Welcome back for Day 3 of the United Cardinal Bloggers (UCB) prediction project. If you’ve followed us for the past few years, you know today is when we head out west to the realm of the Dodgers and the Giants. Predicting the west is an interesting undertaking for 2014 because two of the top teams have already faced each other for two games in Australia. As awkward as that feels, we’ll try not to let those two games down under carry too much weight. But, before we tackle this year’s predictions, take a moment to check out last year’s attempt by clicking here.
And now…let’s go west!
1. Los Angeles Dodgers. The Dodgers have, on paper, the best team in the division — and possibly the strongest challenge claim to the NL pennant facing the Cardinals this season. Their rotation is astounding and their offense is dynamic. Honestly, the only question facing the Dodgers is whether or not they can keep their personalities — specifically Yasiel Puig — from getting in the way of winning. If LA can hold it together, there’s not a team in the league they can’t match up against.
2. San Francisco Giants. I really don’t feel confident with this pick. You could flip a coin between the Diamondbacks and the Giants and leave the table with the same level of confidence either way. But when it comes right down to it, I just believe the Giants’ pitching and Buster Posey will push them over the top…barely. But don’t be surprised if the Giants finish third or fourth either. After the Dodgers, the division is fairly fluid.
3. Arizona Diamondbacks. Wade Miley and Paul Goldschmidt make this team fairly likable all by themselves. They could easily make a push for the division if the Giants’ pitching shows its age and the Dodgers succumb to the ridiculous antics of personalities like Puig. This D-back team has one of those group offensive attacks that just seems to keep coming, even when the hitters stepping into the box fail to impress individually. They’ll be a thorn in the division’s side all season.
4. San Diego Padres. I wanted to go with the Rockies here, but the Padres just seem to have more pitching and are more likely to take advantage of the pitching they have in Petco versus the Rockies’ launching pad in Colorado. As dynamic as the Rockies’ offense could be, Petco will still be a more forgiving pitching environment for 81 home games. The Padres offense will do just enough to avoid last place.
5. Colorado Rockies. The Rockies’ offensive lineup has the potential to pummel some people…especially at home. Unfortunately, their park makes everyone’s offense look better and has a tendency to turn decent pitchers into PTSD victims. It’s going to be difficult to pull themselves into a relevant position this season.
That’ll do it for today. Come back tomorrow for the ever-popular NL Central picks! And don’t forget to read more UCB predictions by clicking here.