BOSTON, MA: Ryan Ludwick #47 of the San Diego Padres connects for a broken-bat single during a game against the Boston Red Sox. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Right now, the National League West looks like a two-team race, but don't count out the Rockies and their insane winning streaks. Here are five second-half predictions for the NL West.
The best thing about the names of the divisions is that there's a pre-written hacky joke in place in the event that there are a more bad teams than good. My AP Baseball Writing Stylebook says these are the only options:
- AL or NL "Least"
- AL or NL "Comedy Central"
- AL or NL "Worst"
Hilarious witticisms, all. They never get old. That's the biggest issue with radical realignment; it could mess this symmetry up. If MLB goes to four divisions per league, they'll need a new division name. The NL Midworst? The AL Northleast? For shame, Bud Selig. For shame.
And now a prediction for every team in the NL Worst lol:
Prediction #1: Giants don't make a blockbuster trade
They'll make a trade, but it will be for someone like Yorvit Torrealba, Ivan Rodriguez, or Jamey Carroll. There are too many teams in on Carlos Beltran, and Jose Reyes isn't going anywhere. Plus, you know the old saying: "Make a minor trade for an old slugger about to retire because of performance-enhancing drug investigations and poor play if you must, but rely on players put on the waiver wire to get you to the World Series." It's a baseball truism as old as ten or eleven months ago, and maybe the Giants will hope for that same kind of
luck brilliant tactical maneuvering to pay off once more.
Prediction #2: Diamondbacks do make a blockbuster trade
This is just part of a theory of mine that is completely free from the shackles of "evidence" or "support": Teams that are in the middle of a surprising divisional run like to make big deadline trades. Call it The Good Faith Theory, in which the team feels like a splashy trade can impress a fan base that wasn't expecting to be so interested. It's an idea that has as much to do with long-term public relations as short-term performance, but it's a pretty sound short-term move, too.
The Diamondbacks could use an upgrade at first base, where Juan Miranda has disappeared, and Xavier Nady was not put on the DL with a strained Xavier Nady, a malady whose symptoms include hitting like Xavier Nady. They could also use one more upgrade in the rotation, as Zach Duke is the very definition of fifth starter. They aren't going to pull off anything crazy like Joe Saunders and a couple of A-ball arms for Dan Haren -- don't be ridiculous -- but they'll do something.
Prediction #3: Rockies will feign interest in trading Ubaldo Jimenez to see if someone will deliver a dump truck full of prospects
In this scenario, the internet explodes. Forensic investigators will uncover internet shrapnel from the wreckage, and after studying pieces like "andrew brakman and a player to be named" and "they can have jed lowry and a draft pickbut only if they take John Lackey back," they'll determine that baseball trade rumors done blew up the Web. Shame on you.
Also, the Rockies won't trade Ubaldo. But they'll listen, as any team should.
Prediction #4: Dodgers sleep on your couch until they get back on their feet
You were sweet in offering, but now they're just talking on the phone all day instead of looking for a job. There's a pair of pants behind the toilet, and they can't close a refrigerator door properly. You're going to have to say something soon.
Also, if you want a serious prediction, Matt Kemp will win the MVP. He's already close to a career high in home runs, and he'll soon moot the "must play for a contender" rule and become some sort of Andre Dawson anti-hero in the voting.
Prediction #5: Every pitcher with more than 50 innings pitched on the Padres will finish with an ERA below 3.50
It sounds insane, but only Clayton Richard and Mat Latos are above the mark now. Even in Petco National Park, that would be quite a feat, and the team is close. Aaron Harang has a 3.45 ERA, which is a 103 ERA+, meaning a 3.50 ERA is about a league-average pitcher in San Diego. A team filled with league-average or better pitchers? That sounds like something the Padres could scrape together, alright. The Padres will be 31-9 for the rest of the season when they score between 0.4 and 1.3 runs.
Predicted final standings: