to win the NL West. The Padres are 9-10 in one-run games and 20-11 in all others, suggesting a team that is very rarely out of it on a given night. Of course, the recent resurgence of the Diamondbacks' offense also bodes well for them.
The Dodgers, for their part, still look like they will live and die with their pitching, which nonetheless remains in flux, with Brett Tomko falling out of the starting rotation and Mark Hendrickson perhaps right behind him, while the young Chad Billingsley and Hong-Chih Kuo and the rehabilitating Jason Schmidt work toward replacing them.
With the Dodgers and Padres trading series against the sub-.500 Washington Nationals and Pittsburgh Pirates this week, you might think that the pressure is off, but the likelihood is that every loss will seem like an unfortunate stumble. Arizona started off the week with a bigger test playing the Philadelphia Phillies, but took the first game Monday, 5-4.
On the verge of falling out of the race before sweeping San Francisco last week, Colorado will continue trying to reestablish its relevance. The Rockies (24-27) play series against the NL Central's bottom two teams, St. Louis and Cincinnati, giving the team a good chance of reaching .500 and moving out of the NL West cellar. The Giants (24-25) play the Phillies after a series with the NL’s best, the New York Mets.
The NL West surprised some in 2006 by providing the league’s wild-card team. With a collective 136-117 record, including 42-19 against the NL Central, don’t be surprised if it happens again this year, at the end of a down-to-the-wire pennant race.
Labels: NL West
posted by SI.com | View comments |
AL East blog (Monday)
NL West blog (Monday)
AL Central blog (Tuesday)
NL Central blog (Wednesday)
AL West blog (Thursday)
NL East blog (Thursday)
Wild Card (Friday)