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NL West: A four-team race
Arizona has roared out of its slump, and the Rockies have done their part. With exactly two months left in the regular season, there is a four-team race in the National League West.
The Dodgers, Diamondbacks and Padres are separated by a half-game (or, to be more precise, .005 in winning percentage), with Colorado now a mere 3 1/2 games out of first.
With Matt Holliday, Garret Atkins and Ryan Spilborghs slugging a combined .768 and Aaron Cook setting a franchise record with a 74-pitch complete game, the Rockies just took series from Los Angeles and San Diego to close the gap -- only to be overshadowed by Arizona. The Diamondbacks' 14-0 loss Sunday was fairly digestible considering the eight-game winning streak that preceded it.
Despite losing Randy Johnson for the season, the Diamondbacks have a 3.40 ERA since the All-Star Break. The offense has still had its ups (Chris Snyder, Tony Clark, Conor Jackson, Chris Young, Eric Byrnes) and downs (Orlando Hudson, Mark Reynolds) over the past two weeks, but Arizona has capitalized on the struggles of Los Angeles and San Diego nonetheless. If the regular season ended Sunday, the Diamondbacks would be the NL wild card.
It only gets more interesting with Arizona traveling to San Diego for a three-game series beginning Tuesday.
Chad Billingsley has made eight starts this season for the Dodgers.
Stats in his odd-numbered starts: 25 2/3 innings, 14 hits, four runs, nine walks, 19 strikeouts, 1.40 ERA.
Stats in his even-numbered starts: 18 1/3 innings, 22 hits, 16 runs, 13 walks, 15 strikeouts, 7.86 ERA.
Even with a rainout and a complete game by Billingsley in Houston July 23, the Dodger starting rotation still is suffering, with all five members of the projected rotation in March now injured. Not only are Jason Schmidt, Hong-Chih Kuo and Randy Wolf on the disabled list, but Derek Lowe and Brad Penny both developed ailments that could preclude them from making their next starts.
And now, there are even more troubles for Los Angeles. Jeff Kent, who has reached base in 38 consecutive games -- tops in the majors this season -- strained his left hamstring Sunday and is day-to-day. Kent has a 1.200 OPS in July (30 for 71 with six doubles, five homers and nine walks).
San Diego scored 2.5 percent of its runs this season in the first inning of Sunday's game at Houston. The Padres had four walks, four singles, two doubles and two home runs before Josh Bard grounded into a force play to end the inning.
Labels: NL West
posted by SI.com | View comments |
Giants need to get A-Rod next year...the young starting pitching will be there. Go get a closer and the 30 million per year man to bat 4th.
Unfortunately for the Dodgers, it's not just starting pitching that is on the ropes. The bullpen has really been hurting as well. Saito has been having problems with old nerve damage from earlier in his career, Broxton has not had the same juice on his fastball recently, and past those two the Dodger bullpen is a mish-mash of veterans getting past their prime (Saenez, Roberto Hernandez) and young, unproven guys such as D.J. Houlton and Eric Stultz. Guys pulled out of the bullpen, such as Mark Hendrickson and Brett Tomko just don't have the tools to be starting pitchers. This seems to be the Dodger curse over the last few years: they can't get the hitting and the pitching whole, healthy, and performing at the same time.
I had an uncle, multi-talented, a
technical-books editor for AT&T. We always got along really well.
I'm about forty, he's about sixty, I'm visiting from the Midwest, and he asks me to look at some short stories he's working on. The family loves his poetry (me included), likes his oils (me included), and he plays a fairly nice ragtime by ear.
Talents, I learn as I go along, are generally very narrowly granted, often more narrowly received and exercised. The genuinely talented poet, the fairly talented oilist, the good-beat ragtime guy, was clueless in prose. And that, I think, is kind. I tried to tell him, in terms as gentle I could find (I never ripped about a dozen genuine jerks on your site, some of whom I remember when I used to participate more fully (before your coward's turn on quotes) got on my case to a faretheewell, 'cause I assessed that ripping them would do more harm to them than good, and rippin' is no temptation in that case). Stick with the poetry, it's genuine and fine. Paint more. This is not your bailiwick. It probably isn't mine either, but I at least know who might travel well in it.
I did it because I liked and respected him, and wanted to save him further embarrassment - a kind not unlike the kind Paulie Z referred to in his Walsh column today.
Coupla hours, and, for him, a snootful later, he came alongside and tried to coldcock me. I put him on the floor as gently as possible, then left, and have never seen him again.
Turns out, at least in places, he had a very shallow soul. Sad to discover that, especially in one so genuinely blessed (nice wife, adoring kids).
Before I finish, let me share an aphorism: y'learn far more from your enemies than your friends. You have chosen me one.
And just as with my uncle, there is no joy in this (a little satisfaction you're finally unmasked, but nothing close to joy, or any good feeling, even closer to the truth, now),
but the hope you might embrace what has so far eluded you, because, like my uncle, you have some fine stuff.
You've grown up in a fairly shallow culture; it has marked you and most of the folks you speak with; you have immense difficulty getting past it. And that difficulty keeps you small and sad.
I don't think you'll want to respond. In any case, you lost that honor earlier. Mister Bojangles
Good thing there is comment moderation so nonsensical personal attacks are allowed.
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)