Around the N.L. West

The Rockies have won 17 of their last 18 games after beating the Angels 11-1 Monday, and though it’s far too early to talk about the Wild Card race, the win does move them 1/2 game behind San Francisco and Milwaukee for the lead.

Kudos to former Dodgers manager Jim Tracy, who has turned things around in Colorado after replacing Clint Hurdle May 29. Tracy did a decent job with the Dodgers from 2001-2005, guiding L.A. to the National League West crown in 2004. But it never seemed like he clicked with then Dodgers’ G.M. Paul DePodesta, and he stepped down after the 2005 season, his only losing year with the Dodgers.

Tracy suffered through two miserable seasons in Pittsburgh, and it’s nice to see he’s landed on his feet – and doing a great job – with the Rockies.

The Giants manged just four hits in a 5-1 loss to Oakland.

In Arizona G.M. Josh Byrnes is reluctantly thinking about moving players as the D-Backs come to grips with what’s been a lost season thus far. Arizona is 91-113 after starting 20-8 last season – a shocking downturn for a club that won the N.L. West in 2007.

If I’m the Dodgers, I’m at least inquiring about starter Jon Garland, who was 14-8 (4.90 ERA, 196 IP) with the Angels last season but has struggled to a 4-7 record this year. The former Kennedy of Granada Hills standout isn’t a top of the rotation type pitcher, but he’d fit in nicely as an innings eating No. 5. Garland has thrown at least 190 innings seven straight years, and from 2004 through 2007 he exceeded 200 innings pitched. Garland signed a one-year, $6.5 million contract with the D-Backs with a mutual option for 2010. The club buyout on the 2010 option is $2.5 million.

San Diego promoted top prospect Kyle Banks to add some pop to the offense Friday but his defense will be just as important. Blanks will play mostly in the outfield, but he’ll also spell Adrian Gonzalez at first base when the Padres visit Texas in attempt to give Gonzalez a break from the Texas heat. Gonzalez will likely D.H. a game or two against the Rangers.

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  • El Lay Dave

    $5.75M – half of Garland’s 2009 salary assuming he’s acquired around July 1, plus the buyout – is FAR too much to spend for “an innings eating No. 5.” And if the Dodgers had to throw in Carlos Santana to avoid picking up the $2M Casey Blake was still owed for last season, there’s no way they are picking up Garland’s contract. PASS.