As Opening Day began yesterday (and continues today), some starting pitchers with NL West teams are still nursing injuries.

Colorado Rockies starter A**aron Cook** injured the middle finger on his throwing hand on March 11^{th}, sidelining him until after Opening Day.

Meanwhile, Los Angeles Dodgers starter ** Jon Garland** suffered an oblique injury this spring. He will begin this season on the DL.

Recently, San Diego starter **Matt Latos** suffered a medical condition known as bursitis, which landed him on the disabled list before Opening Day.

These injuries will undoubtedly affect each team’s competitiveness in the beginning of the season, but it raises a more troubling question: Which starting pitcher must avoid injuries to give his team a chance to win the NL West?

Let’s look at the starting pitchers each team must retain to be competetive throughout the season. (Note: I will provide last year’s sabermetric stats on pitchers that made or will return to the 2011 rotation from the DL)

**San Francsico Giants**

1. **Tim Lincecum**

a. K/9: 9.8

b. BB/9: 3.2

c. HR/9: 0.8

d. K/BB (strikeout-to-walk ratio): 3.06

e. WHIP: 1.27

f. Innings pitched: 212.1

2. ** Barry Zito**

a. K/9: 6.8

b. BB/9: 3.8

c. HR/9: 0.9

d. K/BB (strikeout-to-walk ratio): 1.79

e. WHIP: 1.35

f. Innings pitched: 199.1

3. **Madison Bumgardner **

a. K/9: 7.0

b. BB/9: 2.1

c. HR/9: 0.9

d. K/BB (strikeout-to-walk ratio): 3.33

e. WHIP: 1.31

f. Innings pitched: 111.0

4. **Matt Cain**

a. K/9: 7.1

b. BB/9: 2.5

c. HR/9: 0.9

d. K/BB (strikeout-to-walk ratio): 2.84

e. WHIP: 1.08

f. Innings pitched: 223.1

5. ** Jonathon Sanchez**

a. K/9: 9.5

b. BB/9: 4.5

c. HR/9: 1.0

d. K/BB (strikeout-to-walk ratio): 2.11

e. WHIP: 1.23

f. Innings pitched: 193.1

** Matt Cain **has to avoid the DL for the Giants. He has a WHIP of 1.08, which is .29 points lower than the NL average of 1.37. Although he strikes out about seven hitters and walks about three hitters per nine innings, he pitched 223.1 Innings, the most innings on last year’s pitching staff. So his pitching performance this year shapes the Giant’s chances of not only defending their division, but also their chances of repeating as World Series champions.

**San Diego Padres**

1. ** Matt Latos**

a. K/9: 9.2

b. BB/9: 2.4

c. HR/9: 0.8

d. K/BB (strikeout-to-walk ratio): 3.83

e. WHIP: 1.09

f. Innings pitched: 184.2

a. K/9: 6.8

b. BB/9: 3.5

c. HR/9: 0.7

d. K/BB (strikeout-to-walk ratio): 1.94

e. WHIP: 1.41

f. Innings pitched: 201.2

3. **Tim Stauffer**

a. K/9: 6.6

b. BB/9: 2.6

c. HR/9: 0.3

d. K/BB (strikeout-to-walk ratio): 2.54

e. WHIP: 1.01

f. Innings pitched: 82.2

4. ** Aaron Harang **(w/CIN)

a. K/9: 6.6

b. BB/9: 3.1

c. HR/9: 1.3

d. K/BB (strikeout-to-walk ratio): 2.12

e. WHIP: 1.59

f. Innings pitched: 111.2

**Matt Latos **is the Padres ace. Last year, he had a WHIP of 1.09, which was .01 less than **Matt Cains**’ WHIP at 1.08, as well as .28 points less than the National League average. Furthermore, he strikes out nine batters, while walking two per nine Innings, meaning he was the most dominant pitcher on last year’s pitching staff. But he is currently on the DL, so it remains to be seen how his dominant performance last year will help the Padres this year.

