Well, here we are for the first time, for the last time. We've spent the last three days re-writing the goals for MLB's teams for 2015, showing how they can feel good about the end of their season, even if it doesn't result in postseason glory. After all, it's good to have goals. It's good to have something to strive for. And only one of the 30 teams will wind up winning the World Series. On Tuesday, I looked at the AL East and the NL East. Wednesday, we went through the AL Central and the NL Central. And yesterday, I looked at the American League West.
Which brings us here, finally, to the National League West:
Current record: 62-65
Obviously, the D-Backs would love to sneak past the Dodgers and Giants to win the NL West, but that's not likely. Baseball Prospectus gives them less than a one percent chance of making the postseason. But this has been a surprisingly decent season for a club that people made fun of as recently as July. The Yasmany Tomas experiment at 3B did not work, but the Yasmany Tomas experiment has worked overall. David Peralta, Jake Lamb, Robbie Ray, and Ender Inciarte have emerged as solid contributors. The Mark Trumbo trade worked out great just based on Welington Castillo alone.
New goal: Finish above .500. They're almost there!
Can feel ok about settling for: I don't think there's a fallback here. Finishing above .500 in their first season will be a huge feather in Dave Stewart and Chip Hale's hats, and will do a lot to vindicate their weirder decisions in 2015, like trading away Touki Toussaint for nothing.
Current record: 51-74
After trading away Troy Tulowitzki, the Rockies have been in a tailspin, losing 19 of 27 games, the worst in all of baseball. They are in danger of finishing with the worst record in franchise history. Also, Jose Reyes is awful and pouting.
New goal: The Rox's worst season in franchise history came last year, when they lost 96 games. That includes their inaugural season as an expansion club. They're on pace to lose that many again. They will have to finish 16-21 to beat that. And frankly, I don't know that that's terribly likely, but you have to stat somewhere.
Can feel ok about settling for: For God's sake, at least finish with fewer than 100 losses.
Los Angeles Dodgers
Current record: 70-56, leading the NL West
The Dodgers have been built to win it all, and to do that they will need to stave off the Giants in the NL West, because catching up to the Cubs looks pretty difficult at this point. If they can build a lead on the Giants and end the season with enough of a cushion to set up their starting rotation with the dynamic duo of Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke, that would be a nice bonus.
New goal: Pour it on for the next four weeks, and wrap up the division before the final week of the season so that Kershaw and Greinke can start three times in a five game series. Then, win the World Series.
Can feel ok about settling for: Eeking out a division win, then winning the World Series. Basically, it's a World Series win or bust.
Current record: 62-65
The Padres have disappointed based on the excitement their offseason acquisition spree generated. So many of those moves didn't work out. Derek Norris has disappointed. James Shields has underwhelmed. Will Middlebrooks was a disaster. Wil Myers has been hurt. Matt Kemp suffered through an abysmal May, but has hit .278/.333/.487 over the last three months. But, as much as I want to rip them, San Diego is still an improved major league club over 2014 within spitting distance of a winning record.
New goal: Finish above .500 by going 20-15 the rest of the way.
Can feel ok about settling for: Improving over 2014's 85 losses. That means going at least 16-19.
San Francisco Giants
Current record: 68-59, 2.5 back in the NL West, 5.5 back in the Wild Card
The defending champs have struggled to assemble an effective starting rotation behind Madison Bumgarner, and injuries now threaten to leave them on the outside looking in come October. But Bobby Evans and Brian Sabean have done a good job of plugging holes with Matt Duffy and Kelby Tomlinson, and Marlon Byrd. Now with Mike Leake back, it might be enough to help them past the hated Dodgers.
New goal: Eek out an NL West win.
Can feel ok about settling for: It would take a Herculean effort to get the Wild Card, and as the winner of last year's World Series, not even making the playoffs would be a pretty big disappointment. So, yeah, no settling.