MLB Playoff Preview: The wild, wild (NL) west

Will Blockbuster Trade-Deadline Acquisitions Reset the NL West Race? - The Ringer
Padres’ Jake Cronenworth (left), Dodgers’ Max Scherzer, Giants’ Kris Bryant (right). Getty Images/Ringer Illustration

Jack Hagen | Sports Editor &  Jack Wolfsohn | Writer

September 10, 2021

As the remainder of the 2021 Major League Baseball season comes to an end, serious front-runners are beginning to pull away. Crazy enough, the three that stand out the most all come from the same division, the National League West. The San Francisco Giants, Los Angeles Dodgers, and San Diego Padres all stand a chance to potentially win it all.

The Giants, who currently hold first place, are the most surprising of the three. Coming into the season, no one really knew what to expect from them. Their veterans like Buster Posey and Brandon Crawford are getting up there in age, but are having incredible seasons. They are a perfect example of how baseball is a game that anyone can win. Most of their players are unknown, but they stepped up to the plate and are playing the best baseball of their lives. A few key editions in stars like Kris Bryant have given them an extra boost.

The Dodgers, currently in second place, are absolutely loaded with talent at every single position on the field. This stereotypical big market team seems to have many of the best players in baseball. On paper, with superstars such as  outfielder Mookie Betts, or newly acquired pitcher Max Scherzer, they shouldn’t even lose a game. With that being said, recent injuries to people like young star Dustin May will force the team to grind out wins without some of their best players. The next few weeks will be very revealing for this Dodgers team.

“The Dodgers are the most stacked team in baseball,” senior Ryan Dunbar said. “I think they are going to repeat as World Series champions.”

File:Kevin Kiermaier on June 28, 2014.jpg - Wikimedia Commons
Kevin Kiermaier (center fielder) rounding bases. Keith Alliston/Wikipedia Commons

The Padres, currently in third place, hit a bit of a skid recently. This has put them back a little bit, but they are without a doubt one of the most talented teams in baseball, right behind the Dodgers. What they lack in pitching, they tend to make up for in the lineup with massive bats like Manny Machado, Fernando Tatis, and Eric Hosmer. It will be fascinating to see how this team comes back and makes their way into a playoff spot.

“I absolutely love the Padres,” senior Kaden Giles said. “I hope they can pull it off and come back to earn a playoff spot.”

Lastly, it would be hard to talk about hot teams and not about the Tampa Bay Rays. While not exactly full of stars, this team makes up for it in their ability to play the game of baseball the right way, similar to the Giants. The defending World Series runner-ups, look for the Rays to make a splash in the playoffs again this year.

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