This time of year, all baseball fans start looking at their teams' starting rotation, and analyzing it to death against the other teams in their divisions. Most seasoned veterans. Biggest rookie sensations. Fastest arms on the radar guns. Deepest rotations. Best rotations. Worst rotations.
We won't add more ingredients to this fray. But the one metric that we haven't seen yet is which NL West team boasts the spiciest rotation. And so, without further ado, our rundown.
Diamondbacks: Brandon Webb may be nails, and Dan Haren is still pretty solid like a packed Barbacoa burrito. But after that, the rotation falls off pretty fast. Jon Garland has a pretty bland arsenal and Max Scherzer might not have enough punch to become a breakthrough contributor. Spicy meter: 3 Jalapenos.
Dodgers: Adding James McDonald to the lineup is going to bring a lot of flavor to what is already a rotation filled with mouth-watering excitement. Chad Billingsley and Clayton Kershaw won't disappoint, Hiroki Kuroda is like a bolt of wasabi (a flavor not available at Chipotle®--yet!), and Randy Wolf will be servicable like a basic ground pepper. There is no weak link in this lineup. Spicy meter: 5 Jalapenos.
Giants: Tim Lincecum may have some zip, but Matt Cain is still overworked and underappreciated and Jonathan Sanchez doesn't have that kick that a starting pitcher really needs. We all know how Barry Zito's expensive tenure in San Francisco has been dull and without any zest. And even if Randy Johnson still has some tabasco in the tank, with this moribund offensive lineup, their arms will be rubber by mid-May. Spicy meter: 1 Jalapeno.
Padres: Why waste anyone's time against a flat and boring rotation led by Jake Peavy, who looked lifeless and watery in the World Baseball Classic? Spicy meter: 1 Jalapeno.
Rockies: Ubaldo Jimenez and Jason Marquis may be okay #1 and #2 pitchers. But they have one too many (Aaron) Cooks in the kitchen here, and what little spice this rotation has isn't going to bring out any sophisticated tastes, even for Denver. Spicy meter: 2 Jalapenos.
There you have it, the Dodgers' 2009 rotation looks to indeed be the spiciest in the NL West. What do you all think: do we have the best ingredients in the division?