Reasons the NL West May Be the Giants' to Lose.
We’ve just about reached the All-Star Break and the battle for National League West is neck-and-neck. The Los Angeles Dodgers currently hold first place in the division but the San Francisco Giants are only a half-game back.
Despite being in second place, the Giants have a great chance at taking the title at the end of the season because of good pitching and timely hitting. Three teams are still in the race for the division title, and even though the Giants aren’t currently in the lead, it may be theirs to lose.
Rockies: Pitching Woes
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The Colorado Rockies are at the bottom of the National League West, 15 games behind the Los Angeles Dodgers. Colorado’s issues can be attributed to their major lack of pitching. They rank dead last in ERA, quality starts and batting average against, and have allowed the most earned runs in Major League Baseball.
The Rockies have gone to a four man rotation with a pitch count and added reliance on the bullpen. The promise of Drew Pomeranz may help Colorado improve their situation, but they’ll probably be waiting until next year to make the postseason.
Padres: New Ownership Soon, Multiple Issues
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The San Diego Padres join the Rockies at the bottom of their division. Before dropping Friday’s game against the Reds, San Diego was on a six game win streak. They’re still 13 games back in the standings and likely won’t be making a playoff appearance, but they have been playing better baseball as of late.
The O’Malley group was selected to buy the Padres, who may have some interesting pieces available at the trade deadline. The future of the Padres is interesting, but this season isn’t looking too good.
Diamondbacks: Pitching, Team Chemistry
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The Diamondbacks are another team with pitching woes this season. Trevor Bauer hasn’t helped yet, and is still working out issues with Miguel Montero. Still Arizona may not be looking for pitching depth. They have other needs at third base. Team chemistry isn't the same that it was last season either.
The team could be stronger by the time they return after the All-Star break, so it will be interesting to see how they improve over the rest of the season. Arizona is still in the division race but it will take healthy pitching, improved team chemistry, and a few upgrades elsewhere.
Dodgers: Pitching, Waiting for Their Offensive Upgrade
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Despite pitching issues and injury problems, the Los Angeles Dodgers have held on to the lead in the NL West. When Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier rejoin the lineup, some offensive problems will dissipate, but the Dodgers need to make some changes before the deadline.
Clayton Kershaw has been solid with the exception of Friday’s game against the Diamondbacks. Chris Capuano has been excellent as well, but Los Angeles needs to pick up some more arms and fill some holes before the deadline.
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Pitching has been an integral part to the San Francisco Giants’ success for several years. Matt Cain and his perfect game are highlights of the staff, and Ryan Vogelsong currently leads the National League in ERA.
They do need to lower their road ERA to stay competitive. With other teams struggling to keep a consistent pitching staff, the Giants are quite solid in this field.
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Offensively, the Giants have been getting runners on base consistently, ranking in the top 10 in both hits and team batting average. On the other hand, they rank near the bottom of the league in home runs, only ahead of the No. 30 ranked Los Angeles Dodgers by one.
The Giants have only been shut out three times this season—twice by the Rangers and most recently by the Angels. They’ve been able to put runs on the board, which is even better when you have the pitching staff in San Francisco.
Giants: Tim Lincecum
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Most of the pitching staff has been excellent this season, but Tim Lincecum is not in that category so far. At 3-9 with over an ERA over 6.00, struggling is an understatement. Manager Bruce Bochy said he’d be rearranging the rotation after the break, and chances are Lincecum will no longer head the staff.
If he can turn himself around, or at least sort out some of his issues, he would be huge in the Giants snagging the division title. If not, the rest of the staff will have to continue making up for his losses.