NL West Picks: July 14, 2013By Daniel J.
With the Los Angeles Dodgers gaining some serious ground over the past month, the pressure was back on the Arizona Diamondbacks to get out of their funk and retain their slim lead in the National League West standings. Fortunately for D-Backs fans, they’ve done just that in winning their last three, but there is still little room for error, with just a 2.5 game lead over L.A. Can Arizona sweep away the Brewers today and hold their ground in one of baseball’s most competitive divisions? Let’s take a closer look at each game out West today.
As winners of seven of their last 10 games, the Dodgers have begun to make the turnaround many expected they would at some point this season, but with a 47-46 record, they’ve still got a long way to go and a lot of winning to do in order to capture the West title and a playoff berth. Luckily, they’ll have a good chance to keep things rolling as they conclude their four-game set today with the ice-cold Colorado Rockies.
Colorado will try to end its recent woes by sending out one of its best hurlers in Jhoulys Chacin (8-4, 3.62 ERA), but he’ll face an equally tough competitor in Ricky Nolasco (6-8, 3.70 ERA), who was just acquired by L.A. from the Marlins. The pitching match-up seems pretty even, but since the Rockies are still in a big hitting slump, I like the Dodgers to cover -1.5 in this one.
After blanking the Padres behind Tim Lincecum’s first career no-hitter last night, the Giants will look to sweep the four-game series and begin to climb back into the division race. They’ll just have to hope that their other struggling veteran starter experiences a resurgence on the mound like Lincecum did.
Barry Zito (4-6, 4.62 ERA) gets the ball for the Giants today and although it would certainly make for a great story, I’m not sure he can outduel San Diego’s Eric Stults (7-7, 3.50 ERA), who has been lights out lately, throwing two complete games over the last few weeks.
Still, considering just how bad things have gotten for the Padres, I’m not sure they get hit anybody right now, so Stults might not get much, if any support. I’d stick with the hot team here and take the Giants to cover+1.5 today.
The D-Backs seem to have everything headed in the right direction – as they aim to sweep Milwaukee – but Ian Kennedy (3-5, 5.31 ERA) has struggled recently, while Wily Peralta (6-9, 4.92 ERA) has been one of the few bright points for the Brewers as of late.
Kennedy is coming off a rough five-inning loss – in which, he gave up five earned runs – while Peralta is coming off his best performance of the year – a complete game shutout of the Cincinnati Reds. The Diamondbacks may be the hotter team, but the Brewers have the hotter pitcher and he should be enough to at least keep this game close. Take Milwaukee to cover +1.5 here.