National League Mid-Season Report

We’ve saved the worst….for last.

Yesterday, we broke down the good half (American League). Today, we’ll get to the half that still (inexplicably) lets pitchers hit (National League)….

National League

Best Team – Arizona Diamondbacks

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This was harder than it looks. Figuring out the best team in the National League is like ranking your favorite diseases. At 47-34, the Diamondbacks have the 2nd best record in the National League (Milwaukee Brewers: 47-33). While the Diamondbacks, and Paul Goldschmidt, had a May to forget (Goldschmidt hit .144 in May, and the team went 8-19), they’ve bounced back to the tune of 19-7 in June.

Robbie Ray is back. Zack Godley is pitching to his abilities (again). And the other Zack (Greinke) is 5-1 since May. While the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants are nipping at their heels, expect the Diamondbacks to win their 1st NL West Division Title since 2011.

Biggest Surprise – Milwaukee Brewers

Cardinals Brewers Baseball

I knew the Milwaukee Brewers were a good baseball team. I just didn’t know they’d be THIS good. To have the best record in the National League, with THIS pitching staff, is no small feat. If you can name the entire starting rotation for the Brewers, I’ll make your next car payment. I’m serious. GO ahead. I’ll wait….

Even ‘The Google’ doesn’t know.

The Brewers’ roster is filled with a long list of good players. No superstars. No CY Young Award candidates. Just good, do a little bit of everything, players. Only time will tell if they can hold off the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals in the NL Central Division.

MVP – Freddie Freeman

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Until May 14th (my birthday), A.J. Pollock was running away with the NL MVP Award. And then he got hurt. Now, your guess is as good as mine….

While the aforementioned Paul Goldschmidt has turned his life around, he’s not the MVP. Freddie is. Freddie Freeman is having the best season of his career. He’s on pace for 31 home runs, 111 rbi, and 12 sbs with a .318 batting average.

Oh, and the Atlanta Braves are in 1st place in the NL East (45-34).

CY Young – Max Scherzer

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As deserving as Jacob deGrom is of a CY Young Award, Max Scherzer is THAT much better than deGrom. If this was the ‘I Feel Really Badly For You Award’, deGrom would be the unanimous victor. However, Max Scherzer is the best pitcher in MLB.

Now, OPEN YOUR EARS AND LISTEN:

Max Scherzer has been the best pitcher in MLB for the past seven years.

Yes, I’m aware Clayton Kershaw has been in MLB for the past seven years as well. But I’m also aware that you can’t win baseball games from the trainer’s room. While Clayton Kershaw’s stuff is unparalleled, Max Scherzer’s durability makes him the best, most consistent pitcher in MLB.

 

Do you think I’m crazy?!?! Explain yourself in the comment section below….

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What A Wild Wednesday!!

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Who knew a Wednesday in August could provide so much entertainment?? From idiot doctors to MONSTER home run blasts, Wednesday provided as much fun as one guy can handle.

Misdiagnosis

There’s being bad at your job, and then there’s being BAAAAAAADDDD at your job. As the orthopedists for an NFL team, your only job is to properly diagnose players’ injuries and occasionally perform surgery — that’s it! Apparently, New Orleans Saints’ orthopedists Deryk Jones and Misty Suri couldn’t even do that. Jones and Suri misdiagnosed an injury to Saints’ #1 cornerback Delvin Breaux. Their official diagnosis was Breaux was dealing with a bone bruise, when in fact he FRACTURED HIS FIBULA!!!! WOW!! I mean, just WOW!! That’s like the school nurse sending you back to class with a  bag of ice, when you have a bone sticking out of your arm.

Needless to say, Jones and Suri were promptly fired. Now, Jones and Suri are also the team doctors for the New Orleans Pelicans of the NBA, so it’ll be interesting to see what route they take with these 2 geniuses.

That Ball Went Reeeaaalllyyy Far!!

