The NL West is the Worse Division in Baseball.....
.....according to media talking heads and just about everyone in the East coast.
The truth of the matter is that the NL West boasts two of the best records in all of baseball with the Dodgers at #1 and the Giants at #6. The division holds five Cy Young winners and a few that have a great chance of winning it this year. The Dodgers, Giants, and Rockies are amongst the league leaders in team and bullpen ERA as well as total strike outs.
Yes I know it and you know it, the NL West is not a home run machine like the AL East, but pitching is what gets you through the playoffs.
Most argue that the reason the Dodgers have had such great success is because they play in the NL West when the truth is that they are above .500 against every division with the exception of the NL Central with a 3-4 record (2-2 CHC/1-2 HOU). Granted this division is top heavy with the Dodgers separating themselves from the rest of the league and the Giants as the current NL Wild Card while the Rockies are just 1.5 games back of the position, both the Giants and Rockies have also had great success outside the NL West. Every other division in baseball has no clear cut team as they are all within five games of each other or just around the .500 mark.
LAD: 47-24 overall 21-14 vs NON NL WEST_ Lead the league in wins
SF: 38-32 overall 19-19 vs NON NL WEST_ Lead the NL Wild Card
COL: 37-34 overall 26-17 vs NON NL WEST_ 1.5 games back of NL Wild Card
"Experts" say the AL East is the premier division holding the Red Sox, Yankees, and Rays but lets face it; the Sox and Yanks are the Sox and Yanks. They have the money to build a team, feed all of Africa, buy Cuba, and bail out our banks, but the Rays of 09' are clearly not the Rays of 08'.
By comparison the strength of schedule for these six teams are as followed:
LAD: .509 at #5
SF: .497 at #19
COL: .508 at #6
BOS: .511 at #3
NYY: .500 at #16
TB: .497 at #18
NOTE: Other NL West or AL East teams in the top 10 SOS are the Padres with a .514 at #2 and the Orioles with an .504 at #10
After the Giants and Rockies started off slow while Tampa and Toronto started off hot, the tables have turned. Toronto is started to fade and with Halladay on DL they will fall 8+ games back in the east and become sellers at the break. Tampa has been hovering around .500 for the last two months and being seven games back things are not looking good. On the flip side, Zito has found his lost form after four years of searching, Colorado has won 16 of 18 including sweeps of STL (four games series in STL) and MIL before coming home and sweeping Seattle and taking two of three from Tampa.
In the run scoring department Tampa, Boston, and New York find themselves at numbers 1-3 in the league. The nearest NL West team are the Rockies at No. 5 with over fifteen runs behind, but when you look at the runs allowed the Dodgers and Giants are the top two teams while the Yanks and Rays find themselves in the bottom ten.
Think what you will but statistics don't lie. The top three in NL West will continue to compete and will probably end up in the NLCS together.
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