Friday, July 2, 2010

Underdogs Leading NL Division Races

"All World All Sports"

-Digger's Daily-

Yes, baseball is a funny game. Has anyone taken notice of what's happening in National League divisional races? East favorite Philadelphia seems destined to surrender their hold as ranking NL pennant winners (2008 & 2009). They've fallen victim of a vicious injury bug continuing to sideline key players. SS Jimmy Rollins and RP Brad Lidge are back after missing most of the first half. Unfortunately, both 2B Chase Utley and 3B Polanco will miss considerable time after recent injuries. It's up to replacement players to keep Philadelphia in the hunt. Atlanta and New York are two hot teams who would love to dethrone their cocky arch rival Phillies .

Cincinnati leads the Central and appears more than ready to challenge '09 division champion Cardinals. As of this moment, the Reds have a 0.5 game lead after completing three consecutive winning months. Cincinnati's offense ranks #1 in NL. Most runs (389), hits (758), total bases (1218), batting average (.276), slugging (.444) and OPS (.785). It's a good thing their bats are producing runs because pitching remains a potential division race killer (4.44 ERA). Reds roster is a good mix of young stars on the rise and solid veterans. Don't take this crew lightly. We've all witnessed teams like Colorado and Florida come out of nowhere to shock rivals. Perhaps 2010 is Cincinnati's turn? Time will tell.

Los Angeles won the West last year but can't seem to find any sustainable rhythm this year. Pitching has been inconsistent and 58 combined home runs is well below NL team average (71). NL West gem thus far is San Diego led by the majors best pitching staff (3.10 ERA). It's safe to say nobody outside of San Diego imagined the Padres challenging for the West title. They're an NL best 46-32. If they could only hit (.247 is 14th) then these guys might have 60 wins. 1B slugger Adrian Gonzalez represents SD's only starter batting over .280 and slugging double digit home runs (.302, 16 HR). Their future beyond 2010 is bright. Lack of run production could haunt them in the 2nd half as only a few believe these pitchers can continue dominating. LA, Colorado and SF are within striking distance. Baseball fans will be treated to another wild west finish.

Hopefully all learned never take anything for granted after recent dramatic late season races each and every year during the new millennium. Don't be at all surprised to watch all three division races go right down to the finish line. Buckle up! National League baseball promises to keep fans on the edge of their seats.

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