Originally posted on Full Spectrum Baseball  |  Last updated 5/3/12

 

Dodgers

Consider for a moment that the Dodgers are sitting pretty at 17-7 with a 4 game lead in the National League West division.  That represents quite an improvement over what was barely a .500 team a year ago.  Is the fast start a fluke, a result of favorable scheduling match-ups, or is it sustainable?  Is it some combination of those 3?

  1. Los Angeles Dodgers – 17-7
  2. Arizona Diamondbacks – 13-11  (4.0 back)
  3. San Francisco Giants – 12-11  (4.5 back)
  4. Colorado Rockies – 11-12  (5.5 back)
  5. San Diego Padres – 8-17  (9.5 back)

The Dodgers currently have approximately a 63% chance of making the playoffs right now which means close to nothing.  After all the Padres have about a 6% chance of making the playoffs, and that is about 6% too high.  There are different ways of assessing “strength of schedule”, but I have a practical assessment that relies on a few criteria:

  • How many times a team has played the Astros
  • How many times a team has played the Padres
  • How many times a team has played division rivals expected to contend
  • How many series a team has played against opponents that made the playoffs the previous year

Of the 24 games played by the Dodgers, 7 have been against the Padres, and the Dodgers are 6-1 in those games.  The Dodgers also has taken 2 out of 3 from the Astros and swept the Pirates in a 3 game set.  While they have fared just fine against some quality opponents like Milwaukee, Atlanta, and the Nationals, it just seems like the Dodgers have built a lead on a house of cards that cannot stand for long.  Eventually they have to prove that they can beat Arizona and San Francisco.  If they can even play those 2 teams to a standstill, I’ll consider reserving a spot on the Dodgers bandwagon.  Until then, I am still not convinced that they are the class of the West.

At this stage, I am inclined to give the Diamondbacks the nod.  Why?  Well, the D-backs are 2 games above .500, and they have already played the Braves, Marlins, Phillies, and the Rockies.  Schedule similarities/differences alone are not enough to differentiate them from their rivals, but a 3-0 sweep of the Giants is.

Still, all 3 potential frontrunners have positive run differential numbers right now, and that means the NL West is the only division other than the AL East to have more than 2 teams with positive run differentials.  While statistical outliers can skew the data and limit the usefulness of run differential, it is worth recalling that only the Diamondbacks and the Dodgers finished 2011 with positive differentials.  The implication?  The Giants quietly floated around above .500 with a +6 differential and trail the Dodgers by only 7 runs scored with 1 fewer game played.

That bit of good news for the Giants may be a bit of bad news for the Dodgers.  Matt Kemp is currently in the top 2 in just about every statistical category except for wins, saves, and holds, and the Dodgers still do not have the look of world beaters.  Maybe Ethier can continue his torrid RBI pace, but that leaves them needing big years from A.J. Ellis and Mark Ellis in order to stay on top of the standings.

Maybe the Dodgers can do it, but I would put my money on the Diamondbacks and Giants to make a lot more noise as the season gets older.  The predicted NL West finish still stands as follows:

  1. Diamondbacks
  2. Giants
  3. Dodgers
  4. Rockies
  5. Padres

 

MORE FROM YARDBARKER:
Five most anticipated September MLB call-ups
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Lochte to be summoned to appear in Rio, charged with making false report

Carlos Ruiz traded to Dodgers

Ezekiel Elliott reportedly arrived at training camp overweight

Olympian auctions off medal to help young cancer patient

Report: Dodgers have turned down lowball offers for Puig

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Jason Pierre-Paul’s lawsuit against Adam Schefter, ESPN will proceed

The Rock, Vin Diesel to settle 'rivalry' at WrestleMania 33?

Report: Browns trade former No. 6 overall pick Mingo to Pats

Harden organizing players-only minicamp with Rockets

Raiders file trademark applications for ‘Las Vegas Raiders’

U.S. Soccer hands Solo six month suspension for Olympic comments

One Gotta Go: NFL legends bring the hate for fast food

What you need to know about the Champions League draw

Can the San Francisco Giants bust their teamwide slump?

A look at 2016 college football conference changes

The 20 best boxing movies ever

Will Perriman help Ravens find elusive WR success?

Jay Bouwmeester’s selection to Team Canada’s World Cup roster is a head-scratcher

Five MLB players with a lot to lose down the stretch

One Gotta Go: NFL legends bring the hate for our favorite football movies

Bruce Arians on sideline video use: 'It helps bad coaches'

Hard not to be cynical about LeBron's 'Cleveland Hustles'

Familiar faces that won't be seen in the NFL this year

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The 20 best boxing movies of all time

One Gotta Go: NFL legends bring the hate for fast food

What you need to know about the Champions League draw

Can the San Francisco Giants bust their teamwide slump?

A look at 2016 college football conference changes

Can Perriman's return help Ravens find oft-elusive WR success?

One Gotta Go: NFL legends bring the hate for our favorite football movies

Hard not to be cynical about LeBron James' 'Cleveland Hustles'

Ranking the uniforms of the NFL from worst to best

Familiar faces that won't be seen in the NFL this year

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker