How to Win the West


We are nearing the end of the first half of the 2013 baseball season, and a look at the leaders in each division reveals few surprises, except maybe the big-money, basement-dwelling Dodgers. Even the Pirates leading the NL Central doesn’t really make me bat an eye; they are notorious for their second-half slides. Last year at this time they were one game out of 1st place. They finished the season 18 games back.

The Rockies own Coors Field, but they have to start owning AT&T Park if they want to win the West. Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

But one thing the standings might not make clear is just how much the Rockies are winning within their own division. They have outscored division rivals 192-157. They are at or above .500 against each of the teams in the NL West except for the Giants, against whom the record currently stands at 5-6. And after yesterday’s win, in which Jhoulys Chacin pitched 8 shutout innings, the Rockies made it clear that they are not ready to concede this division yet. It’s a wide open field, and the winner will be the one who prevails in division play. Right now, that’s the Rockies.

Nipping at their heels are the Giants, who have been the team to beat in the division for several years now. The Rockies will have to continue making a statement against San Francisco in order to take a credible lead in the West. This is especially true on the road. The Rockies have played two series by the Bay so far this year, and they’ve lost all but 1 of the 6 games. They were embarrassingly swept in their first series there back in April, losing 10-0 in the finale. All in all, they have been outscored 36-21. On the other hand, they have been dominant at home, putting up 35 runs to the Giants’ 20 in 5 games so far this season. If both of these teams continue to control the rest of the division, then the final result will come down to how well they play each other. One will eventually have to slip at home. If that team is the Giants, the Rockies have a clear path to the postseason.