This Week in the National League - Week 2

Tax day is here, and a full week of Major League Baseball is in the books. We've already seen some wild finishes, a few complete games, a handful of promising, young new faces, and some veterans who might be reaching sunset time. And that's why we love to follow the baseball season so closely. There's always an interesting story somewhere.

And so, here's the latest and greatest from around the Senior Circuit.



East Division

Florida Marlins (6-1) - Josh Johnson (2-0) has given up just one run in his first two starts, totaling 15.2 innings and striking out 15. He went the distance against the Mets on Sunday earning a 2-1 win. If he stays healthy, he's got Cy Young potential stuff. Emilio Bonifacio is also off to a red hot start putting up 16 hits in just seven games and swiping four bases. So much talent in South Florida and so few fans to appreciate it.

Atlanta Braves (5-2) - Javier Vazquez (0-1) struck out 12 Marlins Tuesday night in just 6.0 innings of work, but it wasn't good enough to earn a W. And with just two hits in his first week of action in Atlanta, newcomer Garrett Anderson is hitting just .143.

Philadelphia Phillies (4-3) - Jamie Moyer (1-1) earned his first win against Washington after getting some much needed run support, which was absent from his start against Atlanta. He'll likely improve on his 6.55 ERA, but that 3.71 mark in 2008 and that 16-7 record might be a bit of a stretch in 2009. Brad Lidge continues his streak and has three new saves under his belt despite a 5.40 ERA.

New York Mets (3-4) - Johan Santana (1-1) struck out 13 Marlins Sunday, but gave up two unearned runs. Those runs were costly against a brutally tough Josh Johnson. Santana has gotten just three runs in his two starts and boasts an impressive 0.71 ERA to start the year. Ryan Church, who showed promise early last season, is off to a good start hitting .423 through seven games, including six doubles.

Washington Nationals (0-7) - 0-7 to start the season. Ouch! Adam Dunn has two home runs and 8 RBI and Cristian Guzman is hitting .515 to kickstart he season, but a team ERA of 7.71 is tough to overcome.



Central Division

Chicago Cubs (5-2) - Geovanny Soto and Milton Bradley are both nursing injuries, but the Cubs still managed to win their first two series of the year. As a team the club has 11 home runs with Alfonso Soriano leading the way with four. Fellow big money man, Kosuke Fukudome, whose production fell off a cliff in the second half of last season, has two home runs, five RBI, and six walks to begin the 2009 campaign.

St. Louis Cardinals (6-3) - Kyle Lohse (2-0) went the distance and shutout the Astros Sunday dropping his ERA to 1.13 through two games. But the Cards ace Chris Carpenter suffered another setback. After a solid one-hit, 7.0-inning first start, Carpenter injured his rib cage Tuesday night in Arizona. Joe Thurston continues to be a pleasant early surprise boasting a .474 batting average and five RBI. Rick Ankiel has yet to hit a long ball and is batting just .185.

Pittsburgh Pirates (4-3) - Zach Duke was 8-22 in 51 starts the past two seasons. In 2009, he's 2-0 in his first two starts, including one complete game shutout. Outfielder Nyler Morgan has hit around .300 in limited action in his young career and might be poised for a breakout season now that he's playing every day. Morgan has seven RBI and three stolen bases to go with his .387 batting average.

Cincinnati Reds (4-3) - With his second win Tuesday night, Bronson Arroyo is off to a fast start. Meanwhile, young sensation Jay Bruce has been cold to start the year hitting just .192 at the plate.

Milwaukee Brewers (2-6) - The Brewers are third-worst in the majors with a .224 team batting average. J.J. Hardy has the team lead in RBI with six, but he's hitting just .156 and that's after a two-hit night Tuesday. Without a healthy Trevor Hoffman, the Brew Crew's troubles continue as they already have three blown saves.

Houston Astros (1-6) - Losing to both the Cubs and Cardinals, Roy Oswalt is 0-2 to start the year with a dismal 6.23 ERA. It doesn't help that Miguel Tejada doesn't have an RBI and both Carlos Lee and Lance Berkman are hitting under .200. The team has an MLB-worst 16 runs scored this season.



West Division

San Diego Padres (6-2) - Back on track, Chris Young is 2-0 to start the season and has a 0.85 WHIP. New Padre closer Heath Bell is leading MLB in saves as he is a perfect 4-for-4.

Los Angeles Dodgers (5-3) - Chad Billingsley is also 2-0 in his first two starts. He has a 2.08 ERA through two games and struck out 11 Giants Monday to give him 15 Ks on the year. Catcher Russell Martin hasn't started the season off so hot and is batting just .207.

Colorado Rockies (3-4) - Troy Tulowitzki has three home runs and five RBI, but is hitting just .227, while Todd Helton is off to a dismal start batting just .150. Aaron Cook, who won 16 games in 2008, doesn't have a decision in his first two outings, but his 9.72 ERA isn't helping matters.

Arizona Diamondbacks (3-5) - Eric Byrnes started the season 1-for-17, but he did manage the game-winning hit in the 10th inning Tuesday night against the Cardinals. Chad Qualls received his first blown save this year, in the ninth inning of that game, giving up two runs, but was later rescued by Byrnes.

San Francisco Giants (2-5) - Tim Lincecum is 0-1 through two stars with a 7.59 ERA. Randy Johnson is also winless at 0-2 and has one ugly 11.42 ERA through just 8.2 innings of work. And as a team, the club has managed to hit just three home runs. Poor pitching from their top dogs and no power doesn't bode well for the Giants.



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