The National League West has been cited as one of the most competitive divisions in all of baseball. However, this division is starting to look different because of the numerous injuries that are affecting other teams besides the Colorado Rockies.
With the many injuries facing the Los Angeles Dodgers and their sad showing as of late, they are four games under .500. This is a team that wasn’t under .500 past April 27 of last season on their way to the National League title. This year’s slow start, however, not only makes the rest of the teams in the NL West more optimistic, but also helps the Colorado Rockies get closer to contending for the title.
What about the rest of the division? The Arizona Diamondbacks have dominated with their 23-11 record and haven’t dropped from first yet. They’ve also been bitten by the injury bug with the losses of pitchers Taijuan Walker (out for the season) and Robbie Ray (10-day DL) plus Jake Lamb hasn’t played since April 2. The San Francisco Giants have yet to see Madison Bumgarner take the mound in 2018 and Johnny Cueto and Joe Panik both have hit the 10-day DL. Wil Myers, one of the greatest Rockies killers of them all, has struggled to stay healthy all season for San Diego.
However, for this article, I’ll focus on the injuries facing the Dodgers.
LA’s extended slow start comes as a big surprise. Los Angeles is the team the Colorado Rockies would have to see as a threat, though the baseball gods have appeared to show the NL West mercy with LA’s slow start. Now is the time for the Rockies to be able to cement themselves in either first, which isn’t out of reach, or as a top Wild Card team.
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However the biggest blows to the team have to be Corey Seager (out for the season), Julio Urias (shoulder surgery), Rich Hill (pitching hand inflammation), Yasiel Puig (hip), Hyun-Jin Ryu (groin) and even ace Clayton Kershaw (bicep). These men are all valuable assets to the team and it’s crippling the Dodgers not having these players available.
Though there’s more than injuries that aren’t really helping the team win. Another big problem is All-Star closer Kenley Jansen, who has struggled in the closer role. Then there’s apparently a hustle problem with Cody Bellinger who was recently benched for the lack of it. Dave Roberts doesn’t seem to really know the outright problem with the team as they can’t climb over the .500 mark.
This is, however, good for the Colorado Rockies. Injuries have opened the door for the Rockies to move to the top of the standings or at least put space between themselves and the Dodgers. The Rockies and Dodgers meet for the first time this season on May 21 in Los Angeles so we’ll see how healthy the Dodgers are at that point … and also how they’re playing.
As long as teams are able to keep suppressing the Dodgers, the more momentum the Colorado Rockies can gain. The Rockies can certainly contend. The only question is … which way will they? Will it be by the Wild Card spot or will they overtake the Diamondbacks and claim first place? Either way, one of the biggest things they don’t have to worry about (at the moment) is the Dodgers.