Around the Hill: Question of the Week: Who Will Win the NL West?

Spencer Serling

Colgate Sports Editor

Three and a half games may seem like a crazy deficit for most teams, but for this experienced San Francisco Giants team, it is one I expect them to overcome.

While the Giants suffered a crushing defeat to Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw Sunday night, I expect them to be ready next time they face him and the Dodgers dominant pitching staff. With the Giants upcoming schedule featuring easy opponents in the Arizona Diamondbacks and the San Diego Padres, they will come into their series with the Dodgers confident and seeking revenge. A lineup with seasoned playoff veterans like Buster Posey and Hunter Pence understand the necessity of claiming the NL West crown. Additionally, in terms of the Giants pitching, Madison Bumgarner has been strong all season long and is a pitcher that manager Bruce Bochy can turn to if a one-game playoff were needed to settle the title. 

While three of their final four series come on the road, ending the season at home with four winnable games against the San Diego Padres should keep the Giants’ spirits high. Additionally, the Dodgers’ lineup does posess Wild Card bats in a lot of players who have been known to underperform on playoff teams. Both Dee Gordon and Hanley Ramirez, key contact hitters in this deep Dodgers lineup, do not have a lot of playoff experience and were not particularly great in last year’s postseason for Don Mattingly’s team. That inexperience may very well cost them down the road. In the end, I believe that the San Francisco Giants will take the NL West crown and relegate the Dodgers to battle it out for a berth via the Wild Card race.


By Ben Glassman

National Sports Editor

Though there are close playoff races around the league, the Dodgers and Giants’ battle for first place in the NL West may very well be the most entertaining one. As of Monday, the long-time rivals were separated by just three games, with L.A.’s 85-64 record giving them the advantage over San Francisco, which sat at 82-67. There are still about a dozen games remaining for each team this season, but I think that the deficit is just a little too much for the Giants to overcome. If all goes according to plan, the Dodgers will be crowned division champions come the end of September.

Last week in San Francisco, the Giants hosted Los Angeles for a three-game series and got a rude reminder as to just how good their California neighbors really are. After easily taking the first game 9-0, the Giants were clobbered 17-0 in game two, surrendering 24 hits in the process, the most ever at AT&T Park. The third game was a tad better, but frankly the home team’s hitters were at the mercy of Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw and managed to scratch across just two runs in a 4-2 loss.

The last two games really highlighted the major advantage that L.A. has over San Francisco: pitching. Having Kershaw alone is important enough – the MVP candidate leads all of baseball with 19 wins, a 1.70 ERA, a .190 batting average against, and a .83 WHIP. The rest of the rotation also features Zach Greinke, who has a top-10 ERA and record, Hyun-Jin Ryu (14 wins and a 3.38 ERA) and three-time All-Star Dan Haren. Though Ryu suffered a shoulder injury in the Giants series, his MRI results looked positive and he will likely miss just one start as a result.

To be sure, the Giants are an extremely talented club featuring one of the game’s best offenses, but the Dodgers are simply a step above. San Francisco will definitely make it to the postseason, but as a Wild Card, not a division champion.


By Arman Tabatabai

Maroon-News Staff

With 13 games left to play, the Los Angeles Dodgers find themselves clinging to a three-game division lead over the dangerous San Francisco Giants. With spotty defense, depth concerns and a recent shoulder injury causing Hyun-Jin Ryu to exit his last start after just one inning, the tight lead looks increasingly unsafe.   

Despite these worries, there’s a lot more for Dodger fans to be optimistic about than there is for them to fear. Even in the worst-case outcome in which Ryu would be unable to throw for the rest of the regular season, L.A. still undoubtedly has one of the hottest and most dominant rotations in all of baseball. In addition to ace Clayton Kershaw having one of the best pitching seasons in the past two decades (he’s a lock to win his third Cy Young award in four years), Zack Greinke and the streaking Dan Haren make the Dodgers’ rotation a tough obstacle in any series. While Greinke has long established himself as a force on the hill over the course of the season and his greater career, Haren’s season has been inconsistent to say the least. However, over the last month, he has been overpowering opposing bats, holding a sub-2.00 ERA.  

Even more comforting is the fact that six of L.A.’s last 13 games are against the last place Colorado Rockies, but three are against the chasing Giants. Of those three games, Greinke will be starting in one showdown, with the practically unbeatable Kershaw taking the hill in the other two. The cherry on top of the Dodgers’ strong arms is the team’s streaking bats, specifically outfielder Matt Kemp, who is hitting over .300 with over 30 RBI since the all-star break.