The game was tied at 1. It was the top of the 4th inning. Mets’ pitcher, Robert Gsellman, actually looked like a MLB starter through 3 innings of Game 3 of the Subway Series at CitiField. And then Aaron Judge happened. Aaron Judge hit a home run to left field that may be in orbit at the moment. Judge has struggled since the All-Star Break, but his power remains undeniable. “My logic is undeniable.” $20 bucks to anyone who knows what movie that’s from…..

Anyway, you have to see this blast to fully appreciate it, so click here and enjoy. HOLY CRAP!! Right?? ESPN measured that bad boy at 457 feet, but I’m calling for a re-measure. The best part of the video, depending on your team-allegiance, is Yoenis Cespedes’ reaction. Re-watch the video and you’ll notice Cespedes doesn’t move an inch or even turn around. He simply knew that baseball was destined for space travel.

Not My Kind Of Record

Aaron Judge’s evening wasn’t all rainbows and butterflies. Despite hitting a monstrous home run, and going 2 for 5, Judge landed on the wrong side of the record books. Judge has now struck-out in 33 consecutive games. This is the longest streak, by a non-pitcher, in MLB history. He surpassed strikeout machine, Adam Dunn.

The question is, how many more games in a row will Judge strikeout??

Screw You Trevor Rosenthal

As a Yankees’ fan, I know how important the outcome of Boston Red Sox games are, especially in August. With a Yankees’ W firmly in the books Wednesday evening, my attention turned to the Red Sox game. They trailed the St. Louis Cardinals 4-2 in the bottom of the 9th inning. Here comes Cardinals’ closer, Trevor Rosenthal. A 1-2-3 inning would have been too much to ask for, right?? Instead, Rosenthal thought it would be a better idea to give up 2 runs without recording an out. Yay!! So rather than the Yankees cutting a game off the Red Sox’ lead in the AL East, they remain 4.5 games back. Thanks Mr. Rosenthal. Ya jerk!!

 

What were you watching on Wednesday night?? Tell me about it in the comment section below.

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National League East Predictions

Over the next month I will be writing previews for every team and division in Major League Baseball.  I will break down each team and predict the winner of each division.  Today I will start with the National League East.  Here is a look at how each team finished last season:

2012 National League East Final Standings:

W  L

Washington Nationals: 98-64

Atlanta Braves:              94-68

Philadelphia Philles:     81-81

New York Mets:             74-88

Miami Marlins:               69-93

The Miami Marlins had very high expectations last season.  Everyone crowned them NL East Champions before the season even started.  However, the Marlins greatly underacheived.  They took their projected record and flipped it upside down.  So what did the Marlins owner do?  Exactly what we all would have done (haha).  Can anyone say FIRE SALE?!?!  Everyone is criticising the Marlins owner for dumping his entire roster just one year after building a brand new stadium in Miami.  I say to those people, wake up and smell the coffee!!  This is the third time in Marlins franchise history that they’ve done this.  I don’t know why anyone is surprised.  Anyway, outside of Giancarlo Stanton this team is pretty much awful.  I do like Justin Ruggiano’s potential, but he needs to get out of town before it is too late.  I see the Marlins having a long frustrating season, finishing with a putrid record of 65-97.  Sorry Miami.  Hang tough though, in 5 years you’ll probably win another World Series.

What can I say about the New York Mets that hasn’t been said already?  I love New York, and I try to root for every New York team even if they’re not my favorite team.  But it is hard to root for the Mets.  How long can they be downright awful for?  It’s almost like being a Pittsburgh Pirates fan, you just know they are going to be bad every year.  I hope they turn it around in the near future, but the near future is not going to be 2013.  The Mets, like the Marlins, have a couple of nice players and the rest are essentially Triple-A ballplayers.  I like David Wright and uh yeah only David Wright.  Anyone else on the roster with potential to be great is injury prone.  It would be a miracle if Shawn Marcum, Daniel Murphy, and Johan Santana last the entire season.  I do actually like Jonathon Niese to be their best pitcher this season, but unfortunately they don’t have enough to compete in this division.  The Mets will be slightly worse than last season, finishing with a record of 71-91.

