Thursday, December 17, 2009

NL Stretch Run Report

The NL Division Titles are all but set, but that doesn't mean the playoff picture is clear by any means. 4 teams are within 2 games of each other for the 2 wildcards, and the Cubs and Padres are a winning streak from getting into it. Here's the rundown:

In the North, Montreal leads the league in scoring by a wide margin, with Kevin Marte (.321/27/91) making his annual MVP bid. They're also dominating the Cy Young ballot, with Pedro Mercado (17-5, 2.63), J.P. Taveras (18-4, 2.88) and John McCall (43 saves, 3.02) all up for the top pitching trophy. They'll be the #1 seed.

Barring an epic collapse, the Mets will celebrate their first East Divison crown. Walt Hernandez has been, well, Walt Hernandez (19-4, 1.45), and Andres Cedeno has been at least Hernandez-like (16-5, 2.81). They haven't been an offensive juggernaut, but with a team ERA of 3.01, they don't have to be. They're tied with the Giants for the #2 seed at the moment (and own the first tie-break).

Atlanta has wrapped up its 6th straight title in the South. Dee Dee Hutton's having his usual monster year (.304/38/122), and even though the pitching staff has fallen off a bit from last year, it's still 4th in the league with a 3.80 ERA. They're headed for the #4 seed.

Out West, the Giants are cruising to their 5th straight crown. They're not the best at anything, but they're pretty good at everything - 8th in runs, 7th in ERA, and tied for 3rd in fielding. Virgil Manning (41 saves, 3.06) has a shot at a rare double - ROY and FOY. They're in a dead heat with the Mets for the #2 seed.

The wildcards are a 4-team dogfight. Currently, the Phillies and Nationals are 2 games up on the Reds and Diamondbacks, with the Cubs and Padres 6 and 8 back. With 6 series's to go , here's how many each wc contender has with winning teams:

Philly - 4
D.C. - 4
Cincy - 2
Ariz - 3
Chi - 2
SD - 4

The schedule seems to like Cincy and the Cubbies, which could make things pretty interesting!

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