As the sports world prepares for baseball’s Opening Day on Thursday, here’s how the National League West looks heading into 2021.
It’s no secret that the Dodgers are the favorite in the NL West. The team hasn’t lost much of what made them the 2020 World Series Champions. The biggest question heading into the 2021 season was who would complete the Dodgers’ starting pitching rotation. Right-hander Dustin May earned the spot, according to manager Dave Roberts.
Additionally, The Dodgers also return with several stars from the 2020 team. Shortstop Corey Seager led the charge in spring training. Seager led the team in home runs, hits, RBIs and slugging percentage. The Dodgers head to Colorado to take on the Rockies tomorrow for Opening Day.
San Diego Padres
While the Dodgers are the favorite, the Padres are likely the only team that will challenge the Dodgers most this season. Last season, the Padres finished second in the NL West, six games behind the Dodgers. The team is led by shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. and third baseman Manny Machado, who both remain on the roster for 2021. In the playoffs last season, the Padres fell in the Divisional Series against the Dodgers. This season, they look to take down the in-state rival. The Padres open the season on Thursday at home against the Diamondbacks.
San Francisco Giants
Unlike the Padres, the Giants don’t have the greatest chance to take control of the NL West away from the Dodgers. The Giants finished 14 games out of first place last season and eight games out of second place. While veteran players Buster Posey, Brandon Belt and Evan Longoria are back for 2021, the Giants still don’t come near the Dodgers or the Padres. Manager Gabe Kapler says that strides were made during spring training, but that they still have a long way to go. The Giants travel to Seattle on Thursday for Opening Day.
The Rockies, much like the Giants, are likely not in the NL West leader conversation. The Rockies ended 2021 17 games out of first place. After trading third baseman Nolan Arenado in the offseason, the team doesn’t have many weapons at their disposal. The Rockies kick off Opening Day at home against the Dodgers.
The Diamondbacks finished last in the division last season, they were 18 games out of first place. This season, Arizona is more than likely to miss the playoffs once again. The Diamondbacks will have to improve their starting rotation in order to be more competitive this year. The Diamondbacks travel to San Diego to take on the Padres on Thursday.