Tuesday, August 17, 2010

NL Central, East races living up to hype


The much-anticipated matchup between the Reds and Cardinals was dominated by St. Louis. The Cardinals swept the three-game series at Cincy, winning by at least four runs in each game.

Since then, the Reds haven’t lost. They swept a weekend series against the Marlins and begin a road trip in Arizona, Los Angeles and San Francisco. Joey Votto is hanging tough in his Triple Crown campaign. He leads the NL with a .322 batting average, sits second with 28 home runs, and is tied for third with 79 RBIs.

After their impressive series against Cincinnati, St. Louis tanked at home versus the Cubs. Chicago took the final two games of the series and the Red Birds trail Cincy by a game in the Central race. The Chicago series was a missed opportunity to stay in first place.

Individually, Albert Pujols’ name needs to be mentioned in the Triple Crown race. He is first in RBIs with 86, second with 30 homers (only Adam Dunn has more with 31), and is fourth in batting average at .315.

Adam Wainwright is the only starting pitcher in the Majors to boast an ERA under 2.00 and is tied with Ubaldo Jimenez for the most wins in the league (17).

Both Cincinnati and St. Louis have won seven of their last 10.


The Padres became the first team to win 70 games this season, following a 9-5 win over Chicago Monday. San Diego has won seven of their last 10 and are on a modest two-game winning streak.

More importantly they have increased the Division lead to four games over the chasing Giants.

Matt Latos owns the fifth-best ERA in the NL at 2.32 and Heath Bell leads the Majors with 35 saves for the Friars.

San Francisco has played .500 ball over the last 10 games to fall back of San Diego. The two losses that hurt the most were the two of three San Fran lost to the Padres over the weekend. Division losses are even more costly this time of year, and the Giants need to make the most of the NL matchups.

The Rockies’ Carlos Gomez (.321) is just one point behind Votto for the league lead.


The Braves have won 20 games in their last at bat. They never give up and they protect their home field (42-16 at Turner Field).

With the Phillies charging, the Braves are taking care of business by matching their Division rival win-for-win.

Atlanta has won its last four series. Marin Prado is batting .315 and Tim Hudson has 14 wins to go with his 2.13 ERA. Billy Wagner is now at 29 saves, although he may be the most nerve-wracking pitcher in the league.

Like the Braves, Philadelphia has won seven of 10, but can’t make up any ground on the Tribe.

Placido Polanco has a .319 average and Ryan Howard has pounded 81 RBIs. Roy Halladay is doing his job on the bump, earning his 15th win and touting a 2.24 ERA. With Chase Utley back in the lineup, Philadelphia will need to win their upcoming series against San Francisco, Washington and Houston.

Weekly Top-5

San Diego – Just keeps winning

Atlanta – Aren’t giving up out East

Philadelphia – Happy to have Utley back for the NL East chase

Cincinnati – Rebounded well from ugly St. Louis series

St. Louis – Gotta kick opponents when they’re down

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