The Philadelphia Phillies are no longer a great team.  They proved that by finishing a pedestrian 81-81 last season.  The majority of the problems are a result of injuries and aging players.  Roy Halladay should bounce back from last season’s poor performance, but at 35 years old he doesn’t have any CY Young Awards coming his way.  The additions of Michael Young, Delmon Young, and Ben Revere are all solid moves, but I don’t think it’s going to land them in the playoffs this season.  They still have a very good pitching staff in Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, and Doc Halladay, but they like the Mets are also injury prone.  I see a slight improvement from last season to the tune of an 87-75 record.  This will leave them just outside the playoffs.

The Atlanta Braves were the first wild card in the National League last season.  In the new playoff format that was put in place in 2012, they lost to the St. Louis Cardinals in a one game playoff.  With the addition of the Upton brothers, the Braves have certainly improved their outfield and added some power to their lineup.  The upton’s can both run also, so while Michael Bourn will be missed, they might actually steal more bases than they did in 2012.  Without question the Braves have the best closer in baseball; Craig Kimbrel.  As long as their starters can carry a lead through the 8th inning, the Braves will win A LOT of games.  The Atlanta Braves have a decent pitching rotation that is headed up by old-timer Tim Hudson.  Tim has remained very good even as he enters his late 30’s, and he will need to continue to pitch like a #1 starter if the Braves are going to make the playoffs this season.  The rest of their pitching rotation is filled with younger guys with plenty of potential.  These young guys bring about plenty of questions.  Is Kris Medlen as good as the pitcher we saw last season, or will he regress?  Is Paul Maholm the pitcher we’ve watched struggle for years in Pittsburgh, or is he the consistent pitcher we saw last year?  What can we expect to see from Mike Minor and Julio Teheran?  These questions make the Braves rotation a wildcard.  Their success will be predicated on the rotation and will be the reason the Braves either return to the playoffs or falter and miss out on the party in October.  I believe they will regress slightly from last year and finish with a record of 86-76.

Last season the Washington Nationals finished with the best record in the National League.  They had a very successful season which was highlighted by their phenomenal pitching staff.  Unfortunately, the Nationals weren’t able to win a playoff series and lost to the St. Louis Cardinals in 5 games in the Divison Series.  This season the Nationals are primed and ready to make a deeper run into the playoffs.  The silly innings limit has been officially lifted from Stephen Strasburg, and I believe he will be the best pitcher in baseball this season.  The advantage gained by being able to pitch Gio Gonzalez against #2 starters from other teams can’t be overstated.  Jordan Zimmerman is also looking to build on a solid 2012 season.  The addition of Dan Haren to the rotation should help bolster the back end of their rotation.  It should also be a nice change of scenery for Haren, as he looks to get back to winning ways after a poor 2012 season.  You’d be hard pressed to find a better pitching rotation in all of baseball than the Washington Nationals.  They also added Rafael Soriano to an already impressive bullpen.  Handing the ball to Soriano, Tyler Clippard, or Drew Storen (if he can stay healthy) is a nice luxury to have and should help shorten games.  They also brought in Denard Span who is a nice baserunner and fielder when healthy.  Oh yeah, they also have this rising star you may have heard of named Bryce Harper.  He is the youngest player in the Major Leagues and is only going to improve.  The Nationals are a very good team who from top to bottom have the potential to be the best team in all of baseball.  I see them finishing with a very similar record as last year, only this season they will get over the hump and win at least one playoff series.  The Washington Nationals 2013 Regular Season Record will be 99-63 and they will win the National League East.

2013 National League East Projected Final Standings:

W  L

Washington Nationals: 99-63

Philadelphia Phillies:     87-75

Atlanta Braves:               86-76

New York Mets:              71-91

Miami Marlins:               65-97

2013 National League East Projected Winner: Washington Nationals

If you enjoy my writing, follow me over to intheneutralzone.com where I am a contributing author there as well. Also you can follow me on twitter @DaveEttinger2 or like me on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it!