**Colorado Rockies**

a. K/9: 8.7

b. BB/9: 3.7

c. HR/9: 0.4

d. K/BB (strikeout-to-walk ratio): 2.35

e. WHIP: 1.16

f. Innings pitched: 221.2

a. K/9: 8.4

b. BB/9: 4.1

c. HR/9: 1.1

d. K/BB (strikeout-to-walk ratio): 2.05

e. WHIP: 1.32

f. Innings pitched: 121.2

a. K/9: 9.0

b. BB/9: 4.0

c. HR/9: 0.7

d. K/BB (strikeout-to-walk ratio): 2.26

e. WHIP: 1.27

f. Innings pitched: 137.1

4. **Jason Hammel**

a. K/9: 7.1

b. BB/9: 2.4

c. HR/9: 0.9

d. K/BB (strikeout-to-walk ratio): 2.96

e. WHIP: 1.40

f. Innings pitched: 177.2

5. **Esmil Rogers**

a. K/9: 8.3

b. BB/9: 3.3

c. HR/9: 0.6

d. K/BB (strikeout-to-walk ratio): 2.52

e. WHIP: 1.67

f. Innings pitched: 72.0

6. **Aaron Cook**

a. K/9: 4.4

b. BB/9: 3.7

c. HR/9: 0.8

d. K/BB (strikeout-to-walk ratio): 1.19

e. WHIP: 1.56

f. Innings pitched: 127.2

The Rockies need ** Ubaldo Jimenez** to dominate hitters again this year. Last year, he produced a WHIP of 1.16, which is .21 points less than the National League Average. However, compared with his pitching mates, he does not have an eye-popping strikeout-to-walk ratio or strikeouts and walks per nine innings.

**Los Angeles Dodgers**

1. ** Jon Garland** (w/ SDP)

a. K/9: 6.1

b. BB/9: 3.9

c. HR/9: 0.9

d. K/BB (strikeout-to-walk ratio): 1.56

e. WHIP: 1.32

f. Innings pitched: 200.0

a. K/9: 9.3

b. BB/9: 3.6

c. HR/9: 0.6

d. K/BB (strikeout-to-walk ratio): 2.62

e. WHIP: 1.18

f. Innings pitched: 204.1

3. ** Ted Lily **(w/ CHC and LAD)

a. K/9: 7.7

b. BB/9: 2.0

c. HR/9: 1.5

d. K/BB (strikeout-to-walk ratio): 3.77

e. WHIP: 1.08

f. Innings pitched: 193.2

a. K/9: 7.3

b. BB/9: 2.2

c. HR/9: 0.7

d. K/BB (strikeout-to-walk ratio): 3.31

e. WHIP: 1.16

f. Innings pitched: 196.1

a. K/9: 8.0

b. BB/9: 3.2

c. HR/9: 0.4

d. K/BB (strikeout-to-walk ratio): 2.48

e. WHIP: 1.28

f. Innings pitched: 191.2

** Clayton Kershaw** is the Dodger’s most dominant starter on last year’s pitching staff. He had a WHIP of 1.18, which is .2 points lower than the Rockies’

**Ubaldo Jimenez**. He also struck out nine batters per nine innings last year, while averaging about 4 walks. However, his walks per nine innings is a bit high compared with his other teammates, so he needs to lower his walk rate to lower his strikeout-to-walk ratio.

**Arizona Diamondbacks**

1. ** Ian Kennedy**

a. K/9: 7.8

b. BB/9: 3.2

c. HR/9: 1.2

d. K/BB (strikeout-to-walk ratio): 2.40

e. WHIP: 1.20

f. Innings pitched: 194.0

2. ** Joe Saunders **(w/LAA and ARI)

a. K/9: 5.0

b. BB/9: 2.8

c. HR/9: 1.1

d. K/BB (strikeout-to-walk ratio): 1.78

e. WHIP: 1.46

f. Innings pitched: 203.1

3. ** Daniel Hudson** (w/CHW and ARI)

a. K/9: 7.9

b. BB/9: 2.5

c. HR/9: 0.8

d. K/BB (strikeout-to-walk ratio): 3.11

e. WHIP: 1.00

f. Innings pitched: 95.1

a. K/9: 4.5

b. BB/9: 2.6

c. HR/9: 1.8

d. K/BB (strikeout-to-walk ratio): 1.69

e. WHIP: 1.27

f. Innings pitched: 99.0

5. ** Armando Galarraga** (w/ DET)

a. K/9: 4.6

b. BB/9: 3.2

c. HR/9: 1.3

d. K/BB (strikeout-to-walk ratio): 1.45

e. WHIP: 1.34

f. Innings pitched: 144.1

** Ian Kennedy** needs to avoid the DL to give the Diamondbacks a chance to compete for the NL west crown. In his full season with the Diamondbacks last year, he had a WHIP of 1.20, which is .17 points lower than the National League average. He certainly does not stand out when compared with other dominant pitchers in the NL west, but last year was his first full season in the big leagues, so his stats could considerably improve with more major league experience.