This Week in the National League: ‘08 Week 16

Another All-Star game. Another loss for the National League. Sigh. It was a 4-hour, 50-minute marathon game filled with great plays and some not-so great plays. All NL players who participated were definitely deserving of the honor. But with the break upon us, here's a look at some of the notable players that didn't make the Midsummer Classic roster cut.

East Division

Philadelphia Phillies (52-44) - Pat Burrell is having a monster power year. With a .575 slugging percentage, he's 72 points ahead of his pace the past two seasons. And with 23 home runs, 57 RBI, and a .275 batting average to boot. Oh yeah, Ryan Howard may have a dismal .234 batting average, but are 28 home runs and 84 RBI not good enough to make an All-Star team? OK, he does have 129 strikeouts already.

New York Mets (51-44) - With back-to-back shutout performances totaling 15.0 innings, starting pitcher Mike Pelfrey is a big reason why the Mets are back in the hunt. Pelfrey has now won six straight starts and is 8-6 on the season.

Florida Marlins (50-45) - Ricky Nolasco is 9-1 in his last 13 starts and has lowered his ERA in that timeframe from 6.10 to 3.70. He leads the Marlins staff with 10 wins.

Atlanta Braves (45-50) - Closer by committee? The Braves have a real debacle on their hands. Mike Gonzalez appears to be the current closer, but he has just three saves on the season. In fact, no one has more than three saves on the roster. All in all, though, seven pitchers have accounted for 14 team saves.

Washington Nationals (36-60) - 16 games back at the All-Star break and Ronnie Belliard, of all people, is leading the team with a whopping nine home runs.  How many did Josh Hamilton hit in that home run derby?


Central Division

Chicago Cubs (57-38) - The Cubs managed to land eight players on the All-Star team. Shortstop Ryan Theriot, who didn't make the roster, ranks sixth in the NL with a .320 batting average. He already has 111 hits and could be eyeing a 200-hit season.

St. Louis Cardinals (53-43) - Kyle Lohse is 11-2 with a 3.39 ERA this year. He hasn't lost since May 8. Enough said.

Milwaukee Brewers (52-43) - C.C. Sabathia is 2-0 as a Brewer and has the Milwaukee faithful yelling into their gloves along with him. And though he's nowhere near the 50-home-run pace from last season, sitting with just 18, Prince Fielder is starting to find his swing and has two home runs and nine RBI in his last 10 games.

Cincinnati Reds (46-50) - With six home runs in his last 10 games, Adam Dunn has a cool 26 on the season to go along with 59 RBI, but he too didn't make the cut for the NL roster.

Pittsburgh Pirates (44-50) - Xavier Nady is batting fifth in the NL with a .321 average and currently has 56 RBI. He's no doubt in the middle of his best season and continues to keep the Pirates flirting with that .500 mark.

Houston Astros (44-51) - Outfielder Carlos Lee has 76 RBI through the break. He's historically been known to be a bit of a second-half monster at the plate. Either way you slice it, he's on pace to shatter his personal best 119 RBI set last season in Houston.


West Division

Arizona Diamondbacks (47-48) - The All-Star break has arrived, and all teams in the West are sub-.500. Third baseman Mark Reynolds leads the team in home runs (19), RBI (58), and runs scored (60).

Los Angeles Dodgers (46-49) - Starting pitcher Chad Billingsley is 5-1 in his past six starts. He leads the team with nine wins, and though he has a seemingly average 9-8 record, his ERA is solid at 3.25.

San Francisco Giants (40-55) - Fifteen games under .500 at the All-Star break means just 7.0 games back in the Wild, Wild West standings. Now if Matt Cain could just pitch against the Chicago Cubs all season, he'd be an All-Star. Cain went 7.0 shutout innings Friday in a no-decision. In two games against the Cubs, he's tossed 15.0 shutout innings, given up just five hits, and struck out 19.

Colorado Rockies (39-57) - Relief pitcher Taylor Buchholz has a 1.83 ERA and 0.86 WHIP over 44.1 innings. He's also held opponents to a .173 batting average. Still he's managed to stumble across three losses. Noteworthy, though, he hadn't given up a single home run until July 3. He's now surrendered three.

San Diego Padres (37-58) - Greg Maddux is 3-8 this season despite his 3.80 ERA. He hasn't won a game since May 10. It's clear he has some gas left in the tank. Maybe he'll land on team that could use him down the stretch.

Got questions or comments? Sound off to pete@petekhazen.com.


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