In my weekly recap of the National League, I take a brief look back at the previous ten games, the last ones being played on Thursday night, June 12th.
For the first time in three weeks, the San Francisco Giants do not have the best record in the past ten games in the National League. And what a shock: the team that does have the best record is the team from Washington, the one that just took a series from the Giants at AT&T Park. It marked the first time that the Orange and Black have dropped a series since early May, against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
So there is nothing peculiar about another team in the National League getting hot. The Nationals’ pitching has come together, even without Gio Gonzalez, so look for them to get even better. They have that swagger that says, “We’re good and we know it.”
Otherwise, in the rest of the NL East, Miami was the only team with a winning record, at 6-4. They remain just one game back of the Nationals, along with the Atlanta Braves, just off getting drubbed twice in a row by the Colorado Rockies. And the newly-awakened Rocks are on their way to AT&T Park.
The New York Mets are dropping like an anchor, at 2-8, and the last-place Philadelphia Phillies just swept the similarly situated San Diego Padres, raising their record in the last ten games, to 4-6. The NL East has the poorest win/loss record in the National League, with three teams, collectively, eleven games over the .500 mark. Only the American League Central, with two teams seven games above .500, is weaker.
The NL Central was the most balanced of the three divisions, with the Milwaukee Brewers, Pittsburgh Pirates and Chicago Cubs all having won six games and lost four. The Brewers maintain a five-and-a-half game advantage over the St. Louis Cardinals, who are heating up and cooling off, like a solar-powered system, which functions fine during the day, but not so well at night.
Cincinnati, at five and five, continues to try and find an identity, and the Cubs, 15-14, at home, would be fine if they did not have to play on the road, where they are 11-24.
Over in the West, despite the Giants “only” winning six of ten, their closest competitor, the Los Angeles Dodgers, dropped a game in the standings, and are eight-and-a-half games back. The Dodgers moseyed along at the same average pace they have maintained all season, going 5-5. I’m not complaining mind you, just observing.
The Arizona Diamondbacks, the Giants’ new best friend, matched the Giants’ 6-4 record, and more importantly, travel to L.A. for a weekend series with the Blue Crew. Go D-backs!
The Rockies, after upping last week’s record from 1-9 to 3-7, might be coming out of their funk. With the offense they have, I’m taking a wild guess here that pitching is the culprit. In either case, the Giants must have their wits about them to avoid underestimating the rocket-power the Rocks bring with them to AT&T Park. Against the fourth and fifth starters, Tim Lincecum and Ryan Vogelsong, the Rockies could prove very hard-nosed.
And San Diego, clinging onto fourth place like there is no tomorrow, has a ray of hope as they travel to New York to play the only other team in the National League with a matching win/loss record of 2-8. We won’t miss that series!
And that’s a wrap, where the Giants still play three more times in the friendly confines of AT&T Park (4-3 on their current home-stand) before setting off for Chicago, for a two-game set against the White Sox.
And we’ll hope that L.A. is enjoying their laid-back pace; it works for the Giants.
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