Some guys just find ways to keep getting the job done. This week's highlights are full of those names. But there are some surprises, some firsts, and some downright ugliness.
Without any further
delay, let's get to the latest and greatest from around the NL.
Philadelphia Phillies (42-35) - The Phils have dropped seven of
their last eight, including their last five games, albeit against the stiff
competition of the Red Sox and Angels. Still in those five games, the team has
scored just nine runs. Chase Utley has been slumping and has seen his batting average drop
from .317 to .291 in the past week. To give him a little rest in hopes it might
recharge his bat, the Phils kept him out of the starting lineup Saturday. The
result? A double and pair of strikeouts on Sunday.
Florida Marlins (40-35) - Dan Uggla continues to pour it on.
He whacked another four home runs this past week and drove in nine to bring his
season totals to 23 and 57, respectively. With his offensive charge and a slide
atop the NL East, the Marlins are hot on the Phillies' heels heading into the
final week of the June.
York Mets (37-39) - After going 0-6 through his
last 10 starts, Mike Pelfrey is piecing it back together. Pelfrey beat both the
Angels and Rockies on the road the past week, which included 5.2 shutout innings
continues to be the offensive leader on the team. He has 56 RBI this season
after driving in nine in the past 10 games.
Atlanta Braves (38-41) - The Braves have been hot and
cold all season, though particularly cold on the road. Mark Teixeira did heat up Sunday,
however, as he blasted three home runs against the Mariners in Atlanta. He became the
first Braves player to hit three home runs in single game at Turner
Washington Nationals (30-49) - It's tough to find good news
out of the Nationals camp week in and week out. When your top RBI man almost
halfway through the season, Lastings Milledge, is sitting with a tally of just 28, you're in a world
Chicago Cubs (48-28) - After getting swept on the road
to the Rays and losing Carlos Zambrano to the 15-day DL, the Cubs got out the brooms at home
against their cross-town rivals. The Cubs home winning streak ran to 14 games
before losing Tuesday night to Baltimore, and Ryan Dempster is a perfect 9-0 at
Wrigley Field this season. Aramis Ramirez went on a tear in the White Sox series, belting four
home runs and driving in eight runs. And new Cub Jim Edmonds put his name in Cubbie
history cranking two opposite field home runs in the same inning of Saturday's
game, becoming only the third Cub to achieve the rare
St. Louis Cardinals (44-33) - After getting swept at home by
their cross-state rivals, the Royals, the Cardinals went on the road to
nearly took all three. The Redbirds have a lineup that is about as familiar as
the Indians lineup was to fans in the movie Major League, but these guys are
finding ways to win and boast the second best record in the NL. Kyle Lohse continues his dominance.
He's 6-0 in his last six starts and has only given up eight runs in that
Milwaukee Brewers (43-34) - Quietly hanging around, the
Brewers are no doubt in the thick of the hunt. Prince Fielder is heating up as the
summer temps climb. He has five home runs and eight RBI in his last six games -
all against AL
pitching. Meanwhile, good ol' Ben Sheets is right back on track. He's 3-0 in his last three starts
and tossed a complete game Monday night to beat the Braves. Sheets is now 9-1 on
the season with a 2.54 ERA.
Pittsburgh Pirates (37-40) - At the ripe age of 29,
Xavier Nady is out to
have his best season yet. He knocked a career-high 20 home runs last season and
drove in another personal best 72 runs, but with a 2008 home run tally of 10 and
RBI total of 49, he's well on pace to shatter last years numbers. Oh, and his
.314 batting average is 37 points above his career
Houston Astros (35-41) - Since May 18, Lance Berkman's batting average has
steadily dropped from .399 to .354. He might not flirt with .400 again this
year, but I don't think folks are complaining about his output this season. On
side notes, pitcher Shawn Chacon was yanked from the starting rotation this week, and
second baseman Kazuo
Matsui strained his hamstring and could be headed to the DL
pending an evaluation early this week.
Cincinnati Reds (35-43) - The Reds haven't exactly been a
force this season, but they managed to walk into Yankee Stadium and take two of
three from New
York. Kudos went to rookie Daryl Thompson, who in his first
MLB game tossed 5.0 shutout innings against the Yankees Saturday. Thanks to a
late offensive breakout, he didn't earn the W, but all were impressed and the
Reds took home a win.
struggles continue. His D'Backs have lost each of his last three starts, during
which he's 0-2. He was cruising along against Minnesota Sunday until a five-run fifth inning
did him in. Though Arizona has struggled the past month or so,
they will undoubtedly get a boost from Eric Byrnes, who is fresh off the
Angeles Dodgers (35-40) - The Dodgers just aren't a long
ball offense. Jeff Kent leads the team in home runs with eight, while
Matt Kemp and
Russell Martin are
close behind with seven. They are tied for dead last in the NL as a team with
just 50. They do try to make up with it via their speed, though. The team is
fourth best in the NL with 64 steals, of which Juan Pierre is leading the way with
Francisco Giants (33-44) - Budding staff ace Tim Lincecum has gotten a
no-decision in each of his last three starts. He hasn't looked as sharp in his
past two outings, having given up nine runs in 12.0 innings, but he still boasts
a quite impressive 2.54 season ERA. And though closer Brian Wilson sits with 19 saves,
he's seen action in just one game since June 12th, and that was a non-save
Colorado Rockies (32-45) - Ubaldo Jimenez was winless in 13
starts since April 8, but tossed an eight-inning, two-hit, one-run gem against
the Mets Saturday, good enough for his second win of the season. Second baseman
Jeff Baker is
starting to show signs he might just have that Chase Utley-like power. Baker has
lifted his average from .260 to .294 in the past week and homered in four
Diego Padres (32-45) - On a team and offense that can
be limp at times, Adrian Gonzalez is having a monster season. The first baseman rattled
off another four home runs and seven RBI in his last 10 games, bringing his
season totals to 21 and a league-best 65.
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