It's a pitching heavy Blender this time around.
The Dodgers are in a five-way tie for the wild card right now! That's going to lead to a complicated playoff home field coin-flip if this tie holds up until the end of the season. The only undefeated team left in baseball are the Royals of western Missouri. I don't feel as bad about the Dodgers failing to stay undefeated Wednesday night knowing that, for some reason.
It was a great half-week for bullpen schadenfreude in the NL West. Both Trevor Hoffman and Brandon Lyon blew saves that led to losses for their teams. There's no reason to panic after one blown save, but it's possible that Lyon may not be up for the job, and the Snakes may end up changing closers a few times this year while they try to figure out which of the great relievers of 2007 are up to repeating that performance in 2008.
In the wake of Trevor Hoffman's 4 run meltdown, the following poll appeared on Padres blog Gaslamp Ball:
You're either with Trevor Hoffman or against him. What's it gonna be?
* I stand by my man! I'm with him!
* I side with the terroists! I'm against him!
Hmmm ... I'm going to have to side with the terrorists on this one.
The Padres have had good starts from everyone so far. Fifth starter and possible weak link Germano opens the series with the Dodgers tonight. In his start Peavy was great through a scoreless 7, though he had only 4 strikeouts. The most important pitching line for the Padres was probably Randy Wolf's, with 1 run allowed in six innings, with 5 strikeouts. If Wolf can give the Padres these kinds of starts all year then they're going to do a lot better than the 82-80 record I foolishly predicted for them.
Chris Young was okay in his start. More about him, from Padres blog Ducksnorts:
As for the game, Chris Young’s final line looks decent, but don’t be fooled. His inefficiency has been well documented, and on Tuesday, he added to the legend, throwing 112 pitches in 5 2/3 innings and going to three-ball counts on 8 of the 27 batters he faced.
Sounds like something Kuo or Billingsly might do. Or Penny if he's getting fouled off a lot. The more important goal for Young will just be to stay healthy, I think.
The Rockies had the worst pitching series of anyone. Francis was rocked in his rained out start; Jimenez was wild, with 46 balls in 100 pitches; Cook was just ineffective. Kip Wells did the best of anyone in his fill-in start. The bad news for the Rockies is that so far their starting pitching looks pretty bad, and they haven't even gone to their four and five starters yet! The good news is that it's only three games. But I'm beginning to wonder if the Rockies rotation is really up to the job this year. I don't trust any of these guys except Francis.
The Snakes had decent starts from Haren and Webb, and an awful, wild start from Doug Davis. I don't know how good anyone can expect Davis to be with his cancer surgery coming up. Of course, even if he had never had cancer he is certainly capable of being a bad starting pitcher.
Snakes first baseman Conor Jackson had to come out of Wednesday's game with shortness of breath, and he wasn't in the lineup on Thursday. Doctors suspect the cause is pneumonia.
It's going to be a challenge weekend in the NL West Blender, with the Dodgers visiting the Padres and the Snakes at the Rockies. I'll be at the Saturday game in San Diego --- my first ever trip to Petco Park!