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(Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

(Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

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At last the baseball season is here, Thursday was opening day and on the schedule was the defending World Champion San Francisco Giants.  So, what better way to finish my prediction & previews series than to talk about the division with the champs in it?  I won’t say the Giants came out of nowhere, but not many “experts” had the Giants winning the west last year much less the whole thing.  The NL West might be the most wide open division in baseball so time to give my take on how the west will be won.

1. San Francisco Giants– Many people are talking about the Phillies has having the best rotation in baseball.  I feel in a way people have pushed the Giants rotation to the side a little bit.  Most teams don’t have a better 1-2 punch than Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain.  I have a problem with lack of power in the lineup but honestly it didn’t stop the Giants last year.  San Fran proved that pitching still wins championships and as long as they stay healthy, which is something you can say about every team, the Giants shouldnt have a problem getting back to the playoffs.

2. Colorado Rockies– Carlos Gonzalez became a star last year when he won the NL batting title, and when you look at this Rockies team no major additions or subtractions in the offseason.  With Tulo hitting in the lineup as well the Rockies have a good middle of the lineup.  Ubaldo Jimenez was in the Cy Young conversation all of last year and should be more of the same this season.  The Rockies have question marks in the rest of their rotation for the simple reason of who else will step up.  If someone can they might be able to compete for the division title.

3. Los Angeles Dodgers– The biggest news coming out of LA is that Joe Torre will not be in the dugout for the 2011 season.  The pitching rotation is led by Clayton Kershaw and they have decent pieces with Jon Garland and Ted Lilly.  Decent pieces but nothing that’s gets you overly excited for the Dodgers this season.  Matt Kemp is the big name is a lineup that is missing some star power.  Plainly put the Dodgers have a good team, unfortunately for them good is not enough for them to compete.

4. San Diego Padres– San Diego may have been the surprise of last season being able to hang until late in the season.  However I don’t see the same thing happening this year for the Padres.  We all know that Adrian Gonzalez will now be swinging the bat in Boston and with him gone the Padres have no true power hitter in their lineup.  The rotation is basically Matt Latos and Clayton Richard after that too many question marks to consider them among the best in the division.

5. Arizona Diamondbacks– Sorry Arizona fans but 2011 wont be any different from 2010.  The D-Backs were the only team in the NL West not to win 80 games.  Nothing they did in the offseason would make me believe that will change in 2011.  The one bright spot in Arizona is their young outfield, Justin Upton and Chris Young if done correctly can be the cornerstones of the franchise for a long time.  Their rotation is just as bad although there is a lot of intrigue about youngster Daniel Hudson who was 7-1 with a tremendous 1.69 ERA last season.

Missed a preview & prediction blog? Click below!

>AL East Preview & Predictions
>AL Central Preview & Predictions
>AL West Preview & Predictions
>NL East Preview & Predictions
>NL Central Preview & Predictions

Andy Snakovsky – 105.7 The Fan Staff Writer

Follow me on Twitter http://twitter.com/#!/AndySnakovsky

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