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NL West Preview - Mid Summer Classic Update

*Predictions are from Opening Day

2010WL2011 PredictionsWL
x-San Francisco9270x-Colorado9171
San Diego9072Los Angeles8577
Colorado8379San Francisco8379
Los Angeles8082Arizona7488
Arizona6597San Diego7389

Opening Day Questions
Is CarGo the best outfielder in all of baseball?
  • All Star Break - Not this year, Matt Kemp is.  Carlos is batting .350 over his last 30 games though, so he still could be the best by the end of the season.
Can Kershaw win the Cy Young?
  • All Star Break - Absolutely, as long as Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay aren't pitching for the Phillies
Was last year a fluke in the Bay Area?
  • All Star Break - They currently have a 3 game lead in the West and are doing things EXACTLY like last year.  All pitching, zero hitting.
Can the Diamonbacks young staff keep the team competitive?
  • All Star Break - Arizona is actually 6 games OVER .500, thanks to Ian Kennedy, Dan Hudson Joe Saunders, and Josh Collmenter.
Who will drive in the runs for the Padres?
  • All Star Break - Ryan Ludwick has done a great job so far, but unfortunately he is the only one.
Second Half Questions
Are the Rockies ready for another late post season push?
Can Matt Kemp win the Triple Crown?
Who can beat the Giants bullpen?
Where will the Bullpen help come from?
Where will Heath Bell land?

Colorado Rockies
Purple Row

Key Additions: Jose Lopez, Ty Wigginton, Matt Lindstrom

Key Losses: Miguel Olivo, Clint Barmes, Brad Hawpe, Octavio Dotel

Outlook:  Over the past few years the Rockies have had similar seasons in that they struggle early on in the season then get red hot towards the end of the year and go on a ridiculous 22-3 run and make a push for the playoffs.   I have a feeling this year will be different.  They have two of the best young players in the game, Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki.  They went out and got Jose Lopez to play second base who is coming off a bad year but should turn it around in Colorado.  Although most of their pitchers are not well known around the league I think they'll have a strong rotation.  We all know what Ubaldo Jiminez can do, but after him its Jorge De La Rosa who was injured in 2010, Jhoulys Chacin, Jason Hammel and Aaron Cook.  The back end of their bullpen is extremely strong and should help them close out a lot of games this year with Rafael Betancourt, Huston Street and they traded for Matt Lindstrom.  This is a 91 win team.

Los Angeles Dodgers
True Blue LA

Key Additions: Jon Garland, Juan Uribe, Marcus Thames, Matt Guerrier, Tony Gwynn Jr., Dioner Novarro

Key Losses: Russell Martin, Scott Podsednik, Ryan Theriot

Outlook: I know a lot of people are writing off the Dodgers early, but they'll be a surprise team in 2011.  I really like the 3-4 punch of Either and Kemp with Furcal and Looney at the top of the lineup.  They picked up Juan Uribe this off season who showed he can provide some pop for a lineup, and I also think Jay Gibbons will have a comeback season after being out of the MLB for a few years.  I really like the starting rotation of Kershaw, Billingsley, Kuroda, Lilly and Garland, very solid.  Besides Jonathan Broxton and Hong-Chin Kuo there are some question marks in the Dodgers bullpen.  If they can get that sorted out then I think the Dodgers can win around 85 games and put some pressure on the Rockies.

San Francisco Giants
McCovey Chronicles

Key Additions: Miguel Tejada

Key Losses: Juan Uribe, Edgar Renteria

Outlook: A lot of people might disagree with me here but I think the Giants are possibly the worst World Series team of all time and will not make the playoffs in 2011. They do have one of the best rotations in the MLB with Lincecum, Cain, Zito, Sanchez and Bumgarner, but it's hard to imagine that Zito will pitch as well as he did after being dreadful over the past few years, and Sanchez has always been wild and having another ERA barley over 3 is not a sure thing, as he has a 4.26 career ERA.  Also 5 out of 6 bullpen guys having an ERA under 3 is an incredible thing but bullpen guys are so inconsistent that I don't seeing them being so dominant for a second year in a row.  With that being said an offense put together of 30+ year old journeymen (Aubrey Huff, Freddy Sanchez, Miguel Tejada, Pat Burell, Cody Ross, Aaron Rowand and Mark Derosa) with Buster Posey and Pablo Sandoval thrown in the mix does not equal a playoff team.  Might call me crazy but there is no way possible this team comes close to repeating what they did last year and I don't see them being better then 3 or 4 games over .500, at 83-79.

Arizona Diamondbacks
AZ Snake Pit

Key Additions: J.J Putz, Geoff Blum, Henry Blanco, Zach Duke, Melvin Mora, Xavier Nady, Armando Galarraga, David Hernandez, Micah Owings

Key Losses: Mark Reynolds, Brandon Webb, Adam LaRoche, D.J Carrasco

Outlook: Like we've seen in previous years the Diamondbacks should have a young explosive offense this season.  Yes they lost most of their power in Reynolds and LaRoche, but they have a strong 1-5 in Stephen Drew, Kelly Johnson, Justin Upton, Miguel Montero and Chris Young.  They also went out and traded for Juan Miranda from the Yankees who might get the start at first base.  Some analysts think he can hit 20+ homeruns.  Scoring runs has never been a problem but keeping runs off the board has because of their lack of pitching.  However I think they've improved that.  They found a new ace last year when they got Dan Hudson from the White Sox, Ian Kennedy will continue to improve, Joe Saunders is a great #3, Barry Enright has some upside and Zack Duke has not lived up to his potential yet.  They also picked up Armando Galarraga, who we have all seen be robbed of a perfect game, as he'll compete for a spot.  If JJ Putz can stay healthy he should lead this team to more wins as he can be a top 10 closer in the league.  A .500 ballclub might be a stretch for the D'Backs in 2011, so ill say 74 wins.

San Diego Padres
Gaslamp Ball

Key Additions: Jason Bartlett, Cameron Maybin, Orlando Hudson, Jorge Cantu, Aaron Harang, Brad Hawpe, Chad Qualls

Key Losses: Adrian Gonzalez, Miguel Tejada, Jon Garland, Kevin Correia, Yorvit Torrealba, Chris Young, David Eckstein, Tony Gwynn Jr., Jerry Hairston, Scott Hairston

Outlook: Very similar to the Giants, the Padres found success through very good starting pitching and bullpen work.  Losing your only real offensive threat in Adrian Gonzalez who happens to be a super star, and the only player to drive in more than 58 runs for the Padres last year, will really hurt this team in 2011.  Sure they brought in Barlett, Maybin, Hudson, Cantu and Hawpe but there are reasons these guys did not make it with other teams.  This team will provide no power and once again will not put up many runs.  They've been getting it done with pitching but they lost Garland, Correia and Chris Young this year which leaves a good portion of their staff in question.  The Padres will take a major step back from 2010 when they won 90 games and will finish 10+ games under at 73-89.

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