Much to the Cardinals’ chagrin, the Cincinnati Reds are not going away and finish another week tied with St. Louis for first place in the NL Central. Joey Votto is currently fifth in the NL with a .313 batting average. Brandon Phillips (42 runs, 66 hits), Scott Rolen (40 RBIs, 14 home runs) and Drew Stubbs (four triples) are also among league leaders in major offensive categories.
The Cardinals aren’t going anywhere, though, and took two-of-three from the Brewers over the weekend. The big news in Milwaukee is addition by subtraction. The Brew Crew released overpaid-underperforming Jeff Suppan and ate $10 million.
Although the Cubs lost a weekend series to the Astros, they beat Pittsburgh Monday in a make-up game from June 2. The significance was Carlos Silva improved to 8-0 despite flu symptons. His record is second only to Ubaldo Jimenez (see below).
Ubaldo Jimenez continues to lead the NL in most pitching categories. He has an 11-1 record and has struck out 78 batters. After giving up two earned runs in seven innings of work at Arizona Sunday, his ERA skyrocketed to 0.93. He has allowed just nine runs in 12 starts this season.
The Padres have been playing good ball and sit a half-game ahead of the Dodgers. However, if Andre Ethier plays like he did before going on the Disabled List at the end of May, L.A. could charge past. He has six hits, including three doubles, in his last seven games. It could be a sign that he’s turning the corner and primed for another tear.
I would say ‘Hotlanta,’ but it’s cliché. So simply put, the Atlanta Braves are playing really, really well. The Braves are a full two games ahead of the Phillies. It doesn’t help Philadelphia that they can’t score runs as of late. Evidently they will need more perfect games to get back in the win column.
As for the Braves, they have won seven of their last 10 and they are 19-6 at home. 19-6! Second baseman Martin Prado is leading the NL in batting average (.325), is second in runs scored (44) and is tied for fifth with 17 doubles.
Atlanta – Just plain hot.
Cincinnati – After several weeks of waiting for the let-down, Reds look real.
San Diego – Steady as she goes.
Philadelphia – Hard to win if you can’t score.
Los Angeles – Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier are getting this team going.