In case you went to sleep on April 1st and didn't wake up until June 26th, nobody is playing a trick on you. The Los Angeles Dodgers really are bringing up the rear of the NL West, and the defending World Series champion San Francisco Giants are just a rung up the ladder in fourth. Should you adjust your MLB picks?
Meanwhile, the Arizona Diamondbacks -picked third when the season started- are leading the pack with a mark that would be no better than fourth in the AL East and NL Central. Los Angeles is just six games behind in the caboose of the division with a record that would also place fourth in the NL Central.
This was supposed to be a battle between the old rivals when the Dodgers were roughly 3/4 chalk to win the division on Opening Day followed by the Giants at 7/4. Los Angeles was also saddled with the NL favorite's tag at 3/1, San Francisco priced at 13/2 to successfully defend its National League pennant.
Both teams are fetching fatter returns right now. MLB odds on the Giants haven't changed much at 15/2 to win the NL, making them the favorites of the NL West, but LA is a juicy 18/1. Slotted between them are the Diamondbacks (9/1) to win their second league title, with the Colorado Rockies and San Diego Padres level with the Dodgers at 18/1.
Dodgers Playing Better, Giants Falling Off
The two preseason favorites still have plenty of time to turn things around with a division title, which might be the only entry for the NL West in this year's playoffs. If you followed SBR's coverage of the series between the Giants and Dodgers this week, you know they're moving in opposite directions right now.
Los Angeles (40/1 to win WS) is starting to get healthy, and that's showing up in a 5-game win streak after sweeping San Fran in Wednesday night's series finale. However, the sand in the hourglass is half-gone, and for the Dodgers to reach the 90-win mark they'll need to play .650 ball the rest of the way.
A 9-game road trip through Colorado, San Francisco and Arizona to begin July would be an excellent time for LA to show it means business.
The Giants (18/1 to win WS) have dropped six of seven after being broomed by the Bums, and Bruce Bochy's bunch doesn't appear to have the pitching it would take to successfully defend the 2012 World Series Championship. San Francisco has also struggled mightily on the road, though the good news is a superior record within the division (22-15) than the Dodgers (14-23).
Snakes Winning Late Thanks To Relief Corps
When you think about some of the talent Arizona has traded away the past couple of years -- Jarrod Parker and Justin Upton come quickly to mind -- it's a mild shock to see the Diamondbacks leading the race. But Kirk Gibson has his squad taking advantage of the slow starts by the Giants and Dodgers, and they're winning the close games along with those that go extra innings, reminiscent of the Orioles last season.
The bullpen is a big reason why a club without much power or speed is 8-2 in extra inning games and 17-11 in 1-run affairs. Gibson should also get a key arm for the relief corps back anytime now with closer JJ Putz set to come off the DL after elbow trouble.
It's difficult for me to believe San Diego and Colorado are priced the same as the Dodgers to win the NL and World Series. Yes, I know the Padres and Rockies are ahead of both SF and LA right now, but does anyone really expect either to be in the postseason? Colorado is at least playing winning ball within the division, and San Diego is doing well in those close and late scenarios. Still, don't look for either team to be playing come October.
Make sure to check out our updates for the AL East, NL East, AL Central and NL Central divisions, and come back Friday when we take a look at MLB futures odds in the AL West to complete our loop around the majors.