Around the National League West

I’m back again to give you the scoop on the National League West Division! The Los Angeles Dodgers remain in first place with a five game lead over their arch-rival, the San Francisco Giants. It gets even better though, the Dodgers are also tied for the best record in the National League at 20-11.

Those last two sentences are something I could get used to writing, so let’s hope this continues. While the Dodgers have been in first place for the majority of the young season, the other teams around the West continue to struggle.

San Francisco Giants (15-16)
The Giants should be grateful that they’re in second place at the moment, considering they’re under .500. San Francisco is off to a rough start in May, losing six out of nine games to start the month, with the injury bug biting them just over a month into the season, possibly already crowning the storyline of the 2012 Giants. If you thought their lineup was weak before, you should see it now. Besides Buster Posey, Brandon Belt, and maybe Melky Cabrera, I’m not sure if Giants fans could name any of the other guys in this lineup.

Reason to be worried (as a Dodger Fan): It’s more than fun to take shots at their lineup; however, their pitching staff is a different story. It isn’t much fun watching the Dodgers go up against a staff with Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Madison Bumgarner, and even Ryan Vogelsong, who beat the Dodgers on Tuesday night. He pitched 7.1 innings, allowing a run on eight hits.

Reason to be optimistic (as a Dodger Fan): This team has lost two of the biggest contributors they have, due to injuries. Their All Star closer Brian Wilson is out for the season (Tommy John surgery), and one of the biggest threats in their lineup Pablo Sandoval, is out for more than a month (surgery on left hand). Not to mention Guillermo Mota‘s 100-game suspension for performance-enhancing drugs.

Biggest contributor: Sandoval (on the DL), leads the team in all categories, hitting .316 with five home runs and 15 RBIs.

Biggest disappointment: Ryan Theriot, who they picked up in the offseason to be their starting second baseman, is hitting .179 with two RBIs.

Biggest surprise: Joaquin Arias, filling in for the injured Sandoval, is hitting .308 with five RBIs in 12 games.

Arizona Diamondbacks (14-18)
The defending National League West Champions have seen better days, as they have lost five games in a row. This team has probably been hit with injuries harder than any other team in the MLB. Starting shortstop Stephen Drew (fractured right ankle), starting pitcher Daniel Hudson (injury to right shoulder), and starting center fielder Chris Young (slight ligament tear in right shoulder) are all on the 15-day DL at the moment.

Reason to be worried (as a Dodger Fan): When healthy, everyone expects this team to be back in the hunt to defend their crown.

Reason to be optimistic (as a Dodger Fan): Their pitching has been knocked around a bit this season, as they are rank 22nd in the MLB with a 4.21 team ERA.

Biggest contributor: Miguel Montero, hitting .277 with two home runs and a team-leading 16 RBIs.

Biggest disappointment: Justin Upton, who is labeled as the franchise player, is hitting .235 with three home runs and nine RBIs.

Biggest surprise: Wade Miley, who has stepped into the starting rotation for the injured Hudson, is 3-1 with a 2.76 ERA this season. He was named the National League Rookie of the Month for April.

Colorado Rockies (13-17)
The Rockies have a lineup with lots of talent, but haven’t been able to put it together this season, at least not yet. They got swept by the Atlanta Braves over the weekend, at home! It only got worse as the Padres recently took two of three from them in a series, in which Troy Tulowitzki injured his left groin. However, Tulowitzki is listed as day-to-day, so Rockies fans can let out a sigh of relief. They will come to Dodger Stadium over the weekend for a three game series.

Reason to be worried (as a Dodger Fan): Its simple, Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez are in their lineup. Gonzalez already showed us what he can do, after hitting two home runs in an 8-5 win over the Dodgers last week.

Reason to be optimistic (as a Dodger Fan): This is a pitching staff that has been roughed up much more than the Diamondbacks have. The Rockies are ranked 28th out of 30 teams in the MLB with a shameful 4.89 team ERA, this should make for a pleasant weekend at Dodger Stadium.

Biggest contributor: Gonzalez, hitting .312 with a team leading 7 home runs and 26 RBIs.

Biggest disappointment: Drew Pomeranz, who was acquired in the Ubaldo Jimenez trade, last year, is 0-2 with a 4.70 ERA in five starts this season.

Biggest surprise: Tyler Colvin, who they traded for in the offseason, is hitting .300 with 2 home runs and 10 RBIs.

San Diego Padres (11-21)
This Padres team owns the worst record in the National League, but they should thank the Minnesota Twins for being (8-22), and saving them from the worst record in the MLB. Although the month of May hasn’t been all that bad, they’ve won two out of three series to start the month.

Reason to be worried (as a Dodger Fan): Believe it or not, but this team actually has one of the better team ERAs in all of baseball, ranked 8th with a 3.33 ERA.

Reason to be optimistic: The Padres are ranked 29th in the MLB with a team batting average of .220. This time they can thank the Oakland A’s who are worst in the MLB (.215) for keeping them out of dead last.

Biggest contributor: Chase Headley, hitting .257 with a team leading four home runs and 16 RBIs.

Biggest disappointment: Cameron Maybin, who the Padres gave a $25 million contract extension to, before the season, is hitting .208 with 1 home run and 9 RBIs.

Biggest surprise: Yonder Alonso, who got off to a slow start this season, is now hitting .292 with 8 RBIs.

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