The season opened with the Giants and Dodgers as the popular picks to win the National League West, and the first week ended with the Rockies showing signs they might finally bust out of their familiar dwelling: the cellar.
What about the defending champs?
The Padres were so quickly swept by the Cardinals [in the '05 playoffs], it hardly seemed they were involved. But before their 2006 season opener, they hoisted their championship flag and celebrated their first division crown in eight years. It was their right, despite a record that would have equated to fifth place in the NL East or 18 games back in the NL Central.
A season later, they say they're a better team, though the six-month schedule will be the judge of that. No concrete conclusions should be drawn from the first week, which pleases the Padres -- they lost four of five games and were swept at home by the Rockies, who clobbered San Diego pitching over three games for 32 runs and 48 hits.
Nevertheless, the Padres think they could be young enough and healthy enough to win consecutive division titles for the first time in their history. In this division, with the Giants and Dodgers older and perhaps more susceptible to injuries, who can disagree?
Complete Shea story
• 12:35 p.m. ET: Pirates lefty Oliver Perez has allowed three homers and seven walks in two starts. He faces Derek Lowe and the Dodgers at PNC Park.
• 1:05 p.m. ET: The Yanks scored 15 runs in Randy Johnson's first start, two in his next. Johnson owns Royals DH/1B Mike Sweeney (three hits in 22 career ABs).
• 1:10 p.m. ET: A's right-hander Joe Blanton, who blanked the M's for eight innings in his first start, faces Kyle Lohse and the Twins at the Metrodome.
• 7:35 p.m. ET: After two lousy starts, Atlanta's Tim Hudson (11 ER in 8 IP) looks to turn things around against the Phillies.
|Raul Ibanez went 4-for-4, including a double and a triple, and drove in four runs in the Mariners' 11-9 victory over the Indians.|
|The Nationals managed to score just one run in their loss to Pedro Martinez and the Mets, and have now lost six of their last seven games.|
|David Wells was roughed up by the Blue Jays, allowing seven runs on 10 hits (three home runs) in four-plus innings. The Red Sox lost to the Blue Jays 8-4.|
|QUOTE OF THE NIGHT|
|PHOTO OF THE DAY|
AP Photo/Eric Risberg
Fans leave San Francisco's AT&T Park after the Giants' game against the Astros was rained out for a second consecutive day.
Pedro and the Mets stifle the Nationals.
|Click here to see all the numbers surrounding Greg Maddux's 320th career win.|
|WEDNESDAY'S NEWS AND NOTES|
• Cubs RHP Mark Prior (strained shoulder muscle) threw about 30 pitches from the bullpen mound at Wrigley Field. He will throw again Friday in Arizona.
• Mariners RF Ichiro Suzuki has the second-highest career batting average against Cleveland among active players (.350). Only Nomar Garciaparra's .369 is better. Ichiro's average is also fifth-best all time against the Indians, trailing Oddibe McDowell (.405), Garciaparra (.369), Rod Carew (.363) and Leon Wagner (.350).
• Devil Rays 3B Aubrey Huff was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a sprained left knee. He might miss four to six weeks.
• Braves RF Jeff Francoeur went hitless in his first three at-bats, including two strikeouts, to drop his average to .056 (2-for-36). He raised it to .081 with a single to right field in the eighth inning.