Before I present this week’s National League power rankings please remember tomorrow is Jackie Robinson Day. 65 years ago on April 15, 1947 Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier. Make sure you tag your tweets with the hashtag #Jackie42.
- Atlanta Braves
The Braves are the best team in the entire league. They are 11-1 and currently on a nine game winning streak. The amount of runs they score makes the 11 games even more significant. They beat the Cubs 5-1, Marlins 8-0, Nationals 6-4 and 9-0. Justin Upton has 16 hits in 12 games and seven home runs and 11 RBIs. Their starters are solid and only two have an ERA over 2.00. The team is also very fun to watch.
2. San Francisco Giants
Barry Zito. THIS is the old Barry Zito and he is proving last year was not a fluke. He is 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA. Yes, 0.00 ERA. It is not just his pitching, though. He has also turned into a slugger at the plate. He has four at bats with three hits, four runs, and one RBI. He is batting .750. The team’s defense is stellar and their bats are on fire. Pablo Sandoval leads the way with 10 RBIs and 14 hits.
3. Washington Nationals
The starting rotation has to get their act together. Over and over the Nationals will get a lead, but never keep it. They cannot rely solely on Bryce Harper and Jayson Werth to carry the team while the bullpen struggles. They were easily destroyed by Atlanta this weekend, but they could have won a few of the games. They have to work on getting and keeping the leads. Harper and Werth are fun to watch, but the late innings are very frustrating
4. St. Louis Cardinals
Throughout the season, the Cincinnati Reds and St. Louis will be exchanging spots atop of the NL Central. They beat the Giants in San Francisco and easily beat the Reds and Milwaukee Brewers. The only starter that is dicey is Lance Lynn, even though he bounced back against the Reds. But he still might be their weak link. Give him a few more starts and we should have a better feel for him. The team does not have many home runs, but they get on base, allowing for the high run count.
5. Arizona Diamondbacks
They are the sleeping gem in the NL West. They took two out of three against the Los Angeles Dodgers this weekend and almost came back against them on Saturday. They erased a 7-1 deficit only to lose 7-5. The starting rotation is nothing to get excited about, but the bats are amazing. Martin Prado has 15 hits in 12 games. Gerardo Parra has 16 hits in 12 games and five of them are doubles. Only a few batters are barely batting below .300. The Giants need to stay alert because the Diamondbacks can steal the show.
Teams To Watch
Pittsburgh Pirates – Yes, the Pirates. The NL Central is very weak and they just swept the favorite Reds with very convincing wins.
Los Angeles Dodgers – Zach Greinke is out 6-8 weeks with a broken collarbone, which puts a major damper on their starting rotation.
New York Mets – They are in second place, but they have beaten mediocre teams. The Colorado Rockies and Nationals will be a decent test for them this week
Series To Watch
St. Louis Cardinals vs. Pittsburgh Pirates
San Diego Padres vs. Los Angeles Dodgers (the rivalry is upped because of last week’s brawl)
Atlanta Braves vs. Pittsburgh Pirates
Washington Nationals vs. New York Mets
Agree? Disagree? Let me know on Twitter!