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National League: It’s the Usual Suspects

Cardinals righty Lance Lynn

Cardinals righty Lance Lynn

The standings in the National League look pretty much like one would expect they would. The Atlanta Braves lead the N.L. East at 17-12, followed closely by the Washington Nationals and Philadelphia Phillies. The New York Mets and Miami Marlins are bringing up the rear. No surprises there.

The N.L. Central has the St. Louis Cardinals on top at 18-11 followed by the Pittsburgh Pirates at 17-12, then the Cincinnati Reds, Milwaukee Brewers, and the Chicago Cubs in last. No surprises there either.

The N. L. West has one minor surprise, the Colorado Rockies are tied for first with the San Francisco Giants at 17-12 The Arizona Diamondbacks are third followed by the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Diego Padres. Swap the Rockies and Dodgers in the standings, and the National League looks a lot like its preseason predictions.

Going forward, look for the Giants to take control of the West. Also look for the Pirates to fade in the post All-Star Break portion of the season. The East will be quite a battle the rest of the way. The Phillies are our pick to win it.

The Cardinals will win the Central,but look for the Brewers to make a charge to the front and perhaps pass the Reds for second place.

The Giants are still the vest team in the League and will have an excellent shot at winning another World Series this year. They have some great hitters in Pablo Sandoval, Buster Posey, Hunter Pence and company, but they have the one thing a championship team needs, and that is a starting pitching rotation with several aces. Tim Lincecum, Barry Zito, Madison Bumgardner and Matt Cain can all shut you down. As long as they are healthy in October, the Giants should be the favorite to win it all again.

You can never count out the Cardinals. They will battle you until the end as we have seen in the past few post seasons. But they just do not have the horses anymore to overtake the Giants. The Giants were the one team that has been able to put them away in the post season. But look for St. Louis to be in the mix, and perhaps we will get another Cards-Giants NLCS.

In this year of predictability, I would look for the winner of that series to face the Detroit Tigers in the World Series. The Braves can tell you how good that team is. The Braves will make the postseason again. Again they will come up short.

Also, you may see another new York Mets pitcher win the Cy Young Award. Matt Harvey may take it this time succeeding R.A. Dickey from a year ago. Does this mean he ends up in Toronto next year? I wouldn’t look for that to happen.

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