NL West: Five X Factors Who Will Determine the Division

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NL West: Five X Factors Who Will Determine the Division
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images
The Giants and Padres faced off in a week-end series. Their race for the NL-West may go down to the wire.

Had I asked you in April who you saw leading the NL West in mid-August, you'd likely have answered with either the Rockies or the Dodgers. I know I would have.

The Dodgers won the division with the best record in the National League last season, and the Rockies made the playoffs as the NL's wild-card.

Both teams entered the season with young, talented rosters, coming off a highly successful season, and having suffered only minimal offseason losses.

So it made sense to think one of these teams would win the division.

Well, it's mid-August, and the NL West has evolved into a two-team race between the Giants and the Padres.

The Giants aren't exactly a surprise, as they were competitive last year. But the Padres were one of the worst teams in the league in 2009. The two teams met over the weekend, with the Padres winning two out of three to open up a 3.5-game lead.

These teams seem poised to battle it out for the division over the next month and a half. But which players will most impact the result?

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