Well, at least 1 game is in the books now for each NL West teams. The Dodgers stand at 2-1, the Padres and Giants at 1-0, the Diamondbacks at 0-3 and Rockies at 0-1. So how should each team feel so far? The answer is pretty simple – the Padres should feel the best! If only baseball season wasn’t 162 games long, it would be cause for celebration. Let’s recap:
1. Dodgers (2-1): The Dodgers played two pretty good games in Australia, winning both of them with great pitching and hitting. However, after his first outing wunderkind Clayton Kershaw developed some soreness in his prized pitching arm and hit the 15-day DL. There is already some drama with Cuban phenom Yasiel Puig and his manager, which can be very distracting on a team. Then, they came into San Diego for Opening Night in the States and proceeded to lose 3-1. Positives there were that after a shaky first couple innings, Hyun-Jin Ryu looked really good in the game. The bullpen also appears to be a problem, as they allowed 4 runs in game 2 of the season, then Brian Wilson allowed 3 runs on Sunday before recording an out. Grade: B-
2. Padres (1-0): Opening Night went exactly to script. Andrew Cashner pitched like the ace he needs to be this season. The defense looked very good despite a few injuries already. Even the Padres ballgirl got into the action. The bullpen was outstanding, and we haven’t even seen Joaquin Benoit yet. The offense was a little shaky early on, 4 RISP in the first two innings of the game, but came through when it counted. Grade: A
3. Giants (1-): Though as a Giants fan you love the offense shown in the Opening Day 9-8 win, you do not like the fact that your opening day starter Madison Bumgarner allowed 4 runs, though all unearned, in just 4 innings of work. However, after the next reliever allowed 3 more, your bullpen corps came together the rest of the way only allowing 1 the final three innings. You hung on for the victory after scoring two runs in the ninth. You also have to love the fact that your team was down 7-3 and had the resilience to come back. It could certainly be argued last year’s team which finished in 4th place did not have the same “fight factor”. Grade: B+
4. Diamondbacks (0-3): Again here, you are thrilled you scored 8 runs in the first game of the season. However, you don’t like that Brandon McCarthy allowed 5 earned runs in 6+ innings of work, and worse that your new closer blew the game in the 9th. So far your pitching staff has allowed 18 runs in three games with your offense scoring 14 runs. Yet hard to think you can outmash in a division with stellar pitching like the NL West. Grade: C
5. Rockies (0-1): Even though the Diamondbacks are 0-3, at least they have scored 14 runs…the Rockies were annilihated yesterday thanks to Rookie of the Year Jose Fernandez. The Rockies lost 10-1 on Monday, only managing 6 hits. Thankfully, one of them was a Carlos Gonzalez home run, but besides that not much else to say about the game. About the only positive here is that both Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez were healthy enough to play together in the same game! Grade: F
All five teams resume their fight for the NL West Division Championship today!