Sunday, April 29, 2007

The Glorious Guest Post: They pitch well out in the NL West

Hello, friends. This is Ted, a friend of the boys over at Sports Flow, checking in with some Sunday evening thoughts.

If you take a gander at NL pitching statistics through Sunday afternoon, here's one thing you'll (probably) find: the NL West is pretty good.

ERA? The boys in that time zone account for 5 of the top 14 pitchers overall, including Matt Cain of the Giants at No. 2 (1.54 ERA), Jake Peavy of the Padres at No. 5 (1.67), and Doug Davis of the Diamondbacks at No. 14 (2.79). Among those top 14, you don't even see Brandon Webb, the defending National League Cy Young winner.

Strikeouts? There's Webb, at No. 3 (34 K), right behind Peavy at No. 2 (36 K). That makes sense, because earlier this week, Peavy mowed down 16 guys in one game, including nine in a row at one point. Randy Wolf of the Dodgers, with 31 K, is tied for fifth in the league in said category.

In the other divisions in the National League, you tend to find the same guys clustered near the top of the pitching statistical leaderboards - Cole Hamels and Tim Hudson in the NL East; Jason Marquis, Ted Lilly, and Chris Capuano in the Central, among others. In the West, though, the mound talent is both excellent and vast.

Consider: the Dodgers, who currently lead the division, go with Brad Penny (himself top 12 in ERA), Derek Lowe, and Mark Hendrickson (a burgeoning good to very good strikeout pitcher); the Giants have Cain, Noah Lowry (another young stud), Matt Morris (one of the only 3-0 hurlers in baseball), and Barry Zito, whose two starts prior to his last one contained a run of scoreless innings; the Diamondbacks have Webb and Davis, but also Livan Hernandez (10 years removed from one of the more inspiring postseason performances in history, and still a good pitcher) and Randy Johnson (potentially one of the top ten pitchers in baseball history); and the Rockies, while bottom feeders, have Aaron Cook - he hasn't allowed a run in over 10 innings going into Sunday's game - and Jeff Francis, who shut out the defending champion Cardinals this season.

That's minimum 13 good to very good pitchers in ONE division. You're not likely to find that quality and depth - either in terms of overall baseball lore or just this season - in other divisions in baseball. The NL East and AL East might be close, but this season, if you want to see some high-end pitching, you better make sure you extend your bedtime a little.


grittysquirrels said...

Do you remember a few years ago (2 or maybe 3 i think) when the NL West was so mediocre? This year it looks like the NL Central will be more average (with the Brewers winning the division of course) and the NL West is pretty stacked.

DCScrap said...

Found you, Ted! Oh, damn where'd he go now?

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