The Cardinals are back in first place thanks to a six-game winning streak. St. Louis’ pitching has been rock solid. Adam Wainwright (14 wins) and Chris Carpenter (10 wins) are second and tied for third, respectively, in the National League. Wainwright’s 2.02 ERA is second to only Josh Johnson and Jaime Garcia is third with a 2.27.
The Reds’ lead over the Cardinal evaporated when the Phillies swept a four-game series prior to the All-Star break. Cincinnati rebounded after the break, winning two of three versus Colorado. They have Washington for four games before traveling to Houston. The light schedule this week is filled with must-win game if they hope to keep pace with the red-hot Cardinals.
Milwaukee’s Prince Fielder currently sits atop the NL with 23 home runs with teammate Corey Hart sitting tied for second with 22.Marlon Byrd is batting .316 for the Chicago Cubs. However, outside of some individual statistics, both teams continue to find consistency as a team.
San Diego is still sporting the best record in baseball. Starter Matt Latos has reached the 10-win mark for the Padres (54-37). San Diego is on a four-game winning streak and leads the NL West by the same four-game margin.
San Francisco is the closest challenger. The Giants have won eight of their last 10. Closer Brian Wilson is tied with the Padres’ Heath Bell with a league-high 26 saves. Tim Lincecum is 10-4 with a league-high 136 Ks.
The Los Angeles Dodgers are an intriguing team. Despite sitting six games back in the division, a number of players are beginning to play good baseball. Rafael Furcal leads the league with a .338 batting average and Andre Ethier is sporting a .314. James Loney has driven in 64 runs and has 26 doubles. Matt Kemp has scored 59 runs.
If Clayton Kershaw (3.16 ERA, 129 Ks), Hiroki Kuroda, Chad Billingsley and the rest of the pitching staff put together quality outings, the Dodgers could make a big run down the stretch.
The Atlanta Braves got off to a so-so start to the second half of the season, splitting a four-game set with the Brewers. What’s most shocking is that Atlanta split the series at home where they are a whopping 32-12.
Martin Prado is batting .323 for the Braves, and Troy Glaus has 59 RBIs.
The Mets and Phillies are lurking in second and third place.
Philadelphia is in a similar situation as L.A. They have a lot of players performing individually. If they put together a team-effort, good things could be in the near future.
Ryan Howard has an NL-best 74 RBIs. Roy Halladay has struggled in his last couple outings, but still has 10 wins and a 2.40 ERA.
In Florida, Josh Johnson continues to pitch well, giving the Marlins an opportunity to win every five games. He has a Major League best 1.62 ERA and 10 wins to go with 130 strikeouts.
San Diego – A model of consistency
St. Louis – Scorching hot and likely scaring the pants of Cincy fans.
Atlanta – Can’t rule out anyone who plays as well as the Braves do at home
Cincinnati – They’re not dead yet; Votto and the gang won’t roll over easily.
San Francisco – Hitting and pitching well.