Through 81 games, the San Francisco Giants are three games behind NL West’s division leader Arizona Diamondbacks. The last place Los Angeles Dodgers are just a game behind the Giants.
On this day last year, the Giants were nine games over .500 and held a one game lead over the Dodgers. It will definitely be a challenge if the Giants want to defend their World Series title.
Here’s a look at the Giants and their NL West foes:
The Diamondbacks’ lineup does not jump out at you, but they have one of the best hitters in the NL West in Paul Goldschmidt. Just ask Tim Lincecum and Jeremy Affeldt.
Also, with the exception of Patrick Corbin, who is 9-0 with a 2.22 ERA, the Diamondbacks’ pitching staff and bullpen has not been dominant.
However, I believe the Diamondbacks can ride out the season with Goldschmidt and Corbin.
If they can stabilize their starting pitching and bullpen, they present a real threat.
San Diego Padres and Colorado Rockies:
I don’t think either teams are real threats.
With the exception of Chase Headley, I can’t even name another Padres player. The fact that they are hovering around .500 is a real testament to their farm system and young players.
The Colorado Rockies’ offense is quite potent with Michael Cuddyer, Carlos Gonzalez, and Troy Tulowitzki; however, their bullpen is quite inconsistent, especially the back end.
Los Angeles Dodgers
With the addition of Yasiel Puig and the resurgence of Hanley Ramirez, the Dodgers are playing better baseball as of late.
Ace Clayton Kershaw and Hyun-Jin Ryu highlight the Dodgers’ pitching staff, and like the teams mentioned above, they have issues with their bullpen/closer.
The beloved Dodgers are heating up, and if Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier get hot, their expensive lineup will pay dividends.
San Francisco Giants
To state the obvious, the biggest issue the Giants face is with their starting pitching. The entire pitching staff’s ERA is inflated and the loss of Vogelsong and Gaudin have really hurt the Giants, who were already struggling.
The bullpen has been inconsistent; however, the return of Santiago Casilla will be a big boost.
Finally, I don’t put much stock in the loss of Angel Pagan, as Gregor Blanco has been a nice fill-in.
Marco Scutaro and Buster Posey have been the Giants’ most consistent hitters, but the rest of the lineup needs to pick up the slack.
For the Giants, the good news is that there is still another half of the season to go. The bad news is there is another half of the season to go.
The Dodgers are heating up, and the Rockies and Diamondbacks are playing solid baseball. In the end, I believe the Dodgers will win the NL West down the stretch.