June 15, 2009

Baseball Update: NL Central

The Baseball Update is a look at the happenings around the world of Major League Baseball.

The NL Central has been the funniest division to watch this season. Every team in this division is within four games of each other. Even the Pirates and Astros are only four games behind the division leading Milwaukee. The NL Central is the most competitive division in the Majors and it should be fun to watch down the stretch.

The Return of the Puma: One of the reasons the Houston Astros have been able to keep up in the division, has been the improved play of Lance Berkman. The big Puma struggled in the early part of the season, but has seen his numbers improve. He is still only hitting .256 but he has 13 home runs and 37 RBI's. This team looks to Berkman as their leader, and his improved play along with the resurgence of Miguel Tejada will help this team stay competitive in the NL Central.

Nate who?: There was a lot made of the Nate McLouth trade in Pittsburgh. Well much-talked about prospect Andrew McCutchen has made the Pirates fans forget about McLouth. While he doesn't have the hitting power like McLouth, he does have the other skills. In 11 games this season McCutchen is hitting .327 with seven RBI, nine runs, and two stolen bases. McCutchen hasn't even reached his ceiling yet, which could be very high.

Milton going Milton: Yes Milton Bradley, went Milton Bradley this past weekend for the Cubs. While playing the Twins, Milton caught a fly ball and threw the ball into the stands. What's the problem you ask? There was only one out, instead of two. A runner scored and the Twins preceded to win the game. Check out the video.


Dusty Baker'd: Brandon Phillips was Dusty Baker'd big time today. He was fined by manager Dusty Baker for not looking at the third base coach signs. With men on base and a 3-0 count, Phillips was suppose to take a pitch. Instead he swung away and popped out to end the inning. The Reds would go on to lose the game.

Dusty Baker quote: From the AP, on the Brandon Phillips situation; “His thought process was all right, that he wanted to make something happen, wanted to drive in the runs, and I don’t want to take that desire and though process away from him. But it is like the military. You obey orders. That’s the first time anybody ever ignored a take sign from me and it will be the last.”

That's the first time Dusty? So you are telling me all those years you managed Barry Bonds, he didn't disobey orders? Sure.......

Strikeout: Even though the Milwaukee Brewers lead the division, their lineup hasn't done them any favors. The Brewers players strike out way too much. They are third in the majors with 513 strikeouts on the season. And their main hitters are the ones who strikeout at a high rate. Prince Fielder, Ryan Bruan, Cory Hart, and Mike Cameron each have over 50 strikeouts on the year. Fielder alone averages a strikeout per game. Sure this team can hit, and that will likely carry them for the season, but if they make the playoffs the strikeouts will hurt them tremendously.

Another MVP?: Albert Pujols could be on his way to another MVP after this season. Pujols is batting .324 with and leads the majors with 22 home runs and is fourth with 57 RBI's. He could very well be on his way to a third MVP. Hell Pujols could win the MVP every season, and you really couldn't complain.

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