NL West Round-up: Week 7

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We are about a third of the way through the season and the NL West is once again the Giants and Dodgers show. The Dodgers sit 4.5 games out of first place, but also boast the highest run differential in the division. In other words, the offense, although frustrating, is not in bad shape. Fortune should favor the Dodgers soon enough. Until then, let us see how the division did this last week.

Los Angeles Dodgers

The Dodgers opened Week 7 at home against the Reds. The Reds are a poor baseball team. They are a team that anyone in the league should beat. Fortunately, the Dodgers swept them over a three-game series. Following the series, the Dodgers headed to New York to face the Mets. Despite losing the first game, the Dodgers took two of three to win the series against the team that knocked them out of the NLDS last season. Here are the box scores.

H R W/L (Dodgers)
05/23 vs. CIN 5 1 W
05/24 vs. CIN 11 8 W
05/25 vs. CIN 3 3 W
05/27 vs. NYM 8 5 L
05/28 vs. NYM 14 9 W
05/29 vs. NYM 9 4 W

Notable Injuries

Trayce Thompson left the game early on May 28 with lower back soreness. He sat out on May 29. In 116 PA, Thompson is hitting .274/.336/.528 with a .369 wOBA and 135 wRC+. His health is one that needs to be preserved, especially if the NL West becomes a race against a healthy Giants team. Thompson has given the Dodgers much needed depth in the lineup and in the outfield, where they’ve seen their share of injuries with Andre Ethier, Carl Crawford, and Scott Van Slyke. Thompson is expected to return by May 31.

San Francisco Giants

Much like the Dodgers, the Giants made short work of a team anyone in the league should beat – the Padres. Following the sweep, San Francisco headed to Colorado to face the Rockies. Much like the Dodgers, the the Giants dropped the first game to the Rockies but picked up the next two to win the series. Let’s look at the box scores.

H R W/L (Giants)
05/23 vs. SDP 5 1 W
05/24 vs. SDP 9 8 W
05/25 vs. SDP 9 3 W
05/27 vs. COL 7 2 L
05/28 vs. COL 16 10 W
05/29 vs. COL 17 8 W

Notable Injuries

Matt Cain was placed on the 15-day DL on May 28, sidelined with a right hamstring strain. His return is expected in June. Angel Pagan was placed on the 15-day DL on May 24 with a left hamstring strain. His return is expected in June as well. Also notable, but happening after Week 7, Matt Duffy found himself listed day-to-day on the DL with a bruised left wrist suffered after being beaned with a ball on May 30. His return is expected shortly.

Colorado Rockies

I’m always impressed with people that are impressed with the Rockies. They’re like the car that won’t start, ever, yet someone always goes out hoping that, somehow maybe, it will. Out of their last 15 played, including May 30, the Rockies have gone 6-9. Their week started with a loss in Pittsburgh, followed by a three game series in Boston where they lost the series. Despite being able to win the first game of the series against San Francisco, and string together back-to-back wins, Colorado could not get it together and dropped the final two games against the Giants. To the box scores!

H R W/L (Rockies)
05/23 vs. PIT 7 3 L
05/24 vs. BOS 6 3 L
05/25 vs. BOS 10 3 L
05/26 vs. BOS 12 8 W
05/27 vs. SFG 11 5 W
05/28 vs. SFG 9 5 L
05/29 vs. SFG 8 3 L

Notable Injuries

Nick Hundley, who has been on the 15-day DL with a left oblique strain, took batting practice on May 26 and caught live batting practice on May 28. He is expected to return today, May 31.

Arizona Diamondbacks

The D’backs are in just as bad of shape as the Rockies, except they have played three more games which have given them three more opportunities to tack an L in the standings. Zack Greinke and Shelby Miller – their ace and number two starter – have thrown a combined 5.65 ERA. To put that in perspective, the National League average for ERA is 4.05. Week 7 for Arizona started off in Pittsburgh. They were swept on the road, came home and added another loss to San Diego – dropping the first game in a three game series. They were able to string together two wins to take the series. Have a gander at the box scores.

