The NL West looks to be the most competitive division in all of Baseball and Al Dannity reckons it could go to the final day.
Pick your poison The top of the National League’s West division is a bizarre cocktail of hitting, pitching, and balance. After accelerating through a re-building program the Giants are once again play-off contenders thanks to a superb rotation. Los Angeles can’t match San Franciso for pitching power but they possess an offense with proven hitters who will keep the scoreboard ticking over. Looking to prevent a Californian hegemony are the Rockies who have better fit somewhere in between LA and the Giants on both sides of the ball.
While it would be foolish to discount the Dodgers outright, they will probably still be the first ball-club to fall out of contention down the stretch. The combination of the distractions caused by the McCourt divorce and an aging line-up will prove detrimental as the season wears on and it’s hard to see Los Angeles matching up well with the hungrier challengers in the NL West.
The Rockies certainly look the more balanced of those challengers. With an established young core that brought Colorado the Wild Card berth already in place, the Rockies welcome back Jeff Francis to what is an effective but flawed pitching rotation. There are serious questions to answer in the bull-pen with Huston Street a notable injury worry, with an earliest projected return of May 1.
The Rockies’ pitching issues should be enough for the Giants to squeeze home with the division crown in 2010. With essentially no run support last year the Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain led pitching staff brought San Francisco to an 88-74 record. This season the offense is far from stellar but will provide some extra help to the Giants’ lethal pitching staff with the bats of Aubrey Huff and Mark Derosa. It’s going to be a tight one but in MLB betting it’s the tight ones where you find value and that’s why I’m back San Francisco to win the West.
A dark horse and a no-hoper Arizona hasn’t entered the NL West discussion which is unusual as they have the bones of a squad the could go above .500 in 2010. The main reason I can’t see the Diamondbacks contending is that they need every part to work this season in order to mount a serious challenge. With questions all over the park, from Mark Reynolds ability to prove he’s no fluke to Edwin Jackson consistency, it’s hard to see Arizona mounting a serious threat all the way to September.
The San Diego Padres are the Oakland As of the NL West. Like their American League counterparts, San Diego is the lone no-hoper in the most competitive division in its league. Fourth place could be possible if the D-Backs have a spectacularly collapse but otherwise this is a lost cause for 2010.
For the best MLB odds throughout the season check out Sports Interaction’s online sports book.