NL West: Two’s a company, three’s a crowd
The Rockies and Dodgers sit atop the West while the Diamondbacks keep the race crowded.
There are two weeks left in the season and the NL West is still up for grabs. The Los Angeles Dodgers and Colorado Rockies continue their battle for the division title while the Diamondbacks are doing everything possible to stay in contention. Like the rest of the NL, anything can happen between now and September 30, the final day of the regular season, and no lead is safe with 12 games remaining.
Last week was a rough week for all three clubs, which kept the division race in check. However, one team is hot, another is in the middle and the other is on the verge of elimination. Without further ado, let’s recap how last week went in the NL West division race.
Dodgers rebound from a tough start
Of the three clubs, the Dodgers had the easiest schedule last week. A seven-game road trip featured the last-place Cincinnati Reds and wild card hopeful St. Louis Cardinals. It looked like the Cardinals would be the team that gave the Dodgers fits, but it went the other way around. After the Reds swept the Dodgers in a four-game series at Dodger Stadium in June, the Reds took the first two games of the three-game set, winning by finals of 10-6 and 3-1. Fortunately for the Dodgers, they avoided a season sweep to one of the worst clubs in baseball with an 8-1 win last Wednesday.
It looked like the Reds had sucked the life out of the Dodgers going into St. Louis, but instead, the Dodgers found the much-needed life in their quest for their sixth consecutive division title. The Dodgers’ offense found its groove and took three out of four games, including 17 runs on Saturday and five home runs in 24 hours by Yasiel Puig. Though they got shut out Sunday night, they took the first game of a crucial three-game series against the Rockies last night by the final of 8-2. Recent history has shown that the Dodgers are unstoppable when they get on a groove and, unfortunately for the rest of the division, it looks like they’re on another hot streak with twelve games left in the season.
The Rockies take key series, lose one in return
The Rockies made a statement as they welcomed the Diamondbacks last week for a four-game set with the division lead. Thanks to an outburst of offense and good pitching from the starters and bullpen, the Rockies took three out of four and widened their division lead thanks to the Dodgers struggles in Cincinnati. Trevor Story and Nolan Arenado led the charge as their quests for the NL MVP award continue and Kyle Freeland continued his pitching dominance.
Winning three out of four against the Diamondbacks helped as the club made their way to San Francisco for a three-game weekend series against the Giants. Sadly, the Giants held the Rockies offense in check, shutting them out in back-to-back games thanks to stellar pitching by Chris Stratton and Madison Bumgarner. It was the second time in a month that the Giants put up back-to-back shutouts against division rivals, doing it to the Diamondbacks at the end of August. Unfortunately for the Rockies they also lost the division lead even though they avoided the sweep with a 3-2 win Sunday. The Rockies lost their series opener to the Dodgers last night and again lost the division lead but Freeland will take the hill tonight, which is exactly who the Rockies want on the mound in a must-win game.
Diamondbacks fall closer to elimination
September couldn’t be worse for a team that has so much potential and has been inconsistent in every aspect all season. The Diamondbacks offense has struggled to score runs and get base hits throughout September, and they have yet to win a series. They lost three out of four to the Rockies last week and barely salvaged a win in Houston last Friday. Zack Greinke, who’s been the clubs best pitcher for most of the season, has lost or failed to record a win in his last two outings and Zack Godley has struggled during the month.
The Diamondbacks opened a three-game set with the Chicago Cubs last night and promptly lost 5-1 while recording three hits. As inconsistent as the team has been, the only reason they remain in the playoff race is that of the inconsistency from the Dodgers and Rockies earlier this year. They welcome the Rockies one last time this weekend at Chase Field and if they fail to make a statement against them, Arizona will miss out on October baseball on what was a promising start.