H R W/L (Diamondbacks)
05/24 vs. PIT 6 1 L
05/25 vs. PIT 9 4 L
05/26 vs. PIT 13 3 L
05/27 vs. SDP 6 3 L
05/28 vs. SDP 10 8 W
05/29 vs. SDP 9 6 W

Notable Injuries

Rubby De La Rosa was placed on the 15-day DL on May 27 with right elbow inflammation. His return is TBD. Shelby Miller is sidelined with a sprained right index finger and was placed on the 15-day DL on May 27, but retroactive to May 26. His return is TBD. David Peralta has been out with right wrist inflammation. He hit off a tee on May 24 and his return is expected to be late June. A.J. Pollock is still recovering from elbow surgery. His return is possibly in late 2016.

San Diego Padres

We sure are at the bottom of the barrel aren’t we. In any division, a team always has to be at the bottom but the Padres waste no time making their way down there. With a 20-32 record and a -42 run differential, there is no doubt about them being the worst team in the NL West. Their week started with three straight losses in San Francisco, followed by a win in Arizona, then two more losses against a team that is only slightly better by virtue of not being the Padres. To the last of the box scores.

H R W/L (Padres)
05/23 vs. SFG 2  0 L
05/24 vs. SFG 9 2 L
05/25 vs. SFG 9 3 L
05/27 vs. ARI 18 10 W
05/28 vs. ARI 10 7 L
05/29 vs. ARI 5 3 L

Notable Injuries

Tyson Ross has been out with right shoulder inflammation. His injury report was updated May 27 to state that he could began playing catch as of May 30. His return is expected after the All-Star Break. Cory Spandenberg is out with a left quad strain. His return is expected early July. Cesar Vargas is on the 15-day DL with right elbow soreness as of May 29. His return is TBD.

NL West Round-up: Week 1

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After six long months without baseball, we are officially through the first week of the season. For the last few seasons, the NL West has been the Dodgers and Giants show. Let’s take a look at how the NL West is shaping in 2016 so far.

Los Angeles Dodgers

Our Boys in Blue started the season off on the road. They swept San Diego and kept them scoreless in all three games. The team traveled North and faced the Giants – a team they went 8-11 against last season. Things did not go well for the Dodgers. Take a look at the box scores from last week.

H R W/L (Dodgers)
4/04 LAD v. SDP 17 15 W
4/05 LAD v. SDP 6 3 W
4/06 LAD v. SDP 11 7 W
4/07 LAD v. SFG 13 6 L
4/08 LAD v. SFG 9 2 L
4/09 LAD v. SFG 10 3 W
4/10 LAD v. SFG 10 6 L

Notable Injuries:
Carl Crawford is on the 15-day DL with lower back pain. Chris Hatcher suffered a twisted left knee but is day-to-day. Scott Van Slyke is suffering from lower back stiffness but is day-to-day.

San Francisco Giants

The Giants opened their season against the Milwaukee Brewers – a team that is in rebuild mode in 2016. Madison Bumgarner was not on his usual game in the season opener as he allowed five hits over five innings pitched. He gave up two home runs and walked five batters but still walked away with the win because pitcher wins. While they did not sweep the Brewers nor the Dodgers, they have found themselves in sole possession of first place by a game. Here are there box scores for the week.

H R W/L (Giants)
4/04 SFG v. MIL 15 12 W
4/05 SFG v. MIL 7 2 W
4/06 SFG v. MIL 6 3 L
4/07 LAD v. SFG 17 12 W
4/08 LAD v. SFG 2 3 W
4/09 LAD v. SFG 5 2 L
4/10 LAD v. SFG 12 9 W

Notable Injuries:
According to MLB.com, the Giants do not have anyone on the DL. We should all be scared.

Colorado Rockies

Can you believe that the Rockies got fifteen hits and scored ten runs outside of Coors Field?! On the season opener in Arizona, the Rockies trounced the Diamondbacks in amazing fashion. Of course, the story (EH? EH?!) this week within Colorado’s organization is Trevor Story. The rookie shortstop hit seven dingers in his first six games! That put him on pace to hit 189 home runs this season, which is definitely certainly likely to happen. Sadly, as is always the case with the Rockies, they are meandering in the middle of the standings because they are the Rockies. Whether or not the Rockies can take their success at Coors on the road remains to be seen this season. Take a look at last week’s box scores.

H R W/L (Rockies)
4/04 COL v. ARI 15 10 W
4/05 COL v. ARI 9 6 L
4/06 COL v. ARI 8 4 W
4/08 SDP v. COL 2 6 L
4/09 SDP v. COL 8 3 L
4/10 SDP v. COL 9 6 W

Notable Injuries:
Daniel Descalso is expected back sometime early this season. However, with Trevor Story crushing it, one has to wonder how the infield will adjust.

