Tuesday, August 4, 2009

ML NL West Division Preview

. Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The continuing series of division by division previews continues with the NL West:

1 - San Diego Padres

In the toughest division in baseball the Padres have won the last 4 consecutive division titles. The Padres do it with excellent balance of strong starting pitching and timely hitting. The Padres in offseason only re-signed a veteran catcher to catch their solid pitching. Overall the team is young with only 3 players over 30 years of age and numerous talented youngsters. The Padres set the season on fire last season with 117 regular season wins, but got ousted in the divisional round of the playoffs. They look to rebound from that disappointment and return to the World Series.

2 - Portland Rainmakers

In any other division this team would be picked to win the division, but being in the toughest division they will settle for 2nd place and a wild card slot in the playoffs. They have been very consistent the last 6 seasons with 5 playoff appearances as a Wild Card. In a division with a lot of pitching they will try to pound their way to wins with their solid hitting. They are lacking a little in pitching depth but should be enough to provide another playoff appearance.

3- St. Louis Spirits

This team has been on a slow rebuilding project for the last 9 seasons with competitive teams but finishing around .500 most seasons. They have very solid pitching which will need to carry their average offense on most nights. The most significant offseason move was to re-sign steady Starting Pitcher Fausto Guzman. This team looks to make increasing strides and be a wild card contender looking to reach 90 wins.

4 - Helena Triple H's

Another solid team in a tough division. Unlike their WWE counterpart Triple H there will probably be no championship this season with all of the divisional competition. This is another strong pitching team with 2 solid hitters and a bunch of role players. Pitching will rule on most nights with a lot of 2-1 and 3-2 wins and losses. But, this team could also surprise if they overachieve and contend for a Wild Card slot. There is a possibility with 4 teams in this division with over 90 wins but only 3 teams can go to the playoffs which is a shame. There are 8 players over the age of 30 so this team is stocked with veterans that could make a run for the division but the age may slow this team down during the long regular season.