Baseball has been back for almost a month and usually by now the powerhouses of each division show their faces. So far only the Atlanta Braves have shown to be a dominant force. The NL Central cannot decide who is the best, and it looks like another team will give favorites Cincinnati Reds and St. Louis Cardinals a run for their money, but will it stick? There are three teams tied at 15-10! Which one grabbed the #2 spot?
- Atlanta Braves (previously #1)
Last week was not a good one for the Braves, but considering the fact they have been so good, they are allowed a little leeway. This week did prove the AL is their weakness. Last week, the Kansas City Royals split the series with them and this week they were overpowered by the Detroit Tigers. It will be interesting to see them play other AL teams at Turner Field since they play better at home.
2. Pittsburgh Pirates (previously unranked)
Will this year FINALLY be the year the Pirates have a winning season? They have teased and taunted their fans in recent years, so it is a tad hard to get the hopes up, but it does not mean there cannot be excitement with their play. They played the Cardinals, one of the Central’s favorites, this weekend and took the series 2-1. They took advantage of their weak bullpen and starters. On Saturday the Cardinals were leading 2-0 going into the seventh, but the bullpen allowed the Pirates to score four runs and one run in the eighth. If they read teams like this they could easily end the losing streak.
3. Arizona Diamondbacks (previously unranked)
They win the third spot because they won the series against the Colorado Rockies. Their bullpen is incredible. J.J. Putz has five saves in eight save appearances, two wins, and a 3.75 ERA. Starter Patrick Corbin is 3-0 and a 1.91 ERA. The team is sixth in the majors in ERA and third in wins.
4. Colorado Rockies (previously #2)
They are tied with the D-backs for first in the NL West. They lead the majors in OPS (.803) and the NL in AVG (.279). Their closer Rafael Betancourt is one of the best in the league this year. He has eight saves Their starting lineup boasts three players with an OPS over 1.00 and only two have an OPS under .800.
5. Washington Nationals (previously unranked)
They were swept by the Cardinals, but came back strong against the Reds. They took three out of the four games. Bryce Harper scored at least one run in the four games and had a few home runs. His average is over .350 and shows no sign of slowing down. If the players around him could step up a bit they can stay in my ratings.
Teams To Watch:
St. Louis Cardinals
San Francisco Giants
Series To Watch:
Washington Nationals vs. Atlanta Braves
Cincinnati Reds vs. St. Louis Cardinals
San Francisco Giants vs. Arizona Diamondbacks
Los Angeles Dodgers vs. San Francisco Giants
Washington Nationals vs. Pittsburgh Pirates