Your weekly recap on the Best (and Worst) of the West.
August 22-28, 2022
This week, the Rockies technically split a series with the Rangers. But considering they got outscored 22-11 over the two games, I’m not sure it was an even split. Coors Field gonna Coors Field and sometimes it does not Coors Field for thee.
The road series against the Mets was a much more evenly scored match-up overall, despite ultimately dropping three out of four games. Of note is Rockies starter Germán Márquez who went toe to toe with the Mets powerhouse Max Scherzer. Both pitched seven full innings. Scherzer gave up four hits and one earned run. Márquez gave up one hit and allowed no runs, earning the win in a game where that one run made the difference. Scherzer still put in a hell of a performance, racking up eleven strikeouts with only one walk. Márquez had four K’s with two walks. And one W he should be very proud of.
Colorado is 15 games out of a wild card spot and not going to see October baseball. They rank second, however, in number of wins for teams in last place for their division. So that’s something.
A great week for Diamondback fans. After splitting a series against the Royals, they traveled to Chicago for a three-game series sweep of the White Sox.
The pitching was excellent, especially from the starters who, with the exception of Merrill Kelly, gave up just four earned runs for the entire week. Kelly gave up four himself to the White Sox on Saturday, but considering he went seven and a third and put up zeros in six of those innings, it’s hard to call it a bad outing, especially when the Arizona offense put ten runs on the board to earn him his eleventh win of the season. Kelly’s ERA sits at 2.97 for the season.
The standout on offense was Daulton Varsho, who reached base every in every game this week, twice on home runs. He also scored six runs. Not your typical utility man, Varsho divides his defensive time behind the plate and in the outfield, though not evenly. Carson Kelly still catches the bulk of Arizona’s games.
The D-backs face Philadelphia and Milwaukee at home this week. They are 9.5 games out of a wild card spot. Not an impossible goal, just an extremely improbable one.
San Francisco Giants
A hard week to be a Giants fan. After splitting a two-game series in Detroit, the Giants were then swept hard by the Twins in Minnesota. They were outscored 27-9 on the week. Ouch.
Main issue this week was the starters, who gave up 21 earned runs combined. The bullpen allowed only four earned runs. Starters Logan Webb and Jakob Junis were both pulled in the fifth innings of their games after giving up six runs apiece. The Twins’ Alex Wood was on the hook for eight earned runs in three innings.
The offense wasn’t much better. Only six players had multi-hit games. The rest garnered one to none per game.
On the sunny side of things, lefty starter Carlos Rodón gave up just one run with ten strikeouts in seven innings against Detroit on Tuesday. RHP Alex Cobb put up five zeroes and seven K’s on the scoreboard against the Brewers. And despite the wildly disparate scores, the Giants aren’t being wildly out-hit (only being out-hit 44-31). They just seem to be unable to push across the runs when it’s most needed.
The Giants are seven and a half games out of a National League wild-card spot. It’s conceivable that they could make up those games, but that’s not where I’d put my money. The upcoming series against the Padres is pretty much do-or-die. A sweep in their favor could put them in serious contention for that third slot. A sweep in the other direction pretty much puts the last nail in their playoff coffin.
San Diego Padres
San Diego ended a rough home stand this week with a two-game series loss to Cleveland. The Guardians outscored the Friars ten runs to one. Wednesday’s game was a 7-0 shutout.
Coming off of that frustration, the Padre bats came alive against the Kansas City Royals on Friday for a 13-5 win. It started off looking like it might be a runaway game for Kansas City. Padres starter Joe Musgrove left the game in the fourth after giving up eight hits and five runs, only two of which were earned. Both the offense and the bullpen stepped up, holding the Royals to just three hits with no runs over the next five and a half innings. Notable performances: shortstop Ha-Seong Kim, who knocked in five RBI in six at-bats, and rookie call-up José Azocar, who went 4-for-5 at the plate.
While the Padres did win the overall series against Kansas City, Sunday’s loss was a tough one. The Royals tagged starter Sean Manaea for five runs in the bottom of the first and eventually gave up another in the fourth. This was followed by an almost complete collapse of recent acquisition Josh Hader. The Padres offense pulled within three runs of the Royals going into the bottom of the eighth. Then Hader gave up five hits and two walks for a total of six earned runs. It was a hole that the Padres batters couldn’t climb out of.
Hader’s career ERA is 2.78. His number with the Padres? 23.14 since the Brewers trade and a 6.25 on the season as a whole.
On an extremely happy note, it seems that Juan Soto and Manny Machado have become fast friends. They even have a new handshake that has them both smiling big. This is exactly the kind of attitude the Padres clubhouse needs right now after the roller coaster of previous weeks.
On a somewhat sad note, Adidas terminated its partnership with Fernando Tatís, Jr., this week. It’s not a surprising move and ultimately the right one when it comes to an athletic sponsorship. The sadness comes from another indicator of a wasted season of a bright young player due to bad decisions. It still sucks and will continue to suck that he can’t be on a team with Juan Soto until well into next year.
San Diego is still in the third NL wild card position, but the Brewers are only 1.5 games back. The Padres remain on the road for the rest of the week, playing the Giants and Dodgers, both in three-game series. As mentioned above, the Giants series will be of particular note when it comes to San Francisco’s chances at a postseason. Should be some interesting baseball played between them this week.
Los Angeles Dodgers
This week’s schedule for the Boys in Blue was an inverse repeat of the previous week, hosting the Brewers at home before heading to Miami for a four-game series that will finish on Monday.
Look, at this point, the Dodgers are on cruise control. Sure, they were shut out by the Brewers on Monday. Sure, they lost a game to Miami. But it still feels like they are steamrolling their way to October unimpeded.
That Mookie Betts, huh? He is Hitting .355 in his last seven games with four home runs; Trea Turner is hitting .407 in his last seven, and Freddie Freeman, .394. And that’s just the top of the lineup.
The only fly in the ointment right now is the closer position. Craig Kimbrel has been the closer but with a 4.26 ERA and four blown saves. It’s been a hell of a rollercoaster ride that might just be reaching the end. This week, Dave Roberts only sent out Kimbrel once, in the eighth inning of a game the Dodgers were losing by one run at the time. Then again, scores this week didn’t exactly make for save conditions, so perhaps this is just a good time to rest an arm.
When mentioning closing roles, it’s worth noting that Hanser Alberto saw two innings of relief this week against the Brewers. Alberto has now pitched in six innings for the Dodgers with a 4.50 ERA. And if you’re not familiar, Hanser is a utility man who has played every position on the field this season except left field, center field, and catcher. Still a lot of baseball left for him to hit all nine spots.
The Dodgers have one more game in Miami on Monday. Tuesday, they head to New York to face the Mets before returning home to host the Padres. Could the Mets series be an NLCS preview? Maybe, maybe.
With two series wins, the Dodgers are fifty games over .500 at 88-38, the best record in all of baseball.
All statistics and standing are up to date as of the end of play on August 28th.