On May 25th, the San Francisco Giants stood at 20-31, a full 10.5 games behind the first place Diamondbacks. Brandon Webb and his DBacks were cruising and the division was theirs for the taking. The Dodgers had been slumping but appeared to be the only real threat to the Snakes. Arizona was 30-20; LA sat just 3.5 games back at 26-23; and the Rockies, Giants, and Padres respectively had played to the melancholy tunes of 20-30, 20-31, and 19-33.
Since that fateful day the Boche Bunch has gone 19-23, “improving” to 39-54. While a stretch like that may appear to have put the Giants further out of the playoff race they have actually gained three and a half games on Arizona. Yes, since May 25, the best team in the NL West has been the 19-23 Giants. The others? Well, the Padres have been second best, going 18-23 for a .439 winning percentage. After them comes a two-way tie between the Dodgers and Rockies, who have both gone 19-25. The worst team in this stretch is the Diamondbacks, at a measly 16-27.
With the DBacks starting off ten games above .500 and then proceeding to go eleven games below they now lead the division with a 46-47 record. Something remarkable to note is that, even though the non-Dodgers teams have played at a better clip in this span, while the DBacks played significantly worse, Arizona maintained their lead in the division. The Dodgers are currently one game back; the Giants and Rockies are seven and seven and a half back; and even the Padres are within ten games reach.
Okay, the title is a bit facetious given how poorly each team has played recently, but despite all five currently posting below .500 records, rewind back to the 1994 strike-shortened season and take a look at the AL West standings. At the time of the strike, the Rangers held a slim one game lead despite just a 52-62 record. The Athletics were 51-63, Mariners at 49-63, and the Angels at 47-68. Yes, this division has been bad so far, but not on the same embarrassing level as the 1994 AL West. I doubt it will stay like this for the remainder of the season but right now this division really does seem to be up for grabs. I’ve seen analysts say and write that it would just take a nice 5-8 game winning streak from a team to put the division away or make it a legitimate race; the way these teams are currently playing, “just” being able to do anything that positive seems completely out of character.
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