Baseball wagering handicappers had expected a race between the Giants, Dodgers, and Rockies for the NL West title with the Padres as an afterthought with the baseball odds.
But San Diego entered the All Star break in first place and as the biggest money winner on the board so far for 2010. Since the Padres were such a preseason long shot and since they are rarely favored their surprising start has brought phenomenal board value and profits for the season’s first half.
Pitching is what has put the Padres atop of the division as they had the best earned run average in all of baseball. This has helped overcome a rather weak offensive lineup that ranked 22nd for run production.
Starter Mat Latos had a record of 10-4 with a 2.45 earned run average to lead the staff. Closer Heath Bell had a 4-0 mark with 23 saves and a tidy 1.72 ERA. Adrian Gonzalez has been a one man team as far as the lineup goes, or so it seems, as he was hitting .298 with 18 home runs and 56 runs batted in.
Colorado was right in the thick of the race with the Padres and Dodgers with the Giants just a couple of games out to make for the best race in baseball.
The Rockies had the hot hand with 8 wins in 9 games to start July and were well balanced ranking 6th in run production and 13th in staff earned run average. Starting pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez was a sensation in the season’s first half as he was 15-1 with a 2.20 ERA. Carlos Gonzalez led the attack with a .312 average and 17 home runs.
The two-time defending division champion Dodgers were ranked 7th overall for run production but their pitching staff was ranked 17th for ERA and will have to improve if they are to stay in the race. Clatyon Kershaw leads the staff with a 9-4 mark and a 2.96 ERA.
The Giants, as expected, have one of the best pitching staffs in MLB gambling and ranked 3rd for staff earned run average. Their offense was mediocre and ranked 19th for run production. Tim Lincecum was 9-4 with a 3.16 earned run average.