The National League continues to travel down the same path as the top three teams continue to hold their spots. This includes the St. Louis Cardinals who have played to the top record in all of baseball at 54-28 over the first few months of the season. A task many fans and experts couldn’t have predicted just a few months back.
An off-season that saw up and coming star Oscar Taveras pass away during a fatal car crash. Then the team’s bad luck continued early on when the team lost their ace in the rotation Adam Wainwright. That being said that hasn’t slowed this team down as the team continues to find a way to win from a variety of different players on the team.
While the Cardinals have took a nice six game lead in the National League Central, the Washington Nationals have played themselves back into first place in the National League East. The Nationals currently lead the New York Mets by 3.5 games followed by the Atlanta Braves by five games.
Much of the team’s dominance has been from the mound where Max Scherzer has dominated while Bryce Harper continues to play himself into the National League MVP picture. Harper has also played himself into the Triple Crown picture as he is within the top five in batting average, home runs and runs batted in.
Then out West, the Los Angels Dodgers continue to hold the top spot after holding off the San Francisco Giants. Now the Giants are trending backwards as they have lost seven straight games and eight of their past ten games. This has allowed the Dodgers to build up a five game lead in the division.
Let’s take a look at each of the three National League Divisions individually.
East Division: The Nationals are doing what many had predicted before the start of the 2015 Major League Baseball season and that is dominate the division. Early on the team had some struggles on the mound including an injury to Stephen Strasburg while Scherzer struggled at points.
As you look back over the past week the Nationals pitching has been brilliant with the team’s last bad pitching performance coming back last Sunday. In six games last week the Nationals pitching allowed just 12 runs with only one game allowing more than three runs. One of those starters that were able to help the Nationals was Jordan Zimmerman who worked 14.2 innings allowing just one earned run while striking out 14.
Along with the Nationals success, both the New York Mets and Atlanta Braves have played to a 6-4 record over their past ten games to stay within striking distance of the Nationals. One concern for the Mets as we look at them is their lack of offense as they have scored only 293 runs while allowing just 301 runs. The Mets have allowed the fewest runs in the division to this point.
Rounding out the rest of the division is the Miami Marlins who played to a 5-5 record over their past ten games while the Philadelphia Phillies have played to the worst record in all of baseball at 28-57.
Central Division: The National League Central division is emerging as possible the strongest division in all of baseball over the course of the first half of the season. While the St. Louis Cardinals continue to hold the top spot at six games over the Pittsburgh Pirates and 9.5 games over the Chicago Cubs.
That being said the Pirates have played to an 8-2 record over their last ten games while the Cubs are hanging around at 5-5 over that stretch. Now as we look at the standings the Cardinals sit at 54-28 while the Pirates are 48-34 and the Cubs at 44-37. All three of those teams are at least seven games over the five hundred mark.
The surprise team of late has been the Milwaukee Brewers who are 8-2 over their past 10 games while improving their record to 36-49 for the season. The team managed to pick up wins in all seven games last week including a four game sweep over the Phillies before sweeping the Cincinnati Reds to wrap up the weekend.
West Division: Many expected the Los Angeles Dodgers to be the top seed in this division but what we have seen late of the other four teams has many of us scratching our heads. That includes the play of late by the San Francisco Giants including going just 2-8 over their past ten games while losing seven straight games.
After picking up back to back wins over last weekend to pick up the series win over the Colorado Rockies, the Giants lost three straight games to the Marlins in Miami before being swept by the Nationals in our Nations Capital over the weekend. The team managed to pick up just five runs in that series with their losing continuing on Monday as they managed to get shut out by the Mets at home.
Only the Dodgers have played to a winning record over their past ten games with the Arizona Diamondbacks playing to a 5-5 record. That success has helped the Diamondbacks to climb to third place in the division behind the Dodgers and Giants while the Padres sit in fourth and Rockies in last place.
The biggest surprise of the division has been the play of the Padres who sit at 39-46 as the 2015 All-Star game approaches. This was a team that we all thought would be in contention for at least a wild card berth but just haven’t lived up to the hype. It shows us again that spending doesn’t guarantee a team a winning season.
Now that we have taken a look at each of the divisions around Major League Baseball we can take a look at a few individuals. Here is our list of top individual performers over past two weeks in the National League.
Jordan Zimmerman, Washington Nationals: While Strasburg and Scherzer might get most of the attention; Zimmerman has been solid for the club this year. That includes last week as he picked up two wins moving his season record to 7-5 while lowering his earned run average to 3.04 for the season. Zimmerman allowed just one earned run over 14.2 innings while striking out 14.
Gerardo Parra, Milwaukee Brewers: Parra has helped the Brewers play to one of the better records around the National League over the past week. This includes picking up two home runs over the weekend as well as a third home run on Monday against the Braves. Currently Parra is riding a six game hit streak helping him raise his average from .290 to .311 on the season.