Aug 21, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Madison Bumgarner (40) hits a two run home run against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the second inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Well whoever thought the race for the National League West crown was a one-team race was wrong.
The San Francisco Giants are turning things around and playing solid ball, but even more surprising and important is the emergence of the Arizona Diamondbacks. Here’s the scary thing about this team in this particular division.
All year the Diamondbacks have shown they have one of the best offenses in the National League. Lead by All-Star and legitimate NL MVP candidate Paul Goldschmidt, they have solidified themselves as not only one of the best offenses in baseball, but also one of the best young teams in the game. The average age of a player on their team is 27 and they have budding stars in A.J. Pollock, David Peralta, Ender Inciarte, and Jake Lamb. This team is capable of scoring at will on any opposing pitcher in the game, ace or not.
Under rookie manager Chip Hale, they are getting hot at the right time. They are 12-9 in August and 20-15 since the All-Star break. But here’s the kicker. Their starting rotation has been in flux and without a doubt the weakness of this team. All season their rotation has….well….rotated but lately it’s actually been pretty solid and the key to the teams success.
The biggest boost came after the All-Star break when the landed the return of Patrick Corbin from Tommy John surgery. He was a Cy Young candidate in 2013 and he’s provided a near-ace status and outside one or two rough starts has been excellent. Even power lefty Robbie Ray, has been brilliant since being called up with a 3.38 ERA through 15 starts. Rubby De La Rosa, acquired in the offseason, has been lights-out in his past seven games sporting a 5-0 record with a 2.54 EAR and 26 K’s.
The results of a revamped pitching staff and the NL-best offense, they are now 61-60 and only 5 games back of the slumping Dodgers. Because of the Cubbies and Pirates, the Wildcard is out of the picture for the Diamondbacks. But neither the Giants or Dodgers are running away with the Division and the Diamondbacks are getting hot when it counts: the Dog Days. Whether the Snakes can stay hot or not, this will be an interesting division race and will only give this young Diamondbacks team valuable experience in what was supposed to be a rebuilding year.
Let’s take a look at this week’s version of MLB Power Rankings…