Let’s round out the NL before jumping into the postseason.
- Los Angeles Dodgers – The return of Manny Ramirez pretty much sealed up this division for the Dodgers. Clayton Kershaw has big-league experience on his resume now, and will confound NL West hitters with his nasty stuff. Joe Torre must be cautious to keep his clubhouse in order.
- San Francisco Giants – This team has the makings of a formidable playoff rotation if Barry Zito can continue to improve on his disastrous start in San Fran. Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum must avoid injury and overwork. Randy Johnson should have his 300th win by what, end of June?
- Arizona Diamondbacks – Good young pitching and a progressing young offense buoys this team. Brandon Webb and Danny Haren will have to carry them.
- Colorado Rockies – What has happened to this team since 2007? Matt Holliday is gone. What was once a promising young nucleus has been cut down by injuries (and perhaps overhype, following their miraculous run through the playoffs in ’07). At least they don’t have to deal with Jay Cutler.
- San Diego Padres – As you can probably deduce from my initial predictions, I don’t think much of this team’s chances. (edited 04.05)
It occurs to me, as we’ve gone through these predictions, that there is a lot of really good pitching in the National League. Either that, or I just fall in love with pitchers easily. Could be both.