San Diego Padres

Remember last year when the Padres went all-in on offense last year. Yeah, that did not work for them. To remedy that, they brought in John Jay who represents a nice upgrade in the outfield. They also got Alexei Ramirez for $4M with a $1M buyout, who was a much-needed improvement at shortstop at a relatively low cost. The issue with Jay and Ramirez, however, is now the Padres have sacrificed some offensive power for strictly defensive upgrades. How has it worked out for San Diego thus far? To the box scores!

H R W/L (Padres)
4/04 LAD v. SDP 4  0 L
4/05 LAD v. SDP 2  0 L
4/06 LAD v. SDP 5  0 L
4/08 SDP v. COL 18 13 W
4/09 SDP v. COL 19 16 W
4/10 SDP v. COL 8 3 L
4/11 SDP v. PHI 6 4 L

Notable Injuries:
Tyson Ross has landed on the 15-day DL with right shoulder inflammation. He is expected back in the rotation late April.

Arizona Diamondbacks

Speaking of teams that went all-in. The Diamondbacks inked a TV deal during the offseason and quickly signed Zack Greinke and Shelby Miller to outrageous deals. Even more concerning, if you’re a D-Backs fan, is that the team traded one of their top prospects to get Miller. How has that worked out for them? Combined, Greinke and Miller have made two starts and have posted a 6.00 ERA to start the season. I probably don’t need to tell you that is not what you want from your Number 1 and Number 2 starters. Let’s examine the box scores to see how they became the cellar dwellers in Week 1.

H R W/L (Padres)
4/04 COL v. ARI 12 5 L
4/05 COL v. ARI 15 11 W
4/06 COL v. ARI 8 3 L
4/07 CHC v. ARI 8 6 L
4/08 CHC v. ARI 8 3 W
4/09 CHC v. ARI 4 2 L
4/10 CHC v. ARI 8 3 L

Notable Injuries:
Josh Collmenter is on the 15-day DL with right shoulder inflammation. He is expected to return in mid-to-late April. A.J. Pollock is out for the season as he is recovering from elbow surgery.

Dodgers 0, Diamondbacks 6: Did that just happen?

Forget everything I wrote yesterday about Kershaw getting us through this. What an atrocious game. If there was a time to collapse, I guess in April is better than in October. Clayton Kershaw allowed 13 men to reach base and gave up six runs. The last time Kershaw allowed thirteen baserunners was way back in 2008 in Colorado, all in three innings. Whatever.

Also, Puig was benched and Yasmani Grandal did not start. “I’ll take ‘Dumb Things To Do in Baseball’ for $1000, Alex.” Oh yeah, Juan Uribe did not start, which okay, #KingUribe is not on the Bleacher Report slideshow for “2015’s Hottest Bats In April.” Instead, our favorite ginger, Justin Turner got the start. But instead of being Justin Turner of 2014, he decided to be dumb and get spiked in the hand. I know, it’s a fluke accident, but come on! Of course, Juan Uribe came in and then left just as quickly with a hamstring injury. Somewhere in all of this, the Diamondbacks did things to score. Dodger fans are not allowed to enjoy baseball, apparently.

Juan Nicasio came in and closed the game out. Really, baseball is the dumbest sport ever.

Game Day Preview: Dodgers @ Diamondbacks – Kershaw vs. Bradley

Clayton Kershaw will get the start in game two of this series in Arizona. After last night’s tenth inning ballbuster, we can find solace in the fact that our beloved ace pitches exceptionally well against the Diamondbacks.

With a batting average against of .194 and a GB% of 45%, the only thing Arizona can do is hope that the Dodgers offense remains limp in front of Archie Bradley.

Game time tonight is at 5:10 PM PST, expect the roster to be announced closer to game time. You can watch the game on Sportsnet LA. If you are not a TWC customer, you can listen to the game on AM 570.

Dodgers Lose To Arizona, 3-4

The Dodgers dropped the first game in the series against the Diamondbacks. After last night’s loss, Los Angeles is now 2-2 in the early season. Pack it up boys, this season is over.

