This Week in the National League - Week 7

With a rash of injuries and health conditions, some stranger and more difficult to diagnose than others, the National League teams all have obstacles to overcome.

Some players and teams are just struggling and have no real excuses to explain their demise. But with every downturn, there is usually some upside coming. At least that's what we all hope, right? Here's the latest and greatest from around the league.

East Division

Philadelphia Phillies (21-16) - The Phillies have won five straight, including a four-game sweep of the Nationals over the weekend. Raul Ibanez continues to live up to his big money contract. The outfielder chalked up another three home runs and 10 RBI in the past week bringing his season totals to 13 and 36, respective. Add in a .357 batting average, and you've got yourself your early season team MVP. Brad Lidge blew a save in that Washington series on the 15th, but managed to get back on the horse and earn saves in his next three appearances over the Phils last four games.

New York Mets (21-18) - Jose Reyes missed five starts with a calf injury, though he was back in the lineup Tuesday, and Carlos Delgado landed on the 15-day DL with impingement in his hip. The Mets have their own injury struggles, no doubt. John Maine, who rattled off three straight wins and was appearing to get back on track, has gone 0-1 in his last two games, walking seven and giving up seven runs over his last 11.2 innings.

Atlanta Braves (19-19) - No one player is really stepping up in the Braves offense and emerging and their run producer. Eight different players have 10 or more RBI, but not a single player has 20+. Jeff Francoeur leads the team with 19. Starting pitcher Kenshin Kawakami has struggled in his rookie season. Through seven starts he's just 2-5 with a 5.73 ERA. Opponents are hitting .284 against him.

Florida Marlins (18-21) - As a team the Marlins are hitting just .239. Dan Uggla, who has been one of MLB's budding stars the past couple seasons, is batting a dismal .192 to lead all Marlin regulars on the down side. Ricky Nolasco, who went 15-8 with a 3.52 ERA in his first full season last year, is singing a different tune in 2009. Nolasco is 2-4 with a 7.78 ERA to open the year and has given up five or more runs in half his starts.

Washington Nationals (11-27) - The national news started following Ryan Zimmerman's hit streak and it quickly ended last Wednesday at 30. Adam Dunn, who has uncharacteristically been hitting over .300 is slowing falling into reality. The superslugger has seen his BA drop from .318 to .287 in the past nine games.

Central Division

Milwaukee Brewers (25-14) - Firing on all cylinders the Brewers were perfect this past week running off a seven-game win streak, including a sweep in St. Louis. Braden Looper, Dave Bush, and Manny Parra all had two-win weeks for the Brewers. But the Brewers have their own concerns. Rickie Weeks landed on the DL with a wrist injury, and then Milwaukee learned that Weeks would be lost for the season.

Chicago Cubs (21-16) - Mike Fontenot, who is filling in at third base for an injured Aramis Ramirez, has seen his batting average drop from .256 to .207 over the last 10 games. He hasn't homered since May 3, and he hasn't driven in a run since May 5. Not exactly Ramirez numbers. But the Cubs do plan to get Carlos Zambrano back this week. He is scheduled to start in San Diego on Friday.

St. Louis Cardinals (22-17) - Struggling with injuries themselves, the Cardinals managed to rebound from their weekend sweep at the hands of the Brewers to beat the Cubs Tuesday in the first game of a three-game, mid-week series at Busch Stadium. Chris Carpenter is slotted to make his long awaited return Wednesday night, and maybe also Rick Ankiel. Over a 3-7 stretch, the offense has scored just 32 runs. Khalil Greene, who batted just .213 last year, is hitting just .202 thanks to an 0-14 stretch.

Cincinnati Reds (20-18) - The Reds have dropped four straight, including a three-game sweep on the road in San Diego this past weekend. Joey Votto, who leads the team with a .366 batting average, has been dealing with dizzy spells. The cause has not been determined, but Votto was out of the lineup on Tuesday, which raises concern. Aaron Harang only got to 184.1 innings in 2008 after three years of 210+, but in 2009 he has gone at least five innings in each start and into the seventh five times.

Pittsburgh Pirates (18-21) - The yo-yo Bucs have rattled off four wins of their own. It helps playing Colorado and Washington, but we're also talking about Pittsburgh. The offense has exploded scoring 35 runs in those four games. Adam Laroche has seven RBI over that stretch. Tom Gorzelanny returned this week. Pitching out of the bullpen, Gorzelanny earned and hold and a win in back-to-back appearances.

Houston Astros (17-20) - With three multi-hit games in the past week, Lance Berkman is finally finding his swing again. And in what has been a rash of excitement this season, Kaz Matsui managed to steal home Tuesday night, joining teammate Michael Bourn who accomplished the rare feat last week.

West Division

Los Angeles Dodgers (28-13) - Even without Manny Ramirez, the Dodgers have settled down and won six of seven this past week. Chad Billingsley continues to impress and improved to 6-1 Tuesday night beating Maine and the Mets. Casey Blake has been on a power tear for the Dodges. Blake has five multi-hit games in his last seven, including four home runs and nine RBI. That's a solid week of production.

San Francisco Giants (19-19) - On Sunday Matt Cain pitched 6.0 strong, shutout innings against the Mets en route to his fourth win. Cain moved his ERA back under 3.00 to 2.65. With three more RBI this past week, Bengie Molina hit 30 for the season and is well on his way to surpassing the 100-RBI milestone for the first time in his career.

San Diego Padres (17-22) - Adrian Gonzalez hammered out six home runs in a five game stretch recently bumping up his season total to 15. And after four straight losses, Jake Peavy pitched a gem. The San Diego staff ace went out Sunday and tossed a complete game against Cincinnati, giving up just one run on four hits to earn the win and improve to 3-5.

Arizona Diamondbacks (15-23) - The D'Backs ran into back-to-back rainouts giving them two unplanned days off Sunday and Monday. Chris Young's productivity has fallen off a cliff this season. The powerful leadoff man, who hit 54 home runs over the course of 2007 and 2008, has just two four-baggers this season. Plus he's batting just .177 with an on-base percentage of .227.

Colorado Rockies (15-23) - Todd Helton reached a big milestone Tuesday night, smacking a single in the third inning against Atlanta for hit number 2,000. Jason Marquis, who has been a pleasant surprise for Colorado this season, pitched 8.0 strong innings against the Braves Monday, giving up just one run and improving his record to 5-3.

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