The Giants rotation is the class of the division/league. The concept of scoring runs may be foreign to them but the concept of preventing runs from scoring is something they have a knack on. Tim Lincecum has already won the last two Cy Young Awards and is looking to rack up a third one. Matt Cain looks to build upon his breakout year and continue his ascent towards the leagues elite pitchers. Sanchez and Zito aren't going to win any awards but both will have their moments of brilliance.
The Dodgers don't have any pitchers in the neighborhood of Lincecum/Cain (right now). Kershaw is on the cusp of a breakout season (he needs to stop walking people all the time) and Billingsley should bounce back from his 2009 season. Charlie Haeger is a nice sleeper candidate in the back of the rotation. He had a couple nice starts with the Dodgers after getting called up....his track record in the minors doesn't indicate it but with the knuckleballers, you never really know.
The Rockies have a solid front 3 of Jiminez, Cook and De la Rosa (two of which are members of Chedderhead). On talent alone, the D-Backs should be at least #3, maybe higher but that would hinge on Brandon Webb staying healthy (already not off to a good start). The Padres, they have some young pitchers with potential. They have a possible sleeper pitcher in the back of the rotation in Clayton Richard (part of the package they got from Jake Peavy) but overall, not that impressive.
Pretty solid crop of closers/bullpens in the division. Broxton looks to be the most likely to replicate his success. He's still young (26 in June), overpowering 114 Ks in 76 innings and he's proven to be effective at closer. The Padres lost Trevor Hoffman to the Brewers in '09 but Heath Bell made sure the bullpen remained a strength in San Diego......and gained my respect for calling out ESPN for only caring about the Red Sox, Yankees and Mets .
Close call between the Rockies and Giants. Huston Street looks to have another solid year (which should be a given as he's one of two closers for Cheddarhead). Brian Wilson should rack up some more saves and possibly set a single-season record for saves recorded after loading the bases. The D-Backs aren't in terrible shape with their bullpen provided Chad Qualls stays healthy......their bullpen would rank higher in another division but with the depth in the NL West, someone has to be last.
And now our final standings:
Nothing like doing the second half of a divisional preview to course correct the projections. While the Dodgers had an inactive off-season, they still have a pretty strong team and should 3-peat in the west. The Giants are on the upward swing but inept offense is going to do them in (again). I've had a sinking feeling that the Rockies aren't going to be as good as most people think so i'm not shocked to see them in third. The questions surrounding the Arizona pitching staff moved them down to a realistic 4th place finish. The Padres, the only reason to pay attention to them is A-Gon (until he's gone) and the newest member of Cheddarhead (fresh off the waiver wire) Kyle Blanks.