Look the San Diego Padres are among the most irrelevant teams in baseball right now. Yeah, yeah, it’s fun to see Yonder Alonso get himself together and there’s definite, real hope for the future, but that doesn’t stop them from being difficult to watch. So instead, let’s take a look at what else is going on around the NL West. Who knows, if the Padres keep up their incompetency we might make this a recurring feature.
Los Angeles Dodgers
Look, I know this is borderline heresy, but damn is it a pretty good time to be a Los Angeles sports fan. The Dodgers cold, calculated, systematic takedown of the entire NL aside, you’ve got the Lakers and Clippers both in middle-tier playoff contention, UCLA landing two 5-star basketball prospects, and the L.A. Kings remarkable, out-of-nowhere ascension to the Stanley Cup finals. Oh, there’s also the ever-increasing speculation that Hollywood is going to have an NFL team like, soon, which naturally has the entire San Diego sports-watching population nervously crossing their fingers.
But frankly, the Dodgers unbridled rampage isn’t much of a surprise, per say. I mean, I don’t think anyone had them penciled in at the number one slot a quarter into the season, but when you’re rounding out all-star ballots with Kershaw, Kemp and Ethier, you have to think they might at least be decent.
But still, it’s early days. Is a team giving prominent playing time to Jerry Hairston really equipped to sustain itself long term? (I think we learned better back in 2010.) What about leadoff speedster Dee Gordon rolling with a puny .217/.256./.273? Nah man, stuff like that catches up to you. You can’t call a team a juggernaut when you already see sunlight poking through their eclipse. So maybe that’ll engineer an epic late-season collapse and endless schadenfreude for everyone living below San Clemente. Let’s hope so.
The hangover has been pretty stark since that Cinderella World Series run a couple years back, hasn’t it? It seems ever since Lincecum and those boys hoisted the trophy, the questions and weaknesses about that 2010 team have proved pretty true, and made the Giants entirely mediocre for a startlingly long period of time, especially for a former champion.
Maybe it has to do with Lincecum, who’s looking more and more pedestrian as time goes on. The former Cy Young winner, has an exceptionally high strikeout rate, but remains 2-5 with a bulbous 6.41 ERA. Right now the erstwhile, eternally questionable Barry Zito is throwing much better – which leads to some obvious implications. Maybe it’s the injury to the lovably-doughy Pablo Sandoval, a dugout presence and .308 average leaving a wavering offense even less sure of itself. Or maybe it’s the absence of Brian Wilson, and the absence of his, you know, Brian Wilson-ness. Whatever the case, it’s certainly hard seeing these Giants make another real run short term – I guess in a way that makes the title that much more special.
Man, what an awful pitching staff this is, and not just because the Reds chucked up four homeruns against Jamie Moyer’s 78 MPH fastballs a couple days ago. Right now these Rockies have the second highest team ERA with 5.16, second to last in quality starts with a paltry, paltry 15, last in WHIP, and last in BAA. Yikes. Sure you can write off some of the carnage due to Coors Field’s tendency to launch balls into the low stratosphere, but that reads like a pretty blatant copout. It also doesn’t help that the Rockies’ fielding ranks among the worst in the league. Pretty awful combination, wouldn’t you say? Guys like Troy Tulowitzki will keep the interest brewing, but with a pitching staff this awful, they look pretty far from competition.
Chris Young is back, Daniel Hudson is back on the mound, and prospects like Trevor Bauer are moving through the ranks. Hey, there’s really not a lot to say about the Snakes through this period of exceptionally average baseball, except that they’re going to look more and more like NL West contenders as their winners get back on the field. Not to say they’re going to compete with that Dodgers empire, but I certainly like this team more than the anemic, outstandingly mediocre Giants, the ‘backs at least look like they’ve got traction.
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