The minute Dave Roberts said his opinion on Saturday, he had to have known that it would immediately be bulletin board material for the Colorado Rockies and the other teams in the National League West.
Prior to the Los Angeles Dodgers squaring off against the Cincinnati Reds in Ohio, the Dodgers manager was asked about the state of the National League West. Entering Saturday, it was a division where his team trailed the Rockies by a game and was tied with the Arizona Diamondbacks for second place.
Numbers and facts mean little to Roberts in June, it appears. After all, he proclaimed for the world to know that his Dodgers were the best team in the division.
Here is the exact quote from the Los Angeles Times article that you can read by clicking here…
"“As we do pay attention, I don’t think that anyone’s concerned,” Roberts said. “Because we realize we’re the best team in the division. We’ve still got to go out and play, but it’s clearly the best division in baseball. It’s going to be a fun September.”"
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When you’re the four-time defending division champions, it’s easy to see why Roberts would feel this way. When various sites have you with a better than 80 percent chance to win the division again this season, you can see why. When you take a look at the Los Angeles payroll (tops in MLB at over $242 million versus Colorado at just over $130 million), you can see why.
However, as has been proven all season, this is not the same Rockies team as we have seen in years past. This team has pitching at the front and back end. Take a look at this stat from @MLBStatoftheDay. If it doesn’t tell you that things have changed at 20th and Blake, nothing will. It also tells you the future is pretty darn bright for the Rockies on the mound.
It’s absolutely possible that the Dodgers will win the division. However, are they really the best team? Compare the Rockies and Dodgers position by position with an unbiased eye and tell me what you see. Take Clayton Kershaw out of the mix and which rotation would you rather have? It’s a fair question that perhaps fans of the Seattle Mariners and Detroit Tigers should be answering more than those of us knee-deep in the National League West.
Stat by stat, the Rockies are hitting .272 this season while the Dodgers are hitting .250. The Dodgers lead MLB in ERA (3.35) while the Rockies are 10th at 4.16. WHIP is 1.15 for LA and 1.30 for Colorado. So if you’re going to say “Coors” about the hitting, you’ll need to say it about the pitching as well, right?
Roberts is right about one thing. It is going to be a fun September. But baseball numbers can’t be twisted like poll numbers in Washington. They tell a story. At this point in the season, the one number that really matters (wins and losses) tells that the Rockies are the better team.
Here’s to a fun September … and June, July and August for that matter. And, while we’re at it, October as well.
P.S. Speaking of the Dodgers, our friends at DodgersWay.com had a good article about why the Rockies are for real. It’s definitely worth a read.