September is fast approaching, which means rosters will be expanding and a lot of new faces will be making their presence known around the league. Will some players we have never heard of before be a difference maker either as a hero, spoiler, or goat over the next 35 days or so. We'll see.
Here's the latest and greatest from around the National League.
New York Mets (57-70) – Johan Santana had an MRI done on his elbow, which identified the presence of bone chips. He will undergo season-ending surgery but expects to be back at the onset of the 2010 season. He reportedly had a similar procedure performed back in 2003. It's the bitter icing on a brutally tough season for the Mets.
Washington Nationals (45-82) – The Nationals put up a 15-spot Tuesday night to open a three-game series at Wrigley Field and further bury the Cubs with question marks. Josh Willingham led the charge, crushing two home runs and driving in six runs. One thing is clear: these Nationals have too much pride and professionalism to go quietly into that good night.
St. Louis Cardinals (74-54) – The hands-down winners at the trade deadline. The club transformed themselves adding the likes of Mark DeRosa, Julio Lugo, Matt Holliday, and John Smoltz. And now they are on fire, beating up on the weaker competition, as they should be. They are 15-3 in their last 18 games, opening up a 9-game lead on the Cubs. Combined in the last 30 starts for Adam Wainwright, Chris Carpenter, and Joel Pineiro, the Cardinals are 27-3 as a team. And with a 14-3 record and 2.16 ERA, Carp might just be on his way to another Cy Young award.
Milwaukee Brewers (61-65) – Though reaching 50 home runs again is a big stretch seeing as how Prince Fielder is only at 33, surpassing his career high of 119 RBI is likely. Fielder has 110 already this season. More impressive, though, is that he has found a way to hit for average too. His best mark leading into this season was .288 back in 2007. He's hitting .303 through 125 games this year.
Houston Astros (61-65) – In 9-of-10 starts since July 1st, Wandy Rodriguez has given up no more than one run. He did get shelled for 10 on August 14th, but that has been his one recent blemish. A career 4.36 ERA, Rodriguez has been money this season with his 2.82 ERA.
Cincinnati Reds (54-71) – Aaron Harang ended another dismal season, this time a bit prematurely, after having an appendectomy this past week. His departure, along with Johnny Cueto's, could open the door for some young talent to shine. Keep an eye out.
Pittsburgh Pirates (52-72) – Thanks to a vast list of departures and additions to the Pirates roster, the top RBI man on the books this season is Andy LaRoche. His total? 44.
Los Angeles Dodgers (75-52) – With
the Rockies hot on their heels, the Dodgers have been looking for some regular
offense and consistent pitching. Andre Ethier turned it up a notch
Wednesday night belting two home runs and driving in three runs to lead the
Dodgers to victory over
Colorado Rockies (72-55) – On June
3rd after losing to the Astros, the
San Francisco Giants (69-58) – In 160 games since becoming a Major League Baseball player, Pablo Sandoval has hit 22 home runs, driven home 97 runs, and has a .334 batting average. He just turned 23-years old this month, and he's already a superstar. Fellow young stars, Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain have been struggling a bit lately. The duo has just one win and three losses in 10 starts in August.
Arizona Diamondbacks (55-72) – With 35 games remaining, free-swinging slugger Mark Reynolds should have a good shot of cracking the 100-RBI milestone for the first time in his career. He currently has 84. He also has a great chance at shattering his record for strikeouts in a season, set last year at 204. With 170 punchouts already this season, he's on pace to make the walk back to the dugout after hearing strike three 220 times.
San Diego Padres (54-74) – In their first six games this past week, the Padres scored just 10 runs. But somehow their offense woke up Wednesday night scoring 12 runs en route to beating the Braves 12-5. Adrian Gonzalez had two RBI, giving him 77 on the season. He also has 34 home runs, which is only two off from his career high set last year. Still he drove home 119 runs in 2008, and thanks to his lack of support, he's not going to come anywhere near that number in 2009.
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