Interleague play started this past weekend, and we're beginning to get our taste of who might be for real this season and who might just be pretending. So around the horn we go, here's the latest and greatest from around the National League.
Florida Marlins (25-19) - The Marlins signed outfielder
Jacque Jones to a minor league deal Monday. He could add a veteran
presence to the clubhouse and in center field. Second baseman Dan Uggla
meanwhile continues his tear. With another blast on Tuesday, Uggla's season
totals are 14 home runs and 32 RBI while carrying a .323 batting
Atlanta Braves (24-21) - Chipper Jones continues
to lead the league in hitting with a .409 batting average, and the Braves
continue to play solid baseball. They swept a doubleheader against the Mets on
Tuesday behind good all-around pitching. Tom Glavine, who was 0-1 after
his first six starts this year, has produced back-to-back wins against
Philadelphia and the
Philadelphia Phillies (25-22) - Chase Utley leads the
team with 14 home runs, and Pat Burrell is the top RBI man with 32.
However, Utley has just one home run in his last 16 games, and similarly,
Burrell has just two RBI. Offense has been a struggle for the Phils as of late,
though they continue to keep pace in the NL East
York Mets (22-21) - Johan Santana is
starting to heat up in New
York. He's undefeated in his past four
decisions, and the club is 6-0 when he's taken the mound in that same timespan.
His latest outing was his longest, a 7.2-inning performance against the New York Yankees, in which he gave up four earned runs, but still earned the win.
Washington Nationals (20-27) - Tim Redding has given up
just one run in his last two starts, spanning 12.1 innings, which netted him two
big wins and improved his record to 6-3. Teammate Jon Rauch is proving to
be a quality saves man for the Nationals. Rauch has been a perfect 8-for-8 in
save opportunities since his last blown save on April 17th. He now has 10 saves
on the season.
Chicago Cubs (28-18) - The Jim Edmonds
experiment began in Chicago with the Cubs signing the
centerfielder to a one-year deal. Edmonds is expected to split time with
Reed Johnson. The Cubs completed an 8-2 homestand that saw Alfonso Soriano ignite. Soriano boosted his average from .188 to .296 and in a
six-game sequence cranked seven home runs and drove in 13 runs. The Cubs most
pleasant, and maybe not-so unexpected surprises on offense this year so far has
been Geovanny Soto. The catcher is batting .317 with nine home runs and
leads the team with 33 RBI.
St. Louis Cardinals (27-21) - There are a lot of new names on
the Cardinals roster this season, but somehow they're finding ways to win.
Todd Wellemeyer has been the surprise of the rotation. The former relief
pitcher is 3-0 in his last four starts and 5-1 with a 3.25 ERA on the season to
lead the Cardinals staff. Though Ryan Ludwick leads the team with 32 RBI,
the familiar face of Albert Pujols is still the dominant presence in the
Cards lineup. Pujols is batting .355 this season and continues to lead the
majors with a .495 on-base percentage.
Houston Astros (26-21) - Prior to running into the Cubs
on Monday, Lance Berkman was putting up some stupid numbers for May. He
had a 17-game hit streak broken Monday that took his average from .297 to .399.
During that same time, he rocked eight home runs, bringing his total to 16 and
drove in 21 runs to bring his RBI count to 44, both league highs. Closer Jose Valverde continues his dominance, as well. Valverde hasn't given up a run
since April 17th and has since closed 11 games and added two wins to his 4-1
Pittsburgh Pirates (21-24) - The Pirates caught
Milwaukee and the two teams face off this
week, with the Brewers taking game one Tuesday 7-2. Though the Bucs have shown
definite signs of improvement, Freddy Sanchez, one of their bright spots
the past two seasons, continues to struggle. Sanchez is batting just .260 on the
year following his .344 in 2006 when he won the batting crown, and .304 just
Milwaukee Brewers (21-24) - Eric Gagne hadn't
pitched since he earned his last save on May 13th. He took the hill in a
non-save opportunity Tuesday against Pittsburgh and gave up two runs in just 0.2
innings of work. There's a big hole in that closer position in
Milwaukee and it's just going to keep
haunting this up-and-coming team.
Cincinnati Reds (21-25) - Edinson Volquez
continues to be the rave, but there is already rising concern over how Dusty
Baker is using him. Volquez is throwing a lot of pitches, and Baker's
history of allowing the likes of Kerry Wood and Mark Prior to do
so have some fans worried about the fate of this budding phenom. Adam Dunn is starting to mash the ball. He never really hits for average as his
.248 career BA indicates, but Dunn can crank the long ball, and he did so in
five consecutive games this past week.
Arizona Diamondbacks (28-17)
Diamondbacks remain the team with the best record in baseball, and not much has
changed from week to week. Brandon Webb continues his dominance and is
now 9-0 with a 2.56 ERA. Closer Brandon Lyon has converted his last 11
save opportunities giving him 12 on the season and has a pitched 17.0
consecutive scoreless innings to improve his ERA to 1.80.
Angeles Dodgers (24-21) - The Andruw Jones saga in
LA continues. Jones had an MRI on his knee and reports indicate a fluid and torn
cartilage, which could sideline Jones for around a month. Meanwhile, Rafael Furcal, who has been out with a strained back, has been practicing and is
expected back before the weekend.
Colorado Rockies (18-28) - After winning six straight
starts, Aaron Cook has dropped two in a row. Still at 6-3 with a 3.06 ERA
a quarter of a way through the season, he's the top performing
Rockies pitcher. Clint Barmes has
been the resurrected Rockies hitter. Barmes is having a career
year batting .355 to start the season.
Francisco Giants (18-29) - Closer Brian Wilson has
struggled as of late. Wilson gave up two runs Tuesday night,
but managed to hold on for his 13th save. That's now six runs he's given up in
his last two outings, which has buried his ERA at 5.79. Young phenom Tim
Lincecum continues to dazzle hitters. Lincecum improved to 6-1 on Tuesday,
and though he gave up three runs over 6.0 innings of work, he still only has a
Diego Padres (17-30) - Starting pitcher and staff ace
Jake Peavy landed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right
elbow. The news just keeps getting worse for the Padres who can't seem to catch
a break, produce any offense, or do anything right.
Towers has made it publicly known that
he isn't happy with the worst record in baseball and that change is imminent if
the club doesn't get its act together and start winning some games
Got questions or comments? Sound
off to firstname.lastname@example.org.