The National League continues to deliver excitement night in and night out as the calendar month prepares to flip to September. This week a few of the hottest teams include the New York Mets, Pittsburgh Pirates and even the San Diego Padres. Each of these team’s recent streaks have positioned each of these teams for a postseason run in October.
As we start to recap the National League our eyes have been on those Mets who continue to impress. This includes a stretch of winning the past seven games as well as eight of there past ten. The winning started in Colorado last Friday as the Rockies took three straight games before heading to Philadelphia.
The good news the Phillies had cooled off after there hot stretch after the All-Star break. The Mets managed to sweep the Phillies in four straight games including breaking out the lumber in the series. Other good news for the Mets was the return of All-Star third baseman David Wright who homered in his first at bat after returning from the disabled list.
While the Mets might be the hottest team in the National League, the Pirates have picked up seven wins over there past ten games. Meanwhile the Padres have managed to move within single diigits of the Los Angeles Dodgers after winning seven of there past ten games.
Not all the action has been positive over the past week including watching the Los Angeles Dodgers get swept while winning only five of there last ten games. Then you have teams like the Atlanta Braves and Cincinnati Reds who managed to just pick up just one win over there past ten games.
That being said here is a quick recap of the entire National League as we all prepare for some September baseball.
National League East: As we have been preaching for weeks this continues to be one of those divisions that we couldn’t have predicted before the season. All anyone talked about this offseason was the dream team pitching rotation of the Washington Nationals. The thing we didn’t hear about was how good the New York Mets pitching staff was going to be.
This is exactly how the Mets have built their six and a half game lead in the National League East. The team has been led by Jacob deGrom at the top of the rotation. deGrom leads the team in wins with 12, earned run average at 2.29 and strikeouts with 161 over his first 24 starts. Other key arms have been Matt Harvey who is returning from tommy john surgery and Jonathon Niese.
While the Mets hold on to the top spot, the Nationals have pitched well but the team has been inconsistent at the plate. This has showed up in the statistics as they have managed to only outscore there opponents by 25 despite scoring 531 runs through there first 125 games.
The one question every baseball fan wants to know is if this Nationals team can make a run in the division to earn a spot to play in October.
National League Central: The hype will continue to come in for the National League Central as the top three teams continue to dominate. The three teams latest stretch run have positioned them into the top three records in the National League. Along with having the top three records these three teams would all make the post season if the season ended today.
The top team in the division is the St. Louis Cardinals who currently hold the top record in baseball at 81-45. The Cardinals recent stretch of wins includes winning four straight games heading into Thursday. This includes winning three straight against the Arizona Diamondbacks and the fourth game against the Padres. The Cardinals entered Thursday with a chance to sweep the Diamondbacks.
Flipping over from the Cardinals we elected to look at a Pittsburgh Pirates team that has won seven of there past ten games. For the Pirates they continue to take care of business starting back on August 14th as the team opened up with a win over the Mets before finishing off the sweep that Sunday. Since that series the Pirates have picked up series wins over the Diamondbacks, San Francisco Giants and Miami Marlins.
Then you have the Chicago Cubs who continue to be a contender with the strong pitching efforts from Jake Arrieta as well as a lineup that continues to develop into one of the tops in all of baseball. That includes the Cubs top rookie Kris Bryant who picked up another key long ball this week as he helped the team walk off in the bottom of the ninth against the Cleveland Indians.
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National League West: The up and downs continue to keep the Los Angeles Dodgers atop the National League West. This time the Dodgers struggles picking up just five wins over their last ten games didn’t cost them in the standings as the Giants have managed to win just four of there last ten games.
Starting with the Dodgers, the past ten days have been a big time roller coaster ride starting with the club winning three of four against the Cincinnati Reds. The Dodgers followed that up losing back to back games against the Oakland A’s before losing three straight to the Houston Astros. After the struggles the Dodgers have bounced back winning three straight over the Reds.
For the Giants the same struggles have occurred over the past week losing two of three to the Cardinals before losing three of four to the Pirates. Luckily for the fans the team was able to turn it around the past two days taking two of three against a very hot Cubs team.
Then you have the Padres who started last weekend with two of three wins over the Rockies. Then the Padres bounced back sweeping the Braves before taking two of three over the Cardinals. After the hot stretch the Padres couldn’t manage to build on it losing two of three to the Nationals.
These next few weeks should be interesting as the Dodgers and Giants continue to battle it out for the top spot in the National League West.