The rosters have expanded and September baseball is underway. We get a chance to see not just which contenders have what it takes to make it to October, but also to get a look at the stars of tomorrow. With less than a month of baseball left in the season and the NFL kicking off this weekend, October is so near we can smell it. Ah, but it's still so far away.
Here's the latest and
greatest from around the National League.
York Mets (78-61) - The Mets have been playing some
solid baseball as the push for October heats up. They pulled out a tough one in
Milwaukee 6-5 in
10 innings Tuesday night. David Wright broke into the century mark this past week in RBI, and as
he sits with 103; he might just make a run at that 116 mark he set in
Philadelphia Phillies (76-63) - Jimmy Rollins is heating up at the
right time of the year. He's had a disappointing season after that MVP year in
2007, but Rollins has 10 RBI in his last nine games at a time when his team
needs him most. Brad Lidge continues to get it done as the club's closer. The former
Astro is a perfect 33-for-33 this season.
Florida Marlins (70-69) - The Marlins are still in the NL
East championship hunt. They're hanging around and are a solid win streak in
September away from making things really interesting. But they haven't been able
to string together a long series of wins. Starting pitcher Ricky Nolasco has been doing his
part. He's 13-7 on the season and hasn't given up more than three earned runs in
any of his last seven starts.
Atlanta Braves (60-79) - After being swept by
falling 20 games under .500 with another loss on Monday, the Braves bats came to
life. They scored 16 and held the Marlins to just 14 runs, which was good enough
for the "W". Though eight different Braves had RBI in the game, catcher
Brian McCann did not.
Still he had a pair of hits, bringing his average to .298. And his 23 home runs
this year is just one shy of his career best in 2006.
Washington Nationals (53-86) - The Nationals made this column
finally eat crow. They rattled off seven straight wins this past week before
being shut out by Cole Hamels and the Phils on Tuesday night. Kudos to
Tim Redding, who
posted two wins in the week and improved his record to 10-8 on the
(85-54) - The
Cubs hit a season-high 35 games above .500 on Friday and have dropped four
straight since, including two to Philly and two to the Astros. They had
opportunities late in the games, but failed to come through with a knockout
punch. Aramis Ramirez
may have had a hot bat of late, but he committed three errors in Tuesday night's
game. Carlos Zambrano
has just one win in his last six starts and has seen his ERA rise from 2.76 to
Milwaukee Brewers (80-58) - Milwaukee has put some distance between
themselves and the Cardinals for the NL Wild Card, but a divisional race in the
East could make both the Mets and Phillies contenders. C.C. Sabathia continues to dominate
NL pitching. He tossed another complete game shutout on Sunday, giving up just
one infield hit that Brewers coaches and fans are in an uproar about. They feel
it should have been scored an error; thus giving Sabathia a no-hitter. He is 9-0
in 11 starts with a 1.43 ERA since joining the Brewers, and he's gone the
distance six times.
St. Louis Cardinals (75-64) - The Cardinals dropped four
straight, including three over the weekend to the Astros, and have given the
Brewers some breathing room. This following some fireworks between the two clubs
where some said the Cards might just be a sleeping giant that had been awakened.
continues his tear, though. The Cards slugger is just one RBI from 100. Few
folks out there saw this coming in 2008.
Houston Astros (73-66) - The Astros are one of the
hottest teams in baseball and are creeping back into the playoff picture.
Roy Oswalt was as
good as he gets on Labor Day, shutting the Cubs out and giving up just four hits
over 8.1 innings. Since coming off the DL in late July, he is 6-1 in eight
starts and hasn't given up more than four earned runs in any of those
Cincinnati Reds (61-77) - After sweeping the Giants in
the weekend, the Reds squared off with their fellow Central cellar dwellers.
Aaron Harang took the
mound Tuesday and lost for the 15th time this season, compared to just four
wins. His 5.27 ERA is a point and a half higher than it's been the past two
seasons. All we can do is shrug our shoulders and shake our
Pittsburgh Pirates (58-79) - Freddy Sanchez won the NL batting
title his rookie season in 2006 with a .344 clip. He had a bit of a down
sophomore season with a .304 average. In 2008, Sanchez is batting .257. What
does 2009 hold?
(70-68) - The
Diamondbacks managed just one win in a key, three-game weekend set against the
Dodgers. Still they are hanging on to the division lead, where it seems the team
that can stay above .500 might just take the crown. In 19 games as a D'Back,
Adam Dunn has three
home runs, 12 RBI, and a decent .275 batting average.
Angeles Dodgers (69-70) - The Dodgers snapped that losing
streak and rattled off four straight wins. James Loney, who is sporting a
13-game hitting streak, leads the team with a .307 batting average and 76
Colorado Rockies (66-74) - Jorge De La Rosa has made four
consecutive quality starts. He pitched 7.0 strong shutout innings against
Tuesday, earning him his third win in four starts and eighth on the year.
Matt Holliday, who
had 137 RBI last season, has just 78 in 2008.
Francisco Giants (59-79) - Tim Lincecum is 4-0 in his last
seven starts and hasn't given up more than two runs in any such game. As poor a
season as the Giants have had, he definitely deserves consideration for NL Cy
Young Award honors.
Diego Padres (53-85) - The Padres, Nationals, and
Mariners appear to be in a dogfight not to finish with the worst record in
baseball. With the September call-ups here, look for the Padres to test out some
of their young talent.
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