While the first series of season is by no means an etched in stone look at how the next 159 games will go, some interesting notes can be taken to help fill in the picture that is to be painted. Below is how each team in the NL West is faring with the first series of the season in the books.
Opening Series Observations: NL West
Los Angeles Dodgers
Adrian Gonzalez is en fuego. In the first two games of the year, Gonzalez hit a single, double, and home run in each game. To cap it off in the finale, Gonzalez went 4 for 4 with three home runs. En fuego may not do Gonzalez justice.
As expected, the Dodgers showed that it’s very true that they have bullpen problems. In game two of the series on Tuesday, the Dodgers used a total of seven pitchers. The Dodgers ultimately surrendered seven runs in a game that they were leading 2-1 when the bullpen took over in 7th inning.
Bullpens win championships when it comes to the postseason, and if the Dodgers plan on being there, they better find one ahead of time.
One last thing, it’s too early to call, but Clayton Kershaw gave up three earned runs in six innings on opening day, and earned a no decision. Though he struck out nine, it’s a bit of a sloppy start for opening day.
Kershaw faces the Diamondbacks this Saturday at Chase Field.
San Diego Padres
The Padres, though only winning one out of three in the opening series, played close with the Dodgers in the first two games of the series and secured the win on Tuesday night.
Matt Kemp returned to Dodger Stadium with vengeance, driving in all three of the Padres runs on opening day, and nabbed a stolen base in game two of series. So far, it looks like the Padres got the good end of the trade to get Kemp the Dodgers.
Craig Kimbrel, who the Padres traded for on the eve of opening day, was lights out in the ninth inning of game two of the series.
If this opening series is any indication, the Dodgers and Padres rivalry is going to be really fun to watch this year.
San Francisco Giants
Despite winning two out of three against Arizona, The Giants aren’t looking good right now, as they have caught a serious case of the injury bug.
Matt Cain, who was expected to make his long awaited return after being shut down last July, has been placed on the 15-day DL due a flexor tendon strain.
Jake Peavy was scratched from his scheduled start after experiencing back pain when throwing. And if things couldn’t get worse, Brandon Belt strained his right groin going after a foul ball in game two of the series.
The Giants will give Belt time off for precautionary reasons, and Peavy is expected to start Sunday against the Padres.
That’s just the recent injuries, as the Giants also lost Hunter Pence to a broken arm in Spring Training. Pence isn’t expected back until a couple months into the season.
When it rains it pours.
The good news for the Giants: Their AAA team made the switch of affiliation from Fresno to Sacramento this off season, so those injury call ups are just under one hundred miles away.
Quietly, without much fanfare, the Rockies opened up the season with a sweep against the Milwaukee Brewers.
As always with the Rockies, it’s a matter of not if, but when their star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki is going to get injured. For now, he’s healthy and off to a good start batting .429 with 2 RBI’s .
It’s early, but the Rockies are hot right now, and could be an early dark horse in the NL West.
Let’s just say, the Diamondbacks may be in for a long year.
The Diamondbacks surrendered a total of 16 runs in the opening series to the Giants, only winning one game out of the three.
The veterans of team, Paul Goldschmidt and Mark Trumbo combined for one RBI in the series.
Third baseman Jake Lamb, however, led the team in RBI’s with seven for the series. Three of those runs came off an 8th inning double off the bench on opening night, a shot that was just a few feet away from being a grand slam.
However, with the team giving up 16 runs throughout the series against a clobbered Giants team, seven RBI’s by one guy just isn’t enough.
The Diamondbacks will need to get some wins soon to keep the team confidence and interest going as the season progresses.
With Adrian Gonzalez and the Dodgers coming to town this weekend, that may have to wait until the next series.