Dodgers .500 Record Still Good Enough in NL West

I’ve written repeatedly that the National League West is the worst division in baseball, and nothing that has happened within the division so far this young season has worked to dispel that truism. As the Dodgers, in first place in the division at 12-12, prepare for the second game of their three game series with San Diego, no team in the West is over .500, and the division, yet to play an interleague game, boasts a record of 5-11 against NL East teams and sits at 12-17 versus National League Central teams, for an overall record outside of its moribund domain of 17-28, a won-lost record befitting the 2015-2016 Los Angeles Lakers. It won’t get better anytime soon for the Dodgers, as once they finish the current

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series with the Padres, they meet their first taste of American League East teams, first with two in Tampa Bay to then be followed with a three game set in Toronto. And then, despite coming home, it gets really tough, with a four game set against the Mets followed by three with the Cardinals.

Unlike the high-flying Mets, neither the Rays nor
the Blue Jays nor the Cards have gotten off to stellar starts either, but they play in significantly tougher divisions than the Dodgers, maybe the two toughest, certainly two of the three toughest, and Toronto and St. Louis were their division winners last season.

I guess by starting off writing all this I’m avoiding last night. Despite platitudes heaped upon former Padres’ and current Dodgers’ catcher Yasmani Gandal, I still think last year’s trade sending Matt Kemp down south in the deal for Grandal was a horrible trade for the Dodgers, After a solid 2015 (23 HRs, 100 RBI) playing on what proved to be a very bad team, Kemp has had a fine start to 2016, capped off so far by his eighth inning, three-run home run, breaking a 1-1 tie to give the Padres the win in the series opener. Kemp’s seven home runs for this season are more than double the total of any Dodgers’ player so far. In a rare fluke, Grandal hit his first homer of the season in the game.

Kemp’s game winner was off of, guess who – Christ Hatcher – who now sports an 8.44 ERA and 1.78 WHIP. One really has to wonder how much longer Manager Dave Roberts will continue to use the empty uniform non-manager don mattingly’s pet in such key spots and actually, at all. Too bad mattingly didn’t box up Hatcher and take him along to Miami. If he had, the Dodgers might have actually won one of these four embarrassing games this

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past week against the Marlins.

Tonight, Ross Stripling gets the start, with Colin Rea going for San Diego. Luckily for the Dodgers, maybe, is the fact that Rea sports Hatcher-like stats for this season - a 5.06 ERA and 1.69 WHIP, though he's only allowed six runs over his last 17 innings

On another note, Tigers' righty Jordan Zimmermann, who may well prove to be this
year’s best free agent pickup by any team, won his fifth game of the season, joining Chris Sale and Jake Arrieta each at 5-0. But Zimmerman might actually be pitching the best among the three, and the rest of baseball, having now allowed a grand total of two earned runs over his five games, for an ERA of 0.55. Zimmermann, 29, signed a five-year, $110 Million contract with Detroit, a significantly better deal for the team than deals like Zack Greinke’s six-year, $206 M contract with Arizona that extends close to his 38th birthday, or Johnny Cueto’s $130 M, 6-year contract with the Giants, that pays him until he is 36. Zimmermann also has a lower lifetime ERA and lower lifetime WHIP than either Greinke or Cueto.

But the question of the day in LA is can Ross Stripling and the Dodgers end the team’s five-game losing streak?

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