The story of the NL West in the first half surely was the early emergence of the San Francisco Giants, prior to the resurgence of the Los Angeles Dodgers, who now lead the division by one game. A solid start for the Colorado Rockies was followed by a plummet down the standings, as they now trail the Dodgers by thirteen games for the division lead. Now we take a look at how the division fared over the last week:
1. Los Angeles Dodgers (54-43, 3-3 this week)
The Dodgers suffered through a slow start to the season but have heated up and pulled themselves into first place. They had an off day on Monday before their two-game series with the Detroit Tigers in the Motor City. The Tigers outscored the Dodgers 18-6 in the two games, with Los Angeles’ Hyun-Jin Ryu struggling on Tuesday and the bats stifled by Detroit’s Max Scherzer on Wednesday. Los Angeles then traveled home for a four-game set with San Diego, a series that turned out to be very low-scoring. L.A. took game one on Thursday, with Clayton Kershaw tossing a complete game, earning his eleventh victory of the season. His scoreless inning streak ended at forty-one in the sixth inning when Chase Headley belted his seventh homer of the year. The Padres evened the series on Friday night before the Dodgers won back-to-back 1-0 games on Saturday and Sunday.
2. San Francisco Giants (52-43, 3-4 this week)
Weeks ago, the Giants led the division by a large margin, coming as a surprise to many in the baseball world. Since then, San Francisco has relinquished the division lead, as they now trail Los Angeles by one game. This week, the Giants struggled in their Bay Bridge Series against Oakland. They dropped both games in Oakland without mustering up much offense before coming home and splitting the final two games of the series with the A’s. Hunter Pence picked up three two-hit games in the series, providing what little offensive spark the Giants had. Over the weekend, the Giants hosted the Arizona Diamondbacks. Tim Lincecum led the way to a 5-0 win in the opener, allowing no runs on three hits in seven innings. After dropping Saturday’s contest, the Giants claimed the series on Sunday afternoon, with a spectacular offensive performance from their starting pitcher, Madison Bumgarner. Bumgarner picked up two hits, including a sixth-inning grand slam, his third home run of the year. The other big blast of the game came off the bat of Buster Posey, a grand slam in the fifth inning, giving the Giants their initial lead.
3. San Diego Padres (41-54, 2-5 this week)
The Padres have played well enough to hold on to third place at the break, though that does not say much. This week was a rough one for the Friars, as they first lost two of three to the Rockies, scoring just four runs combined in the two losses. They then traveled to Los Angeles for the weekend, where they salvaged just one win in the four-game set. The offense continued their inconsistency, scoring only one run combined in their three losses. The bright spots of the weekend were Jesse Hahn, Ian Kennedy, and Tyson Ross, who allowed just two runs collectively.
4. Colorado Rockies (40-55, 3-3 this week)
2014 has been the same old story for the Rockies: a strong start to the year with a disappointing drop-off. The Rockies took two of three from the Padres to start the week, using the bats of Troy Tulowitzki, Drew Stubbs, and Charlie Blackmon to lead the way. Though Colorado lost two of three in Minnesota over the weekend, they welcomed back slugger Carlos Gonzalez on Friday, who returned from the disabled list after missing thirty-five games with a finger injury. He went 4 for 13 in the series, collecting a double and a RBI while scoring two runs.
5. Arizona Diamondbacks (40-56, 3-3 this week)
Arizona has struggled this season, remaining in last place for much of the year. A series with Miami to start the week got the D’Backs off to a good start, as they won the series, clinching it on a walk-off, two-run double by Paul Goldschmidt in the tenth inning of Wednesday night’s game. After the off day on Thursday, Arizona traveled to San Francisco, where they lost two of three to the Giants. The one win in the series came on Saturday, when Wade Miley dominated the Giants over seven innings, allowing no runs on four hits for his fourth win of the season. The offense was fueled by Gerardo Parra and Aaron Hill, who each collected two hits.