July 4th is behind us, as the pennant races start to heat up. The NL West is an interesting division as five teams are separated by only 4 1/2 games. The Diamondbacks, leaders of the NL West, are only 3 games over .500. All the other teams have percentages less than .500, but all over .450. The West will be fun to watch down the stretch and beyond as almost all the teams are at a "mediocre" level, so nobody has pulled away.
NL West Standings:
1. Diamondbacks 44-41 0 GB
2. Rockies 42-44 2.5 GB
3. Dodgers 40-44 3.5 GB
4. Padres 40-46 4.5 GB
5. Giants 39-44 4.5 GB
So, who's going to win this tightly contested division? Before the season started, the Giants, being the defendig champions, and Dodgers, with the deep-pockets, seemed like the favorite pick. Now, the Giants and Dodgers have both spent times in the cellar, showing that they may not be as good as they were before the season started. But, they seem to be on different paths. The Dodgers seem like they are getting healthy and the call up of Yasiel Puig has sparked a good run. The Giants, on the other hand, have just been no-hit by Homer Bailey, and have fallen into the bottom of the division. The Rockies, Padres, and Diamondbacks have all had their good times and bad, leading themselves to be around a .500 mark.
Who do I think is going to win the division? Honestly, I think it's anyone's game, but I think the Diamondbacks are playing the most consistent baseball this season. After another extra inning win last night, they improve to 10-3 in extra inning games, being the only team with double digit wins in extras. This shows that they can play as a team, even after a long ride to get there.
Obviously, nobody has pulled away, so every team in the division may still have a shot at winning. But, they need to start to make a run now if they want to find themselves in it in October.