It's the second series of the year and I am already weary about writing about the NL West. I was holding on to the hope that the Dodgers would stay healthy and restore some dignity to the division this year by winning 88 games or something, but look where that went. Hey, maybe El Duque and Miguel Batista are really as good as they looked against the Rockies that first series and the D-Backs' mix of diaper dandies and wizened veterans will do the trick. I don't think so, I think it's more likely that the Rockies' offense is just as bad as it was last year.
The first series of the year in score-depressing PetCo Park ought to be a good litmus test. San Diego's scheduled starters are Chris Young, Dewon Brazelton, and Jake Peavy, so Colorado ought to have a chance to score some runs in the first two games at least. Jason Jennings gets a chance to build on his terrific Opening Day outing against trendy NL Cy Young pick Peavy for Sunday's getaway game. It's not an original sentiment, but patience at the plate is paramount in this series. Colorado looks again like they're not going to hit a ton of homers on the season, so it's vitally important to get runners on base via the walk, and not give away outs swinging at crummy pitches. This means you, Matt Holliday!
Sun-Woo Kim suddenly looks a lot less appealing as a rotation option, so Josh Fogg and Zach Day's starts in the first two games of this series will go a long way towards deciding whom takes the fifth starter's job permanently after Byung-Hyun Kim's return from the disabled list. Fogg and Day are singularly unexciting pitchers, but Colorado still has a plenty good chance to win both of their starts in this series, which reflects again on the NL West's overall paucity of talent. For what it's worth, the Padres' lineup is equally power-deprived as Colorado's. Termel Sledge and Dave Roberts are two of the three starting outfielders, along with Brian Giles. Vinny Castilla is way past his sell-by date at third (to say nothing of Mike Piazza). Khalil Greene gets a lot of nice pub for his flashy glove and general surferness, but the guy has a career major league OBP of .321. Josh Barfield is unproven but already in the negative column in my reckoning for inspiring the stupid Mark Loretta-Doug Mirabelli trade. The best news the Padres have had so far this year was an injury to Ryan Klesko, since backup first baseman Adrian Gonzalez has raked in the two games so far. Gonzalez was the key element of the Adam Eaton/Akinori Otsuka trade which also included tonight's starter, Young. Padres fans have to be pretty happy with the very early returns from Gonzalez, previously best known for his glove.
Well, I was perhaps too optimistic about the first series at home, and given how pathetic the Rockies' bats looked against the Diamondbacks' wishy-washy second and third starters, I don't see how they're going to make this the year they reverse their awful road record trend. Particularly against Jake Peavy, perhaps the last true ace in the National League West. That Day-Brazelton matchup on Saturday sure isn't going to set a lot of TiVos alight. I say we win the middle game and finish up the first week a disappointing 2-4, but I hope I'm wrong.