N. L. West Officially Upside Down
Who had the San Francisco Giants in dead last in the N. L. West as August began in May? No one? Who had the Los Angeles Dodgers in first place when August began in May? No one? That is what we have as August begins. The Dodgers continue to climb and now lead the N. L. West by 3.5 games over the Arizona Diamondbacks. The other three teams, the Colorado Rockies, San Diego Padres and the Giants have fell off into oblivion, or “wait ’til next year” mode.
To make things worse for the defending champions, they will face the American League equivalent to the Dodgers, the Tampa Bay Rays, in a three-game series beginning tonight at Tropicana Field. The Rays went 21-5 in July to take over first place in the A. L. East. The Giants slide has been as startling as the Dodgers ascent. For the first two months of the season, it looked like business as usual in San Francisco. They were 30-27 and only 2.5 games back. The Dodgers were nine games under .500 and 8.5 games back in dead last. The Rockies were also 30-27 at the time and Arizona was eight games over .500 at 32-24. The only team playing above .500 in the last two months has been the Dodgers.
Yasiel Puig deserves a lot of the credit for the Dodgers rise from last place to first place. He is hitting .367 with 11 homers and 24 RBI in his 51 games in the big leagues. His arrival sparked the team and turned their season around. Los Angeles has also gotten good production out of Adrian Gonzalez with a .299 average and 15 homers and 66 RBI.
Zach Grienke has also pitched well since his return to the lineup following a broken collarbone sustained in an early season fight with the Padres. With hm back in the rotation, along with Clayton Kershaw and newly acquired Ricky Nolasco, the Dodgers rotation stacks up with anyone in the league.
The division is still too close to call with Arizona only 3.5 out, but right now it looks like a huge 3.5. If next week when we do our N. L. West update the lead has grown to 6 or more, it may be time to call it for the Dodgers. The Dodgers are at the Chicago Cubs this weekend, who they just beat 6-4 last night. From there they will travel to face the St. Louis Cardinals for four games. That could be a very interesting series. The Cards have been struggling lately. If L.A. can go into St. Louis and win three of four, then they have to be considered one of the World Series favorites along with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Next weekend the Dodgers will be back home to face the Rays in a three game series. The Rays will be coming off two games at the Diamondbacks before that. So the next week and a half in both divisions will be exciting baseball.