The National League West is starting to turn in to a murky mess of a divison.
Five teams, all within six games of each other. Second and fourth place are separated by just half a game. In such a closely-contested division race, the upcoming three game series between the San Francisco Giants and the Colorado Rockies could have a huge impact on the MLB playoff picture.
The series kicks off tonight at Coors Field as the Giants send Barry Zito to the hill to take on Jhoulys Chacin and the Rockies. Chacin has quietly been putting together a pretty good season for Colorado, thanks to his ability (or luck?) at keeping the ball in the yard. Preventing home runs is not always a sustainable skill, but if Chacin can keep it up, he gives the Rockies a great chance to win, especially at home.
The Rockies are 39-41 this year, but they’re 23-18 at home. In fact, all five NL West teams are above .500 in their home yard. However, all the teams have struggled when they hit the road. The Giants have been no exception. Only two teams in baseball have a road record worse than the Giants’ 14-25 mark. In recent weeks, the Giants have had a hard time winning anywhere at all. San Francisco has dropped four straight and nine of their last 12.
The Rockies haven’t been playing very good baseball lately either. Their recent nine-game road trip yielded just a pair of wins, and they took a 2-1 lead into the eighth inning of their makeup game with the New York Mets, only to watch Marlon Byrd hit a two-run bomb to hand Colorado another loss.
Fans of the Giants and the Rockies can take consolation in the fact that they’ve played well against their division rivals. San Francisco is 22-15 against NL West teams, and Colorado is 21-15. With the division as close as it is, neither team is out of the race by any means. But, the loser of this series will likely be in fourth or fifth place as the month of July gets started, and that is not a fun place to be.