I can deal with a blowout and explain it as baseball being a real prick. The games that are lost by a single run; those are the ones that feel like a kick in the nuts. When the team strings together eight hits but only scores three runs, it is a stark reminder of long of a season we have ahead of us.

This game also reminded us that Adrian Gonzalez is human. Gonzalez started his night with a single, which was followed by a walk in his next at bat. The Diamondbacks decided to not test fate and intentionally walked. How is Gonzo supposed to hit home runs if teams are going to pull that crap? Sadly, in his next two at-bats, Gonzalez grounded out.

Arizona drew first blood with a Paul Goldschmidt, three-run homer. Yasmani put the Dodgers on the board by sending a towering shot into the stands. Jimmy Rollins would later tie it a RBI double that brought home Juan Uribe and Joc Pederson.

Brett Anderson, after striking out four over six innings, was pulled. Yimi Garcia came in and pitched a scoreless seventh and eighth inning. Joel Peralta shut down the Diamondbacks in the ninth to take the game to extra innings. JP Howell started the tenth and could not get it together. Perhaps it was for the best since this was the fourth game in which the bullpen was used extensively. If the game had gone on any longer, an already tired bullpen would have been made useless for the rest of the series. Interestingly, this is the fourth game of the season and it is the fourth game in which three or more relievers have been used. It is also the third straight game in which Howell has pitched. Please don’t break your new toy, Mattingly.

The Dodgers look to even out the series later on today. Expect some notes from yours truly.

Game Day Preview: Dodgers @ Diamondbacks – Brett Anderson vs. Chase Anderson

Brett Anderson will open the series against Arizona tonight. Adrian Gonzalez is on pace to hit all the home runs this season. Dodger fans are hoping to see more dingers from AGon in this three-game series.

After claiming the series against San Diego, the Dodgers look to take an early lead in the NL West standings. Brett Anderson takes the mound and I am hoping to see a healthy and productive season from him. Anderson has had his share of injuries, beginning with Tommy John surgery in 2011, and more recently experiencing a season-ending back injury last season, which also required surgery.

The Dodgers signed Anderson to a 1-year, $10 million deal with neither a player nor club option. It is quite clear that he is on the roster this season to bolster a fraught pitching rotation. There is no question in his capabilities; after all he is a consistent groundball pitcher with a career FIP of 3.51. His health remains a concern with the front office and among Dodger fans.

A strong outing is what we are hoping for. McCarthy quelled most concerns on Thursday with 9 Ks over 5.0 IP, it is now Anderson’s turn to do the same. If the wheels fall off early, let us hope that Adrian Gonzalez answers the call once again.

Game time tonight is at 6:40 PM, PST. Expect the lineup to be announced closer to game time. You can watch the game on Sportsnet LA. If you are not a Time Warner customer, you can listen to the game on AM 570.

Dodgers vs Cardinals: Game 4 of the NLCS

All signs point to Nolasco getting the start tonight. Whether it’s the lights out Nolasco we saw against the Cubs and Red Sox earlier in the season or the disastrous mess we witnessed against San Francisco and Arizona remains to be seen. 

Going into last night’s game, I was anxious. I was nervous for the Dodgers and for Hyun-Jin Ryu. I was nervous about the offense not showing up. When it was announced that Hanley Ramirez AND Andre Ethier were starting, I was concerned for their safety and long-term health. But something happened. Ryu pitched brilliantly, Ramirez and Ethier are now etched in Dodgers lore. And I’d like to think it’s because of the unsung hero of last night’s game. #ManBear

I don’t want to know what last night’s game would have been like without him. Will we ever know who this masked crusader is? Probably not. Is this the last we see of #ManBear (or #RallyBear, maybe #ManBearPuig?) No. The Dodgers don’t have a need for a mascot. But the mainstays that the postseason tends to bring are weird – rally monkey, anyone? – and if this is one thing that comes around during an extended Dodgers season, I’ll be okay with it. He’s the hero LA needs, but not the hero it deserves.

Kemp Homered! My God! Kemp Homered!

Since the Dodgers have clinched the NL West, the games have been meaningless, to say the least. Between moving, work, and uninteresting games, I haven’t had time to blog nor has there been much to talk about. We discussed “Poolgate” in the most recent recording (which will be up soon, I promise), but that’s such a ridiculous non-issue, that I refuse to talk about it and any potential controversy around it. You can read it somewhere else. Instead we’re going to talk about the babe of a game today.

