The National League playoff picture continues to be cloudy picture as each of the three divisions continue to play themselves each week. This continued this week as the top three teams in each division stayed packed while holding a lead over the second place teams.
In the National League East the New York Mets continue to be one of our biggest surprises in all of Major League Baseball. Entering the season the team didn’t receive any love from the baseball experts. Despite that the Mets have proven everyone wrong with what might be the best starting rotations in all of baseball from top to bottom.
While the Mets continue to hold in the East, the St. Louis Cardinals continue to be the top team in all of baseball as they approach 80 win. The Cardinals continue to do it with great pitching and picking up hits with runners in scoring positions. Currently the Cardinals lead all teams in the National League with a plus 123 run differential.
Rounding out the top three teams is the Los Angeles Dodgers who continue to hold on to the top spot in the National League West. The team also continues to find ways to pull of moves to land big name players. This time around the team landed Chase Utley from the Philadelphia Phillies to anchor the infield down while Howie Kendrick is out. This move also gives the team another valuable member to help them win the division.
Here is a quick recap of how each of the three divisions has played out around the National League over the past ten days.
National League East: Week in and week out, we continue to wait for the Washington Nationals to get hot and over take the Mets at the top of the division. This hasn’t been the case though as the Nationals continue to struggles winning just three of there past ten games. The downside for the team was losing an opportunity to gain some ground on a Mets team that picked up just five wins over there past ten games.
For the Mets the week started off hot as they managed to pull off of a four game sweep of the Colorado Rockies. Unfortunately the team couldn’t build any momentum losing four of there next five games including being swept by the Pittsburgh Pirates at home. In that series the team managed to put together only six runs over the three game series.
While the Mets have been up and down over the ten days the Nationals can’t say the same thing. The week opened up with an 8-3 win over the Dodgers before losing six straight games including losing four straight to the San Francisco Giants. In those losses the team managed to score less than one run in four including being shut out in three straight games.
After these two teams the rest of the East has played themselves out of the playoff picture. The Atlanta Braves sit in third place at 53-67 after losing three of their past ten games. The Miami Marlins currently sit in fourth place after winning six of ten while the Philadelphia Phillies sit in last place winning just four of their past ten games.
National League Central: It seems like each week we start too look at this division we continue to determine that this is the best division in all of baseball. That hasn’t changed this week after all three of the top teams posted at least six wins over a ten game stretch while all three teams have at least 67 wins. Those 67 wins is more than the first place Mets who have 64 and the same amount as the first place Dodgers who have 67.
Since the Cardinals are the top team in the division we will start with how they have been able to build the best record in baseball. The Cardinals opened up last week taking two of three against the Pirates in a critical divisional matchup. After that series the Cardinals managed to take two of three against the Marlins before taking two of three against the Giants. The question we continue to ask ourselves is why does the Cardinals pitching staff get no love while all the talk has been about the Dodgers, Nationals and Mets this season?
After losing two of three against the Pirates, the Pirates rebounded with a three game sweep over the Mets before taking two of three against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Much of there recent success has been done on the mound as well allowing fewer than three runs in four of there past five wins.
Meanwhile the Cubs continued winning running there winning streak to nine straight games after a sweep over the Milwaukee Brewers to start the week. The wins continued as the Cubs would take two of three from across town rivals the Chicago White Sox. Unfortunately the team couldn’t bounce back from a 3-1 loss on Sunday to the White Sox losing the next two against the Detroit Tigers.
The Cincinnati Reds and Milwaukee Brewers continue to sit in the bottom of the division despite putting together a few solid winning streaks this season.
National League West: The Dodgers continue to hold on to the top spot but the Giants have played themselves back within two games after picking up six of ten wins last week. Along with the Giants recent success the San Diego Padres have been red hot of late winning three straight as well as seven of they’re past ten games.
For the Dodgers the week started off with a bang taking two off three against the Nationals before taking three of four against the Cincinnati Reds. That success couldn’t continue as the team has struggled to score runs in back to back games against the last place Oakland A’s losing both games including watching a solid pitching performance from Clayton Kershaw go to waste as the bullpen blew it late.
The Giants have played well of late as well splitting a two game series with the first place American League West leaders the Houston Astros before picking up a four game sweep of the Nationals over the weekend. The downside came as they started a thirteen game stretch over the top three teams in the National League Central including losing two of three to open that stretch against the Cardinals. This could be a difficult next ten days with four against the Pirates, three against the Cubs and three more against the Cardinals
Then sitting back just waiting to make a move is the Padres who many thought would be the favorite to win the division. The team’s recent stretch of wins has them within three games of a five hundred record and back within single digits of the first place Dodgers. The team’s recent success includes series wins over the Reds, Rockies and a three game sweep over the Braves.
Another good piece of news for the division might be coming at the end of the season as the Colorado Rockies continue to hold on to the worst record in all of baseball something that would deliver them the first pick in the Major League Baseball draft next year.