Welcome to the Wild, Wild West. There are no laws because there are no leaders making them. No team in the NL West has planted a flag claiming, “This is my division!” Lets take a look at the winners of the NL West since 2006: Padres ’06. D-Backs ’07. Dodgers ’08 ’09. Giants ’10. D-Backs ’11. Where’s the consistency? Team’s rarely repeat solid seasons. More importantly, where are the Rockies? When you take a look at the predictions for the NL West every year, the expert and analysts get it wrong. Prior to the start of the 2011 season, the Rockies and the Giants were the two teams predicted to win the division. The D-Backs were picked to finish dead last by many as the bottom dwellers.
So what happens? After a great 16-7 start, the Rockies had lead the division into late May before tailspinning into a dismal 73-89 2011 campaign. The D-Backs caught fire in May and never looked back, finishing the season with 94 wins and a division title. The Giants season took a turn for the worst when Buster Posey’s ankle took a turn for the worst, putting him out for the year. Their lack of offensive production couldn’t accompany their always stellar pitching. The Dodgers had Matt Kemp, Clayton Kershaw, and a bankrupted team. How can you predict anything in this division? Despite my previous statement about the Giant’s not having enough offense to win a division, I still believe this division comes down to one thing: Pitching. Like the Ol’ West, the man with the best guns gets to take all the loot, and chaw while were at it.
Let’s take a look at all five NL West Projected Starting Pitching:
Rockies: Jhoulys Chacin, Jeremy Guthrie, Juan Nicasio, Drew Pomeranz, Guillermo Moscoso/Jaime Moyer/Tyler Chatwood/Jorge De La Rosa (mid season)
The Rockies have a whole lot of deputies, but no legitimate sherrif to lay the law (pun intended). Someone’s gotta step up in order to see this team in October.
Dodgers: Kershaw, Billingsly, Lilly, Capuano, Harang.
Not a bad rotation at all. Kershaw has the potential to win the Cy Young again. The rest are solid starters. Too bad the Angels will have the spotlight all season.
Giants: Lincecum, Cain, Bumgarner, Vogelsong, Zito
Another top rotation. Lincecum is great despite having awful hair. Cain is a rock. They need an offense that can put together at least 2 runs a game and its all good. Too bad they probably won’t be able to do even that.
Padres:Volquez, Bro, Bro, Bro, Bro.
The will all have great ERA’s and 17 losses each. Hey, at least they’ve got sweet weather.
D-Backs: Kennedy, Cahill, Hudson, Saunders, Collmenter.
Arizona made a huge improvement with the addition of Cahill. I think they have the best 1-2-3 starters in Kennedy, Hudson, and Cahill to accompany an always good offense. They won’t win though cause no one repeats in this division, no one.
Rank and predict the outcome of this division if you want. It’s best to simply watch and let these teams duke it out. I think the NL West can be won with 88 wins. But it is a distinct possibility that it will be a four-horse race, excluding the Padres.