With so much attention paid to the Dodgers on here, let's take a look at their main competition in the NL West:
San Diego Padres
In one way I'm shocked by how awful they've been, but in another way I'm not. The book on the Padres before this season (heck, for the last few years) has been that they can pitch with anybody, but won't put a whole lot of runs on the board.
Well, the pitching has been middle-of-the-pack with a 4.18 ERA, though Jake Peavy has been fantastic again with 4 wins and a 2.22 ERA. Trevor Hoffman has settled down lately, but there's still talk that he's washed up. Can Randy Wolf stay healthy all year? Will Mark Prior give them quality starts? Will Greg Maddux ever break down? They do have some uncertainty to deal with.
The hitting has been downright atrocious - dead last in AVG, OBP, SLG, 2B, SB. Throw in a 2nd-to-last in runs, and it's not exactly a winning formula. Losing Mike Cameron has definitely hurt more than people may have thought. Adrian Gonzalez has been great (.302, 8, 23) and that's about it. Kevin Kouzmanoff, Khalil Greene, Tad Iguchi, and Jim Edmonds have been deplorable and need to step up if they ever want to claw their way back in this division.
While they played very well last year, they've exceeded expectations this year. Their pitching is just nasty, and their young players are producing big-time at the plate. They've clearly become the team to beat in the West.
They lead the NL in ERA and WHIP, 2 great indicators for effectiveness. Brandon Webb continues to be one of the best in the Bigs with 7 wins, followed by 4 apiece from Micah Owings and Danny Haren. Then they have Max Scherzer called up, a nasty, strikeout machine. Brandon Lyon started rocky, but is 8 for his last 8 in saves, giving up no runs in the process. Yes, they have it all.
Their offense is tops in R, 3B, RBI, SLG. Mark Reynolds, Justin Upton, and Conor Jackson have been fantastic. What's surprising is that Eric Byrnes hasn't done anything yet, but they haven't missed a beat. This team has it all, and barring injuries, should be back in the playoffs.
Much like the Padres, their play has been flat and uninspired thus far, which is surprising. Granted the West is tough, but they've been a pushover. For a team with their kind of talent, there's no excuse for that.
They'll never be known for their pitching, but they're at or near the bottom in ERA, WHIP, BB, H, K. Aaron Cook has been the lone bright spot with 5 wins and 2.40 ERA. Jeff Francis was supposed to anchor this staff, but has 0 wins and an ERA over 5. Ubaldo Jimenez and Mark Redman have been a joke. Manny Corpas has already lost the closer role with as many blown saves as saves (4). Oh, and an ERA in the 8's doesn't help either.
Their hitting has either been so-so or bad, which should never happen in Coors Field. Garrett Atkins and Matt Holliday have done their part, but guys like Todd Helton, Willy Taveras, and Brad Hawpe could be doing much more. Troy Tulowitzki has been horrendous, and is now out for awhile with with a torn left quad. In that ballpark and with that talent, they can kick it in gear at any point, so don't count them out yet.
San Francisco Giants
When I saw them on Opening Day, I thought they were the worst team on Earth. Old, slow, dull, incredibly boring. But, I'll give them credit for playing somewhat decently after a rough start.
Their pitching stats is a microcosm for their young flamethrowers - high K's, but his BB's as well. Tim Lincecum has fulfilled expectations with 4 wins and a 1.49 ERA. Jonathan Sanchez has been a nice surprise. Matt Cain started poorly, but has turned it around. I don't even need to talk about Barry Zito - we all know how he's done. So, there's good promise for the future with those arms.
They're dead last in runs scored, and nearly last in OBP. At the end of the day, those are the only stats that matter. Aaron Rowand and Bengie Molina are doing well, but when they're the main RBI guys, it's hard to win. Of course, it's hard to win when every game has to be pitched so well. Their main hope is that they can find young players that can hit, much like they've found youth on the mound.