“Trouble Brewing in NL West”
They keep winning, the Padres and Dodgers. But can they keep it up?
You might call it with ‘smoke and mirrors’. You might say it is a product of playing a really week schedule out of the gate. You might say they are 1-dimension teams.
Between them, LA and San Diego have a combined record of (47-25).
The Padres have their best in season starting record since 1998.
They have done it with exceptional starting pitching from all their arms, and from a gem of a closer in Taylor Rogers.
It’s happened with no sighting yet of SS-Fernando Tatis, but overtime you look up Manny Machado and Eric Hosmer get key hits.
And the Padres rotation is more than Yu Darvish and Joe Musgrove and the rookie Mackenzie Gore.
Now .Mike Clevinger has come off the disabled list and show signs of being the power pitcher who compiled a (41-26) with the Cleveland Indians before his deal to San Diego, and before his elbow surgery and then knee problems.
Sean Manaea has come from Oakland and been to the Friars like he was to the A’s, a back of the rotation guy, who competes and gives you lots of innings.
Even journeyman free agent Nick Martinez, from Japan, has given the team some strong starts along the way.
And Blake Snell will step to the mound next with the hope his groin problems of late last season and then this spring have gone. He was dominant the back half of last season, vintage Tampa Bay like Blake Snell outings.
That’s a ton of starting pitchers, on a staff with a history of breaking down.
The bullpen, though getting lots of use, has had more good outings than bad.
This looks like a trust-worthy pennant race pitching staff built for the long hot summer..
You cannot say that about the Dodgers, though they are winning games with a power laden batting order. But heading into the teeth of a 162-game summer,, they are in trouble.
Walker Beuhler and Julio Urias head up a starting staff, both proven stars. But after that they have issues.
Clayton Kershaw, off to an All Star (4-0) start, is shelved again, with hip and back issues. An epidural injection has not helped. Who knows how long he will be out
Lefthander Andrew Heaney, found wanting in Anaheim and Baltimore before that, is on the disabled list with shoulder issues.
David Price is a shell of the aging pitcher we used to see in Tampa Bay and Boston, and has never been the same since the pre-Covid day.
Dustin May, the flamethrowing young arm, has been out since early last spring coming off Tommy John surgery, and though throwing, won’t be back till August.
Tony Gonsolin has bounced back from a disappointing season last year, but no one really knows if he will give you quality outings start to start.
After that there are problems everywhere on that staff. Rookie Ryan Pepiot has been forced to the majors from Oklahoma City and does not appear ready.
The Dodgers bullpen had worries before spring training even opened, when Kenly Jansen left for Atlanta. Enter Craig Kimbrel in the White Sox trade during the spring.. As they came, Joe Kelly and Corey Knebel left as free agents.
But gone till August is Blake Treinen, with big time shoulder woes. Left after that are an array of guys you might not trust day-to-day in that pen, led by Brusdar Graterol , Daniel Hudson and Phil Bickford. And there’s nothing else left at Oklahoma City.
Add on the unresolved discipline case with Trevor Bauer, a radio active pitcher, still on administrative leave, and whom most believe will never toe the slab again wearing LA-colors. That’s 324-games worth of suspension and 62M in salary owed for the next two years that a 3-panel arbitration panel will decide.
The Dodgers are blasting people with a power laden lineup, and that has carried them. You know the names, Freddie Freeman, Mookie Betts, Trea Turner, Justin Turner.
The Padres have Mannie Machado-Eric Hosmer, and fill out the lineup card with sometimes 7-guys hitting less than .220.
The bats may carry LA, but the pitching can carry San Diego.
The Padres are capped out budget wise at 228M so what they have now must be what gets them the pennant.
The Dodgers payroll is at 290M till there is a resolution on the the status of Bauer’s 32M contract.
This looks like a two team race, and they still have 16-games left between them till the end of the season.
Good pitching, lots of good pitching, beats good hitting. Bad pitching can do you in regardless of how many runs you score.
Memorial Day weekend is really the beginning of pennant race baseball.
San Diego looks to be in good spot. Los Angeles is not.