NL West Rundown: The Division is Heating up as Injuries Take Toll

The Dodgers division lead has completely evaporated along with their offense as they are now tied for first with the San Francisco Giants.

A nine-game road trip started with the Dodgers getting swept by the Oakland Athletics, then proceeded as they lost two of three against the Angels, and then ended yesterday with the team getting swept by the Giants in three games.

Everybody was happy when interleague play ended because of a subpar 6-9 record against competition from the American League. However, it doesn’t matter if they’re playing against the AL or NL when they have failed to score a single run in their last 30 innings.

With the Dodgers and Giants now tied for first in the West, let the season begin. The Dodgers return back to Dodger Stadium tonight for a four-game series against the New York Mets.

San Francisco Giants – 43-33
The Giants are feeling more confident than ever right now, especially as they come off of a sweep against their rivals. It made them feel even better when the struggling Tim Lincecum finished the feat by going seven innings, allowing no runs on four hits, with eight strikeouts.

The Giants offense continues to shock me, as they’re ranked fifth in the National league with a .262 team batting average. They will take on the Cincinnati Reds tonight, beginning a four game series at home over the weekend.

2012 Interleague record: 7-8

Reason to be worried (as a Dodger fan): They just swept the Dodgers and didn’t allow any runs to cross home plate in those three games. (If you’re not worried over this, I’m worried for you)

Reason to be optimistic (as a Dodger fan): I will continue to let this Giants offense prove me wrong, because I honestly don’t think they can hit this well all season long.

Biggest contributor: Buster Posey, hitting .300 with a team leading 10 home runs and 40 RBIs.

Biggest disappointment: Aubrey Huff, (on the 15-day DL) is hitting .155 with one home run and five RBIs in just 32 games.

Biggest surprise: Melky Cabrera, hitting .351 with seven home runs and 38 RBIs.

Arizona Diamondbacks – 37-37
The Dodgers’ struggles have also put the Diamondbacks back in the division race, who are now only 5.0 games back in the division. They just got starting shortstop Stephen Drew back from the DL, but lost starting pitcher Daniel Hudson on the same day, possibly for the rest of the season, with a torn UCL in his right elbow. This team has been hit hard with injuries all season long, yet they still find themselves battling to defend their National League West title. They will send their 1st round draft pick in 2011 (3rd pick overall) Trevor Bauer (out of UCLA) to the mound tonight against the Atlanta Braves, for his major league debut.

2012 Interleague record: 9-6

Reason to be worried (as a Dodger fan): Their offense is ranked seventh in all of baseball with a .264 team batting average.

Reason to be optimistic (as a Dodger fan): Injuries continue to pile up for this team, especially on a pitching staff that has struggled this season with a 4.04 team ERA, which is ranked in the bottom half in all of baseball.

Biggest contributor: Jason Kubel, hitting .293 with a team leading 11 home runs and 47 RBIs.

Biggest disappointment: Chris Young, hitting .225 with six home runs and 17 RBIs.

Biggest surprise: Aaron Hill, hitting .297 with 10 home runs and 35 RBIs.

Colorado Rockies – 28-46
The Rockies are 14.0 games back in the division and have struggled all season long. They are still without their star Troy Tulowitzki (on the 15-day DL), who is the face of the entire franchise. The main issue has been the pitching staff though, which the Rockies have decided to go to a four man starting rotation. If this team got any help at all from their pitching staff, they could easily be in the division race right now. The Rockies will finish a four game series with the Washington Nationals today, and then play host the San Diego Padres in a three game series over the weekend.

2012 Interleague record: 2-13 (Now 6-9 doesn’t sound that bad right?)

Reason to be worried (as a Dodger fan): Even without Tulowitzki at the moment, this offense is scary. They are ranked second in the National league with a .269 team batting average. This offense also ranks first in the National League with 91 home runs.

Reason to be optimistic (as a Dodger fan): The Rockies pitching staff has been an absolute disaster, as they’re currently ranked last in all of baseball with a terrifying 5.43 team ERA. Serious question, could the writers at Dodgers Nation combine for a better ERA? (Only half joking here)

Biggest contributor: Carlos Gonzalez, hitting .333 with a team leading 17 home runs and 54 RBIs.

Biggest disappointment: Their entire pitching staff, seriously. Every pitcher with 10 starts or more does not have an ERA below 5.00.

Biggest surprise: Dexter Fowler, hitting .286 with 10 home runs and 35 RBIs.

San Diego Padres – 27-49
The Padres at 27 wins on the season are in a race of their own, with the Chicago Cubs to see who finishes with the worst record in baseball. I doubt that’s what they’re thinking, but the number 1 pick in the 2013 MLB Draft could definitely be on their mind. This is a team in rebuilding mode and has struggled to score runs all season. They will finish off a four game series with the Houston Astros tonight, and then travel to Colorado to take on the Rockies in a three game series over the weekend.

2012 Interleague record: 8-7

Reason to be worried (as a Dodger fan): The only way I’d maybe have an answer to this question is if Tony Gwynn, Steve Garvey, and Dave Winfield were coming out of retirement to play this season.

Reason to be optimistic (as a Dodger fan): This offense is ranked last in the National league with a .231 team batting average.

Biggest contributor: Chase Headley, hitting .267 with a team leading seven home runs and 37 RBIs.

Biggest disappointment: Cameron Maybin, hitting .198 with three home runs and 22 RBIs.

Biggest surprise: Houston Street has a 1-0 record with a 1.50 ERA, and is 11 for 11 in save opportunities in 18.0 innings pitched.

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