Saturday, May 5, 2012

NL Playoff PIcture by cebola


Tacoma's frantic run may be too little, too late as Milwaukee has an 11 game division lead on the strength of an extremely well-balanced line-up and pitching staff. 8 players have at least 13 HR and 5 have at least 70 RBI. Rookie of the year candidate and super-utility man Sam "We've Got" Bush has 30 SB's and 91 runs scored. Edge Edwards leads the power categories with 23 HR and 79 driven in. Veteren Paul Heiserman is the front runner for the Cy Young award with a mad 18-3 record to along with his 3.13 ERA. He and fellow All-Star starters Stu McCurry (15-6) and "Don" Juan Bennet (14-7) boast arguably the best top 3 in the league. Chief Lecroy is having another great season with 40 saves.

Injuries have ravished the Tacoma pitching staff, but hurlers Mariano Padilla (11 wins) and Howard Taylor ( 25 saves) are doing their best to keep them in the race. The offense is led by All-star 3B Art Krausse who has a solid .293/.352/.530 line, including 27 HR and 85 RBI. Catcher Darren Ferguson is on pace for a career year at .281/.366/.478


Scranton seems to be on the verge of ending Burlington's five year run at the top, as they hold a 14 game division lead. All-star catcher Red Westmoreland is having another good year and reigning MVP Pat Dougherty is simply a beast with 45 homers and 101 RBI. His slash-line is a sick .306/.391/.661! Carlos Blanco has driven in 100 with his 39 bombs, and Earl Butler is doing his job at lead-off with a .352 OBP and 35 SB's Richard Nomo (12-3) and Raul Cora (12-8) head the starting rotation and Dan Lane already has 98 innings pitched out of the pen. All-star closer Enrique Mercado is 35/38 in save opps.


Iowa also boasts an extremely balanced line-up and pitching staff which has them on top, ahead of Tampa by 10 games. Jaret Walters is having an MVP-like season with 36 HR and 115 RBI and a line of .295/.360/.572. Sammy Cochrane is .305/.363/.536 while hitting 26 homers and driving in 93. Bob Newson has been getting on base ahead of the sluggers at a .370 clip (despite hitting just .249) which has enabled him to score 90 runs to go along with his 29 steals. PJ O'Shea has been lights out as closer with 31/33 saves and puts himself in the Cy Young conversation. The injury bug has stayed away from the rotation this year, allowing Phil Coke (11-9), Clinton Puffer (11-6) and Bruce Mullens (13-5) to keep their reputation as the best in the business despite the defection of Gio Hernandez to free-agency.

Tampa is getting a career-year from 3B Derrick Grissom (.303/.375/.536) with his 25 HR, 101 RBI and 21 steals. Jamie Byrne is having another solid season from the middle of the order (285/.370/.501) and has 24 homers and 86 driven in. CF Hi Shouse is bidding for his 2nd gold-glove while contributing 22 HR and 82 runs scored. The rotation has a solid front three with Rich "Say it Isn't" Sobelewski (12-8) and Rob Cormier (16-6.) And when Harry "Met Sal" Lee won his 15th last week, he put himself into the Cy Young discussion.


St. Louis has an 8 game lead on Colorado, which is the closest race in the league. Former MVP and owner of 2 Series's Rings Louie Santiago is doing it again with .305/.379/.540 and 34 HR and 109 RBI. 3B Will Pote made his 6th All-star appearance this season and has put up a line of .314/.376/.472 while playing stellar defense. Anderson-squared have been dynamite as well (Ted - .300 BA, .416 OBP with 91 runs and 39 steals; Rip - 30 HR and 107 RBI). Stump Matheson is again one of the top firemen in the league and has saved 42 of 46 games. The rotation is deep and strong with Benito Guerrero (11-6, 3.14 ERA), Rueben Calderon (15-6), Pedro Borges (13-6), and Alex Torres (10-3.) David Polanco is 37 and has taken a step back, but can be a valuable weapon for a post-season team.

The Shock are getting in done with the sticks as 4 players already have 100 RBI and 6 have at least 20 homeruns. Raymond Brock is flirting with .400 (and the MVP award.) He's currently at .402 with 27 HR and 111 RBI. Newcomer Benito Rijo is enjoying his first season in the thin-air, as he has 35 HR and 123 driven in. Jason Swann has a line of .337/.387/.571 and lead-off man Alvin "The Run" Logan has 132 runs scored, a .367 OBP and 47 SB's. It's hard to find traditional success stories on the pitching staff, as Rey Camilli's 4.73 ERA is the lowest among the starters. New ace Gio Hernandez is 10-8, Rafael Beltre is 12-9 and Benny Calderon has 9 wins in relief.


Tampa and Colorado hold the top two spots in the race with Las Vegas 7 games behind and Tacoma 10 behind. Vegas has 4 players with at least 19 HR, led by rookie-of-the-year front runner Darwin Rhodes's 25. He also leads the team with 74 RBI. Groucho Hargrave has 24/71 and Juan Estrada has 22/74 and a line of .308/.370/.489. Veteran All-star Matt Livingstone leads the rotation with a 13-6 record and 2.85 ERA. Swing-man Willie Callaspo is 32/34 in save opportunities and has also made 3 starts.

Good Luck!

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