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National League West Report

It is going to be a wild and woolly month of September in the National League as MLB starts to ramp up for the home stretch as teams battle it out to make the Post Season. Right now maybe the most exciting division in all of Baseball is the National League West where the San Diego Padres now lead the Arizona Diamondbacks by .001 %. San Diego who trailed Arizona by five games just twelve days ago, have won the first three games of their four game series against Arizona to gain the upper hand.

San Diego threw their ace on the mound Monday night as Jake Peavy opened the series for the Padres facing off against Livan Hernadez. The D-Backs drew first blood as left fielder Eric Byrnes hit a home run off Peavy to break the scoreless tie in the sixth. But that would be all the runs Arizona could muster against Peavy who struck out 11. Hernadez pitched well enough to win most nights, going seven innings scattering six hits and not getting into trouble until he walked Padres catcher Josh Bard in the seventh. San Diego second baseman Geoff Blum was up next and Hernandez was determined not to walk him fearing the start of a big inning. He didn't walk him, instead he gave up a two run homer Blum's third of the season. Milton Bradley added an insurance dinger in the eighth off reliever Juan Cruz, and the Padres had won the first game of the series 3-1.

Brandon Webb the D-Backs ace got the assignment to start game two. He was 14-8 going into the game and was 6-3 in his last starts and had not lost a game since July 2o. Webb proceeded to have his worst outing of the campaign giving up six runs the most all year and only going 5.1 innings. Justin Germano got the win for San Diego as they won 6-4.

Rookie starter Micah Owings had hit some rough patches over the last six weeks. Owings was at one time 5-3 but going into Wednesday night's game he was 6-7 having gone 1-4 in his last ten games, and looking like hit the "rookie wall." But Wednesday night he pitched fantastic, going seven innings allowing only one run on three hits. Unfortunately for him veteran Greg Maddux was on the hill for San Diego and pretty much duplicated the effort going seven and allowing one run. Both starters walked away without a decision, but Arizona's bullpen as reliever Doug Slaten gave up the tie breaking run and the Padres would tack on one more to win that game 3-1. Kevin Cameron got the win for San Diego.

San Diego is in the drivers seat going into Thursday nights game as Chris Young makes a return to the mound after recovering from a sore back. Young toes the rubber with a 9-4 record and a minuscule ERA of 2.12. He goes up against Doug Davis who comes into the game with the D-Backs hopes of coming out of this series still in first place resting squarely on his shoulders. Davis has a record of 11-11 so it truly is a 50-50 shot with him on the mound.


Even if San Diego wins Thursday night, the pressure does not go away. Next up the third place Los Angeles Dodgers who are only 3.5 games behind both teams. On the mound for L.A. Friday night, none other than the man the Padres released earlier this month the Boomer David Wells. Wells won his first game in Dodger blue against the Mets even beating out a bunt for a single to help his cause. Knowing the competitive nature of Boomer you know he will be ramped up for this one. The Dodgers are still in the hunt for the Wild Card which if the season ended today would be Arizona's slot. However the Philadelphia Phillies are only three games behind them and of course the Dodgers 3.5 games back.

And let's not forget about the Colorado Rockies who at 68-65 are only 5.5 games back and would be tied for first if they were in the N.L. Central. As the late great Bette Davis once said in a movie called "All About Eve" "Fasten your seat belts, it looks like we're in for a bumpy ride."
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