2014 Previews: National League West

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2014 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the National League West.

Can anyone beat the Dodgers? Besides themselves, I mean? The Diamomdbacks have grit and stuff, but wouldn’t having Patrick Corbin be better? Do the Giants have another run in them? It is an even-numbered year, after all. People thought the Padres would be surprising last year, does that hold for this year? The Rockies didn’t really do anything in the offseason. Will they do anything once the games start?

Below are our team-by-team previews for the NL West as well as our HBT Extra feature on the division:

Los Angeles Dodgers
Arizona Diamondbacks
San Francisco Giants
San Diego Padres
Colorado Rockies

Video: Starling Marte refuses to take first base after being hit by pitch

Tim Warner/Getty Images
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Pirates outfielder Starling Marte was hit on the hand by a Jack Flaherty pitch in the fourth inning of Tuesday night’s game against the Cardinals. Rather than take first base, Marte — who came to the plate with a runner on first base — insisted to home plate umpire Bruce Dreckman that the ball hit the knob of the bat, not his hand. Marte was allowed to continue his at-bat, though manager Clint Hurdle came out to discuss the ruling with Dreckman. Marte eventually grounded into a fielder’s choice. He then got caught attempting to steal second base and the Pirates scored zero runs in the inning.

According to Baseball Prospectus, a team that has runners on first and second with no outs is expected to score 1.55 runs. Having a runner on first base with one out yields 0.56 expected runs. Marte essentially cost his team a run by rejecting first base. Oops.