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NL Best Getting Better

Posted By Christopher Rowe On Jul 29 2011 @ 3:31 pm In MLB,Philadelphia,Philadelphia Phillies | No Comments

[1]Deadline deals are being made while this is written, but the National League boasts three true titans. In fact, the Phillies, Giants and Atlanta Braves rank among the top 5 teams in MLB for overall record, win differential and most pitching categories (Red Sox and Yankees being the remaining two) but what happens when these teams play head-to-head?

[2]The Phillies and Giants just completed a three game series in which the Giants took two of three in Philadelphia scoring just 8 runs to the Phillies’ 9. Then again, 7 of those Phillies runs were scored in their lone series win while San Francisco pulled off nifty 2-1 and 4-1 wins. These two teams play again in San Francisco next week and by then the lineups could look very different.

[3]Carlos Beltran (0-4) played only in the series finale (having been acquired from the Mets) but the Phillies will look to add another offensive weapon before Sunday’s trading deadline. Speculation varies depending on who you ask, but it could be Hunter Pence, Carlos Quentin, Michael Cuddyer,  Jeff Francoeur (possibly with Melky Cabrera or Joakim Soria) or a combination of Ryan Ludwick and Mike Adams. San Francisco has already added Jeff Keppinger and Beltran but they may swing another deal to improve the team.

[4]Against Atlanta the Phillies are 6-6 with 49 runs scored vs. 37 runs against but don’t count out the Braves for making a deadline deal for BJ Upton or Hunter Pence now that Beltran is off the table and making his new home in San Francisco.

Let the numbers show you how close this race has been over 105 games:

BATTING

BA

R

RPG

HR

XBH

SLG

PHILLIES (21)

0.248

444

4.269231

91

282

0.386

BRAVES (26)

0.241

428

4.037736

114

300

0.389

GIANTS (27)

0.240

377

3.556604

67

276

0.359

 

PITCHING

ERA

W

L

S

BSV

WHIP

SO

OBA

OBA MLB

GIANTS (1)

3.06

61

44

40

12

1.20

859

0.227

1

PHILLIES (2)

3.11

65

39

30

3

1.17

796

0.239

3

BRAVES (4)

3.300

61

45

35

15

1.23

868

0.235

2

[5]

By season’s end, two of these teams will be division winners (NL West and East respectively) while the third is the likely candidate for the wildcard. Despite the fact that I predicted precisely that outcome (http://prosportsblogging.com/mlb-baseball/mlb-predictions-standings-2011/ [6]), all three teams will augment their existing rosters and look very different in the second half of the season.

[7]Atlanta will be without Brian McCann, their main offensive force, though Chipper Jones has returned. San Francisco adds Beltran, Keppinger and rookie Brandon Belt to the best overall pitching staff in baseball – but they will not get Buster Posey back this [8]season. Phillies might add someone at the trading deadline but still have question marks with Placido Polanco, Domonic Brown, Raul Ibanez and Ben Francisco. Brad Lidge and Ryan Madson have returned to fortify the bullpen but Jose Contreras has not. Roy Oswalt remains in question too while both he and Polanco rehab together in the minors.

Is next week’s showdown in San Francisco a preview of the 2011 NLCS or a repeat of 2010? What about Atlanta? Will they play spoiler or will they have to take on whoever emerges from the NL Central for a chance to regain bragging rights?

RELATED ARTICLE

http://www.prosportsblogging.com/2011/07/27/return-of-phils-bullpen-all-in-for-quentin/ [9]

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[1] Image: http://www.prosportsblogging.com/psb/uploads/2011/07/phillies-big-four.jpg

[2] Image: http://www.prosportsblogging.com/psb/uploads/2011/07/beltran-giants.jpg

[3] Image: http://www.prosportsblogging.com/psb/uploads/2011/07/beltran-sliding-catch.jpg

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[5] Image: http://www.prosportsblogging.com/psb/uploads/2011/07/nlcs-howard-strikeout.jpg

[6] http://prosportsblogging.com/mlb-baseball/mlb-predictions-standings-2011/: http://prosportsblogging.com/mlb-baseball/mlb-predictions-standings-2011/

[7] Image: http://www.prosportsblogging.com/psb/uploads/2011/07/jones-mccann.jpg

[8] Image: http://www.prosportsblogging.com/psb/uploads/2011/07/phils-celebrate-20091.jpg

[9] http://www.prosportsblogging.com/2011/07/27/return-of-phils-bullpen-all-in-for-quentin/: http://www.prosportsblogging.com/2011/07/27/return-of-phils-bullpen-all-in-for-quentin/

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