Aug. 29-Sept. 4th 2022
Full disclosure, after two and a half years, COVID finally found me. And she found me pretty hard during the worst heatwave Los Angeles has seen in decades. But I swore to the baseball gods that I would put out this column every week. And I did take notes while listening to the games and weaving in and out of consciousness. So, uh, here’s the NL West in baseball this week, according to a woman deep in the grip of Lady Rona, translated later by the same woman with probably too much Claritin-D and Lacroix coursing through her veins.
The Note: whare WYYYYYYNNNNNNNNN
The Analysis: Honestly this is just a Wynton Bernard fan account now. One that is deeply heartbroken, because Bernard was optioned back to the Albuquerque Isotopes on Tuesday. He had more than just a cup of coffee, hitting .286 in a dozen games for the Rox. He also stole three bases and a small piece of my heart. Hope you’re back up again soon, Wynton.
The Note: whare GAAAAAMMME
The Analysis: Uh, the Rockies had a rainout on Saturday and played a doubleheader on Sunday.
Look, the Rockies aren’t going to be in the postseason, but there’s still one role open to them this season: spoiler. Their win over Atlanta on Tuesday helped the Mets stay on top of the division. If the Braves with that game, the division is tied going into Monday. The Rockies next face the Brewers, who currently sit 2.5 games out of a wild card slot. And while there is a fourteen game difference between the two teams and it should be clear who the favorite is, the series is at known nexus-of-the-infernal Coors Field. The Rockies have a better winning percentage at home than half of the six teams ahead of them in the wild card race – including Milwaukee. The Brewers best prepare their best wards and spells if they want to keep the wild card slot within reach.
The Rockies sit at 57-78 and are 16.5 games out of the wild card race.
The Note: [a lot of gibberish] hell yeahhhh get ‘em get ‘em POOL PARTIES FOR EVERYONE
The Analysis: The Diamondbacks had one hell of a home stand this week. The scoreboard operator got quite a workout as Diamondback opponents combined for a total of 38 runs against their host. But Arizona answered back with 45 runs for themselves. That’s a total of eighty-three runs for one ballpark in one week.
The numbers from the Phillies series alone are astronomically comical. Between the two teams, 101 players were left on base. 74 hits. 22 walks. 17 doubles. 2 triples. And only five home runs for the entire series. All hail small ball.
The Brewers series was a little more sane, with the D-backs taking three out of four from Milwaukee. And by taking two of three from the Phillies, a faint dream of October baseball might just be dancing in their heads. Arizona might be 28 games out of first in the division, but they are only 8.5 games out of a wild card slot and they just won eight of their last ten. Both the teams they beat this week are above them in NL Wild Card standings.
This week, the D-backs hit the road for San Diego then Colorado. Both division rivals, the Padres are fighting to keep their wildcard slot and oh wouldn’t it be some kind of thing if the Diamondbacks were the ones to knock it from Friar hands?
Diamondbacks sit at 64-69 and are loudly rattling their way into a hot September. It’ll be interesting to see who gets bit.
San Francisco Giants
The Note: haaaaaaaaahaaaaaaahaaaaaaaa but also nooooooooo
The Analysis: The Padres swept the Giants in three separate games with a one run difference. Yet again, it was starting pitching that made the difference for San Francisco, Logan Webb excepting. Alex Wood gave up four runs in 4.2 innings, blowing his ERA up to 5.10. He was moved to the injured list a few days later with a left shoulder impingement. Starter Carlos Rodón gave up a surprising five runs in four innings. After a shaky May, Rodón threw a hot 1.25 ERA in June then settled down into a solid presence in the Giants rotation. His ERA currently sits at 2.92.
As a noted-but-trying-to-be-impartial-in-this-situation Dodgers fan, I was kind of hoping the Giants would win at least one to keep the wild card game pot extra spicy.
The Note: how much you think the philllies hate the west coast rn
The Analysis: The Phillies probably really hate the NL West this week. After the aforementioned scoring insanity at Chase Field in Arizona, the Giants clobbered the Phillies 13 to 1 on Friday. It was the first of a three game sweep.
If the Diamondbacks are making noises about shaking up the wild card race, then I suppose the Giants must be in the conversation as well as they are half a game up on Arizona. But they are two different teams with very different trajectories.
Compared to this time last year, the 2022 Giants just seem tired. Their starters are inconsistent. The bench is filled with a rotating cast of call-ups covering an ever-growing injured list. They’ve lost seven of their last ten. Yeah they swept the Phillies, but now they hit the road to face the Dodgers for three games in Los Angeles, a doubleheader against the Brewers on Thursday, and a three game series in Chicago against the Cubs to finish the week. Then they immediately face Atlanta at home on Monday.
If they aren’t tired now, they very soon will be. Heck, I’m tired just looking at that schedule.
San Francisco is currently 64-68 and hopefully has really comfy travel pillows on their plane. They’re gonna need more than a few in-flight naps.
San Diego Padres
The Note: they hangry
The Analysis: I’m pretty sure this is an attempted joke about the Hungry For More platitude of last year but it’s been done before and done better. Forgive a hallucinating woman. But the Padres are playing with a hungry sort of desperation again this year. And considering the pressures both on the field and off, it’s not surprising.
I didn’t mention it above, but the opening game against the Giants was fraught with distractions. In the bottom of the first inning, home plate umpire Marvin Hudson slid on a patch of grass, falling to the ground. It was clear that he had injured something in his leg. And in a game where the plate umpire bends down an average of just under three hundred times, a leg injury is no joke. 2B umpire John Tumpane suited up and took over for Hudson and the game resumed within ten minutes. Then, in the top of the third, there was a lighting issue that caused a 40 minute lighting delay. Yet still the Dads prevailed.
Hudson’s injury might be more than just a twinge. He was out for the rest of the series and did not travel to St. Louis with the rest of his crew.
The second game also featured an umpire mishap, this one much less painful, however. First base umpire Adrian Johnson was caught dropping a spicy word on the new public address system.
Los Angeles Dodgers
The Note: – 1 trumpet NOT THE PAVILIONS
The Analysis: The baseball world collectively flipping out over one live trumpet player is serious erasure of the whole-ass mariachi band that frequents the Dodger pavilions. Bitterness of that aside, it was an insanely cool moment in a sport desperately searching for insanely cool moments. Now can we please never hear that song again. Especially out of Atlanta.
The Notes: —-mets mets meet the mets and sppppyyyyyyy on them
The Analysis: In what may very well be a preview of postseason playoffs, the Dodgers dropped a series that I’m kind of ok with. It probably helped that I was in and out of a fever dream for most of it.
Look. Jacob deGrom is god-like, but Mookie got to him and, if not for a good read and an even better jump from Brandon Nimmo, Justin Turner would have left the yard as well. I don’t love the fact that Caleb Ferguson gave up two runs but since he’s still sitting on a minuscule 1.78 ERA in 25 innings, I’m gonna go ahead and not freak out about it. Especially since he came back with a three strikeout inning against the Padres today.
And hey. The Mets are good. I’m not going to pretend like I’m unconcerned about facing them in a championship series. They’re gonna be a problem. But I think they’re a problem that the Dodgers can handle, especially in friendlier environs. And the Dodgers record this year ensues that any home field advantages to be had will belong to them. And if you think we won’t bring our own trumpets to the postseason, you got another thing coming.
The Dodgers remain the only team in MLB with more than 90 wins at a record of 92-41. They face the Giants at home, have an off day, then finish the week in San Diego. Aside from one series against the Cardinals, the Dodgers only face off against NL West teams for the rest of the season.
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