This Week in the National League: '08 Week 11

Many veterans have fallen victim to the injury bug, but some teams aren't letting the disabled list affect their success. There are a lot of impressive seasons underway in the National League. Here's the latest and greatest from around the league this week.

East Division

Philadelphia Phillies (39-27) - Jamie Moyer is 45 years young, but he continues to have great success as a MLB pitcher. Moyer is 5-1 in his last six decisions and is 6-3 this season. Meanwhile Shane Victorino has been beating opponents with both his defense and offense. In the past week Victorino has three home runs and six RBI, and he made a phenomenal throw to home plate Friday night nabbing Gregor Blanco for the final out in a 4-3 win over the Braves.

Florida Marlins (35-29) - Hanley Ramirez's bat awakened with authority. The slugging shortstop is slugging once again. In the past week, Ramirez has belted six home runs and driven in eight RBI. Mark Hendrickson is in need of his own wake-up call. Hendrickson started the season ablazin' with a 7-2 record. In his last three starts, Hendrickson has given up 19 earned runs in just 12 innings of work.

Atlanta Braves (32-33) - The injury bug is running wild in Atlanta, and the old-timers are dropping like flies. John Smoltz had season-ending surgery to repair his shoulder, and Tom Glavine left the game early Tuesday night with an elbow strain. Glavine is expected to get an MRI and will likely land on the DL. Meanwhile, Chipper Jones, sat out of his second straight game with a strain in his quadriceps muscle, but he did get a walk while pinch-hitting Tuesday night against the Cubs.

New York Mets (30-33) - Ryan Church, who had been leading all Mets hitters with a .300 batting average, landed on the DL this week. He sustained a concussion on May 20, and he reported still does not feel quite right. The news was not good as the club is reeling having lost five straight.

Washington Nationals (26-40) - Starting pitcher John Lannan has a 4-6 record through 12 starts. Unfortunately, he's pitched much better than that record would indicate and is simply plagued with an offense that isn't producing a lot of runs. Lannan has the team's best ERA at 3.47. The Nationals offense did come to life, though, Tuesday against the Pirates. Washington cranked five home runs, including two by Ronnie Belliard.

Central Division

Chicago Cubs (41-24) - Despite dropping three of four in a sequence this week, the Cubs rebounded with back-to-back wins and still maintain the best record in baseball. Kerry Wood is seemingly starting to come into his own as the Cubs closer. With a solid setup staff on fire in front of him, Wood has converted his last eight save opportunities and has dropped his ERA from 3.51 to 2.62. Meanwhile, Mark DeRosa continues to show Lou Piniella he needs to play as much as possible. DeRosa has increased his power, having knocked eight home runs already this season and thanks to seven more RBI this week, his season tally is at 34.

St. Louis Cardinals (39-27) - The Cardinals took a big blow on Tuesday night. Albert Pujols left the game with a strained calf muscle in a scene that didn't look good on the field. Though his status is unknown at this time, there shouldn't be any need to fret. The Cardinals have been defying odds all season with a team full of youngsters. Heck, Pujols isn't even leading the team in RBI. Ryan Ludwick, who drove in four more runs Tuesday against Cincinnati, now has 50 on the season.

Milwaukee Brewers (33-31) - Don't look now, but Russell Branyan is making one nice comeback. Branyan has played in 11 games now this season and is batting .333 with five home runs and seven RBI. With the way Bill Hall, Mike Cameron, and Rickie Weeks have been hitting, the Brewers could use the help. Hall, Cameron, and Weeks have batting averages of .223, .214, and .210 respectively. And because Cameron has been struggling so much, this week manager Ned Yost has opted to give Cameron some bench time, which isn't going over all that well.

Houston Astros (33-32) - In need of a big win after dropping four of five games this past week, Roy Oswalt showed up in a big way against the Brewers Tuesday night. Oswalt tossed seven very strong innings, giving up just one run on five hits and racking up double digits in strikeouts with 10. Lance Berkman continued his path of destruction with a three-hit, five-RBI night to lead the Astros offense.

Pittsburgh Pirates (31-34) - Catcher Ryan Doumit had a 4-for-4 evening Tuesday with a pair of home runs, bringing his season batting average up to .345 through 119 at-bats. Zach Duke rattled off back-to-back wins for the second time this season, improving to 4-4 on the year with a 4.10 ERA. Don't get too excited, though, Duke can be streaky and it's tough to say if the momentum will retain its energy.

Cincinnati Reds (31-35) - Edinson Volquez got right back to his winning ways this week posting back-to-back wins and bringing his season win total to nine. What's most impressive, though, is his MLB-leading ERA of 1.56. Aaron Harang, who is 2-9 this season, is clearly capable of Cy Young Award-caliber stuff. Harang has lost four straight decisions and the team has lost all five of those starts. If he can get his act together and return to the Aaron Harang we know and love, these two pitchers could make a fearsome duo in the second half of the season.

West Division

Arizona Diamondbacks (35-30) - Arizona had the best record in baseball not too long ago, but a tough stretch has left the team with just the fifth-best record in the NL. The one thing they have going for them is that the NL West is just awful this season, which leaves them atop the divisional standings. Mark Reynolds, whose power numbers fizzled for a little while, is back on track, having blasted three home runs and driven in four runs in the final two games in Pittsburgh this weekend.

Los Angeles Dodgers (31-33) - Coming off his worst outing of the year against the Mets on June 1, in which he lasted just 2.2 innings and surrendered six runs, Hiroki Kuroda pitched an absolute gem Friday night against the Cubs. Kuroda went the distance and handed the Cubs a shutout loss while striking out 11.

San Francisco Giants (29-36) - The Giants swept the Nationals this past weekend in a four-game series. Brian Wilson continues to prove to be a legitimate closer, picking up two more saves over the weekend to bring his season total to 18. But who has had the hot bat in San Francisco? None other than Bengie Molina who continues to hit around .333 and is leading the team with 41 RBI.

San Diego Padres (28-38) - The Padres won five straight prior to dropping the series opener against the Dodgers on Tuesday night. In fact, they won four straight games against the Cubs and Mets by a score of 2-1. Trevor Hoffman was the big winner this past week, having tallied three saves and a win in five days of work.

Colorado Rockies (25-39) - Matt Holliday returned from the DL Tuesday. Though he had an 0-for-3 evening, he did score a run and his presence alone made a difference for the Rockies, who beat the Giants 10-5. Aaron Cook won his ninth game of the season, and with a 3.21 ERA, continues to be a pleasant surprise this season.

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