Hyun-Jin Ryu has been un-freaking-believable. After discussing who will get a spot in the rotation – Ryu or Nolasco – both Aaron and I put our money on Nolasco. Unfortunately, the wheels on the Nolasco bus have fallen off. In his last two starts, Nolasco has pitched 6.1 innings, has given up 16 hits and 13 runs. While only striking out five in his last two starts. I’m willing to chalk up his start on September 14th against San Francisco to just outright randomness. The Giants were hitting the crap out of the ball no matter who was on the mound. However, his start in Arizona is concerning. Ricky Nolasco had pitched five innings shutout innings, only to lose it in the fifth and give up six runs. Had it not been for the HanRam and AJ Ellis, the Dodgers would have had to try to clinch in San Diego.

Hyun-Jin Ryu, on the other hand, has pitched 32.1 innings in his last five starts. However, he has allowed 29 hits despite having 24 Ks. Ryu’s biggest problem seems to be the number of hits he allows in a game. The ever dismal NL West will not capitalize on those opportunites, the beastly teams that the Dodgers will face in the playoffs definitely turns those hits into runs and those runs into wins. The Dodgers have scored only 7 runs since clinching the NL West (their last four games.) If the Dodgers wish to advance in the playoffs, they have to arouse their impotent offense.

But enough about the pitching, Puig has been crushing baseballs. I mean, he just loves dead center field.

But Puig wasn’t the only one with a magical dinger. Kemp hit a home run that was sweet, savory, and delicious. Since coming back, Kemp is 8-25 (.320 BA), if he keeps hitting the way he has been, with contact and power, then perhaps this offense will be back in shape come October 3rd.

In the name of The Uribe, The HanRam, and The Holy Puigsus. Amen!

This is the best time to have started a Dodgers influenced blog and podcast. I guess you can say I’m a scheming opportunist, but would you have started a blog or podcast while your favorite team was losing? Probably not. Anyways, that’s not important. What is important is that the Dodgers brought out the big guns to clinch the series and the big guns just fucking wrecked Arizona. Last night’s rout was the beginning of the end for the D’backs. Today was the gut-punch that came via two dingers from Hanley Ramirez and a solo blast from AJ Ellis. And having Vin Scully call the game just made the experience even more beautiful than what it was.

Here’s the sweet croon of Mr. Vin Scully calling Hanley’s first homer. 

And here is Hanley crushing a solo homerun:

Hanley would go 4-5 while bringing in four of the dodgers seven runs. He is arguably the Dodgers MVP and where Kemp left a large void in the offense when he went down in the season, Hanley carried this team on his shoulders, filling the void.

However, this win was a team effort. After Nolasco fell apart in the 5th, the Hanley Ramirez show would turn into the Ramirez Van Slyke extravaganza. Scott Van Stache. Scott Van Smash. Scott Van “Hit a Double and Fuck Your Lead” Slyke. Van Slyke’s double would bring the Dodgers within 1 run of Arizona. Hanley’s second homer would tie the game. And then AJ Ellis’s solo blast would be the only run the Dodgers would need to clinch the NL West and the Dodgers first playoff berth since 2009.

While the bats would bring the Dodgers the lead, it was effective relief pitching that would keep the Diamondbacks at bay. League, Howell, Wilson, and Jansen would pitch 4 shutout innings. And the rest would be history.

This season has been a roller coaster. Prior to June 22, no one considered the Dodgers potential NL West champions, much less playoff contenders. But the Boys in Blue have extended their season and their historic run. Some one tell the rest of baseball that the Dodgers are coming!

Magic Number is 2! Uribe is a God among Gods! And the Prodigal Son Has Returned!

Arizona is done. With 11 games left, Arizona needs to lose at least one against the Dodgers in the next two games, or at least two if the Dodgers fail to win tomorrow and Thursday. But enough about that. Let’s talk about this:

And this:

If it’s not the same without Vin Scully’s sweet, soothing, voice, then you can watch it here.

I haven’t found the gif or video yet, but one of Kemp’s doubles was crushed into dead center. The ball was hit so damn hard, I’m convinced it would have left Dodgers Stadium.

Today’s lineup was stacked hard and it showed. Greinke was brilliant going six innings and giving up only two runs. He had 5 Ks and 1 BB. If tonight’s win doesn’t get you pumped for October, check your pulse and GTFO the bandwagon.