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Sports Then and Now

MLB Mid Season Report Card: Part 1 – NL East

Posted on July 14, 2010 by Don Spieles

We’ve made it through the July 4th weekend and we’ve reached the official midway point of summer: The All Star Game. That’s the Major League Baseball All Star Game. Far and away the best of the breed, perhaps because of timing, perhaps because of the much argued “home field advantage” gambit, far above similar offerings from the NBA, NFL, or NHL.

Congrats to the Senior Circuit for finally eeking out a “W”.

This week marks the midway point of the baseball season, itself. With each team having played eighty plus games, let’s take a look at how they are doing.

NL East

Atlanta Braves (52-36): B+

May 11, 2010- Milwaukee, WI. Miller Park..Atlanta Braves Jason Heyward runs to third base, Heyward had 2 hits a RBI, and 2 walks at the plate..Milwaukee Brewers lost to the Atlanta Braves 3-11..Mike McGinnis / CSM.

Jason Heyward: The biggest thing to hit Atlanta since Sherman.

Atlanta has outperformed most expectations, the average of which had them around third in a tough division. Their pitching has been pretty much what was predicted. Their top three starters (Tim Hudson, Derek Lowe, Tommy Hansen) all boast +.500 records while their bottom two (Kenshin Kawakami and Jair Jurrjens) have a total 2 wins in 22 starts.

The biggest story for Atlanta has been Jason Hayward, rookie phenom with 11 home runs, .251 average, and 45 RBI. The newest addition (to an offense that leads the NL in OBP (.343) and boasted a robust 37-19 in May and June) has given a bit of spark to both players and fans alike.

Pardon the cliche, but Atlanta seems to find a way to win this season, despite only slightly above average pitching and offense. They have also had some good luck by way of a Phillies squad that is sorely underacheiving.

New York Mets (48-40): B+

The Mets have very quietly managed to get themselves ahead of the Phillies and within four games fo the Braves at the break. The quiet nature of things probably stems from the idea that all of there press over the past few seasons has been atrocious so why make a lot of noise when things start going good, right?

Even though they have only one pitcher with double-digit wins (Mike Pelfrey), the story on Johan Santana is all about lost velocity, and the only offensive category they lad in is caught stealing, the Mets have managed to keep pace.

Philadelphia Phillies (47-40): C-

Again, the buzz word is under acheiving where the Phillies are concerned. Injuries to Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley have made the course a lot tougher for the Phightin’s, as well. Pitching has been a let down, but that is in part because expectations were so high, especially where Roy Halliday was concerned. At the onset of the season some were talking about a 25 win season for Doc and a guaranteed Cy Young Award. Now, a respctable 10-7 record seems like a bust.

Then there is Cole Hamels, who goes up and down more than a carousel horse. If you talk to Philles fans, you hear the term “head case” used a lot with Hamels, in that he seems to be a slave to his psyche: When he starts hot he stays hot, if he starts cold things just get worse from there.

June 06 2010: Marlins' second baseman Dan Uggla (6) at bat in the first inning during MLB action between the New York Mets and the Florida Marlins at Citi Field in Flushing, New York. The Mets beat the Marlins 7-6.

Rumors abound about the possibility of the Marlins Dan Uggla being traded, possibly to a surging Colorado Rockies team.

Florida Marlins (42-46): C

The Marlins showed some promise at the get go, but with a couple weeks left until the trade deadline, the Marlins are in the “sellers” column, possibly looking to shop Dan Uggla. As usual, the 1000 or so fans that show up for their home games are disappointed.

Washington Nationals (39-50): D+

Stephen Strasburg.

Ok, now that that is out of the way, the biggest issue with the Nationals is lack of offence. They have showed some serious promise from the mound, both with the a fore mentioned phenom as well as with Livan Hernandez, Scott Olsen, and closer Matt Capps.

If you don’t score runs, you don’t win games. They are 13th in the NL in runs, ahead of only the Cubs, the Astros, and the Pirates.

Don Spieles covers Major League Baseball for Sports Then and Now.

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