There was a time the Atlanta Braves owned the top spot in the National League East, but those days are over. The Braves are currently in 4th place, with a record of 30-33. The Braves have a losing record at home and on the road. So far this year the Braves team batting average is .257 with a corresponding 4.11 team ERA. Atlanta has struggled at the plate and traded for the Pirates Nate Mclouth in an attempt to inject some offense into the team. With Kotchman returning from the DL, maybe the Braves hitting will come around. This won’t be the season the Braves return to the top of their division, but they have the talent to finish the season with a good record.
Last year the Tampa Bay Devil Rays were the surprise American League representative in the World Series. The Rays were a young exciting team with great pitching. This year, the Rays haven’t enjoyed the same success. They traded starting pitcher Edwin Jackson and at times this year the pitching hasn’t been good. Their hitting is still good with players like Jason Bartlett, Crawford, Longoria and Zobrist doing well. The Rays are also great base runners and lead the league with 105 stolen bases as a team. With the Red Sox and Yankees playing better this year, the Rays will have a tough time repeating as AL East champs, but if they can stay healthy and the pitching performs well, they can make it a three team race in the AL East. The Texas Rangers have been one of the biggest surprises in baseball this year. The Rangers are currently in first place in the AL West with a 36-27 record. Kevin Millwood is having a great year and leads the team with a 2.62 ERA and a 7-4 record. Ian Kinsler is off to a great start already hitting 17 homeruns with 68 hits. Along with Michael Young, Nelson Cruz, and Hank Blalock, Kinsler is providing the Rangers with a lot of offense. The Rangers will have a battle to stay at the top of the West division as the Angeles will push them for the top spot.
The Los Angeles Dodgers have the best record in baseball and they’ve done that without one of their best hitters. The Dodgers are a great hitting team with players like Hudson, Kemp, Blake, and Pierre all providing a lot of firepower for the Dodgers. Los Angeles is currently one of the top offensive teams in the national league, with a team batting average of .278. The balanced Dodgers also rank first in pitching in not only the National League, but in all of baseball, with a team ERA of 3.57 with 492 strikeouts. Joe Torre the former Yankees manager once again has the best team in baseball. The Dodgers should finish the season atop of the NL West.
The National League Central is usually a race between the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals. This year, the Milwaukee Brewers have put themselves in the mix and currently stand alone in first place in the division. Braun, Fielder and Cameron have provided the Brewers with offensive power, combining for 42 homeruns on the season. The Brewers are second to only the Phillies in homeruns in the National League, with 74. The Brewers usually need to score a lot of runs to secure a victory with a team ERA of, 4.28. The Brewers will probably succumb to the Cardinals and Cubs by October, but if they can keep hitting homeruns they can make it interesting.