The National League continues to be an up and down roller coaster as teams fight for the top three spots. This includes a two team race in the National League East as the New York Mets and Washington Nationals fight for the top spot. Meanwhile out West the Los Angeles Dodgers continue to hold on to first place over the San Francisco Giants.
Starting in the National League East, the Mets who got off to a fast start to open the season now has managed to get to the top of the division after the Nationals clawed themselves back into first place. Much of that success came over the past week as the Mets managed to win seven of ten while the Nationals have managed to win just three of their past ten games.
While those two teams continue to battle in the East, the Dodgers recent four game winning streak positioned them three games up in the National League West. The Dodgers continue to be the team to beat despite losing three straight to end last weekend as well as Tuesday against the A’s.
Since that point the Dodgers have won four straight games including a three game sweep over the weekend against cross-town rivals the Los Angeles Angels.
Now this gives us a chance to take a look around the entire National League including each of the three divisions as we wrap up July and open up August.
National League East: The National League East has now turned into just a two team race for the division. This comes after a disappointing week for an Atlanta Braves team that had the chance to make ground up in the division. Unfortunate the Braves managed to lose six of seven games for the week before picking up back to back wins on Sunday and Monday.
This dropped the Braves to 48-58 on the season while being eight games behind the Mets in the East. Meanwhile the Mets have been red hot winning five of their last seven games including a big three game sweep over the Nationals this past weekend. In that series the Mets pitching limited the Nationals to just five runs in three games.
While the Mets have been hot, the Nationals have struggled after opening the week taking two of three against the Miami Marlins. The Nationals would go on to lose all three to the Mets before a 6-4 loss on Monday to the Diamondbacks. The Nationals struggles continue to be due to the team’s lack of offense including scoring three or fewer runs in six of their past eight games.
Which of these two teams will continue their pace up to take home the East?
National League Central: The only division in the National League that has not seen a second team climb into first place of last in the National League Central. That has been in large part to the St. Louis Cardinals success from the start of the season to this point while playing the most consistent baseball of all the 30 Major League Baseball teams.
The Cardinals are currently 67-38 and the only team in baseball not to hit the 40 loss mark to this point. That being said the Pittsburgh Pirates have clawed their way back into the playoff picture as they currently sit at 61-43. This past week though the Pirates were able to pick up a game in the standings after going 4-2 over the past week.
The Cardinals on the other hand managed to pick up four wins but also managed to lose three games as well. For the Pirates last week after opening up sweeping the Minnesota Twins in a two game matchup the team managed to split a four game series with the Cincinnati Reds.
The Cardinals on the other hand couldn’t get a series win against the Reds to open the week losing two of three getting shut out in back to back games before winning three of their next four games over a struggling Colorado Rockies team. This time next week the Cardinals could have an opportunity to build a commanding lead in the division with six games against the Reds and Milwaukee Brewers who are at the bottom of the division.
Will the Pirates find a way to take home the division or will the Cardinals continue their dominance in the National League West.
National League West: After seeing the San Francisco Giants fight to within a game of the Dodgers last week the success wouldn’t keep up. This has a lot to do with the Dodgers ability to bounce back after struggling. This shown up last week after splitting a two game series with the Oakland A’s, the Dodgers were able to sweep the cross-town rivals the Angels in the battle of Los Angeles.
While the Dodgers managed to take four of five last week the Giants managed to go just 3-4 in there last seven games. After taking two of three to the Brewers to open the week, the Giants struggled in Texas as the Rangers walked away with two of three games before losing game one of a three game series with the Braves on Monday Night.
Along with the top two teams both the San Diego Padres and Arizona Diamondbacks have been red hot of late. The Padres are 8-2 over there past ten games while the Diamondbacks are 7-3 in their last ten. The Padres were able to take two of three against the Mets to open the week before taking two of three against the Marlins and an opening win on Monday against the Brewers. The Padres could continue their success with two games remaining against the Brewers before a three game series with the Philies over the weekend.
The Diamondbacks on the other hand opened the week with a three game sweep over the Seattle Mariners before losing two of three to the Houston Astros. The team did manage to bounce back with a 6-4 win on Monday against the Nationals.
Much like the American League could we see three teams come out of the National League West?