Monday, August 27, 2012

AL & NL Division Series Recaps by cebola

Jackson took a 2-1 series lead over LA, with the big win coming in game 2's 13-7 thumping in which Jaret Walters drove in 5. With a chance to clinch at home, the Colonels were thwarted by veteran Adrian Messmer's gem in LA's 5-0 win, evening the series. Jackson's bats could not get going in the clincher either, as they're held to 1 run by Charlie Rushford. Jamie "Fire" Byrne's (how come my Don's can't get players like this?) 2-run double in the 5th would be the game and series deciding hit as LA wins 2-1 to take the series.

Jackson was once again strong and most of their line-up seems to be intact for at least a few more seasons. They always churn out good young pitching, so even with a possible defection by Reese "Smokin'" Hemphill, they'll definitely be back next season. Great job, Jackson!

Trenton also jumped out to a 2-1 series lead over Cincinatti on the strength of Karl Hurst's 6-0 gem in game 2, and the 13-5 game 3 thrashing that saw probable MVP Nick Jacquez homer thrice. Cincy showed their mettle by bouncing back to take a 9-2 lead in game 4 before the Thunder started booming. They scored 5 run in the 8th to cut the lead to 9-8 before releiver Mathew Gibson put out the fire by getting the final 4 outs to seal the victory. Game 5 was an instant classic (it's on ESPN Classic tonight), as the Sextons overcame a 4-1 defecit at the hands of Hurst by scoring 5 in the 7th. They blasted 3 homers in the inning, the biggie a 3-runner by Harry Sosa. Trenton tied it up in the bottom of the inning, but their pen could not keep the Cincy bats at bay as they surrender 4 in the 9th. The Sextons go on the next series against LA and keep their team-of-destiny stature alive.

Trenton had a season for the ages, but could not top it off with a title. They are undoubtedly in terrific shape to make many more runs at it with a line-up of MVP candidates and a staff of Cy Young hopefulls. A job very well done!

Except for Iowa's 8-3 win in their do-or-die game 3 win, all 4 games were decided by 1 or 2 runs in this series between division rivals. Curtis Lewis had the big 3-run homer in game 3 to give Iowa the spark they needed to keep hope alive. With Tampa still ahead 2 games to 1, they had their two veteran aces on the hill, each with a chance to win the series, but Rich "Say it Ain't So" Sobolewski couldn't hold a 2 run lead in the 7th, as Chris Cust (why can't my Dons get players like this?) comes up with the big 2-run single to break the tie and send Iowa to the 4-2 win. And when Harry "Met Sal" Lee gave up 4 in the first two innings of game 5, the series was all but over as Rounder pitching continued to silence Tampa's bats. Vinny Cortes and the Iowa pen cruised to the 4-2 win and the series victory.

The Don's and cebola had a great season and should be tough once again next year.  Can cebola add that bat or two that might put the Don's over the hump?  Can't wait to see!!!

Mighty Cleveland seemed to make a statement in their game one 12-2 victory over bottom-seed Helena, as 5 Cobalts had at least 2 RBI, and they blasted 5 homers (2 by Darren Ferguson.) But Helena continued their quest as the NL's version of team-of-destiny by taking the next three, including game 2's dramatic 11 inning affair. Helena could have crumbled after blowing a 6-1 lead in the 8th & 9th to send the game to extras, but Ronnie Rapp hits a huge 3-run homer in the 11th to give the Peacemakers hope and momentum. In game 4, Babe Colin gets his 3rd win of the postseason and clean-up hitter Hersch Glynn drives in 3. Game 4 may have been the best of all though, as catcher Troy 'How much is my" Farnsworth erases a 4-2 deficit by blasting a grand slam in the 8th to send Helena soaring to the 6-4 series clinching win.

Cleveland will be back next season, I'm sure, as they boast a line-up with a couple MVP candidates and several other all-stars. Great job getting that team back on top!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

NL Round 1 Recap

Iowa began their title defense with a three game sweep of Scranton. The two teams met in last year's second round with the same result. The quick victory allows Iowa to set-up its rotation for their next series against division rival Tampa Bay. Scranton's best opportunity to make it a series was in game 1, where ROY candidate Santo Cerda threw 7 innings of of 2-hit, shutout ball to stake them to a 1-0 lead into the 8th. But LF Curtis Lewis got the big 2-run HR in the top of the 9th to give Iowa the lead and the win. The series was defined by Iowa's deep, relentless pitching staff - Scranton tallied only 2 runs in the 3 games. The managed only 4 hits in the series clinching 6-0 loss. Lewis gets the MVP for his game 1 heroics; he also added another homer and drove in 5 in the series. Earl Butler hit .333 for Scranton, but the tean as a whole batted just .161. They also got strong starts from Cerda and Chad Pinto, who had a break-out season with his 13-10 record.

Scranton had another fine season, and always seem to be in the mix. I don't see anything being different next year, as their good young pitching will only get better; and it always helps to have a perenial MVP candidate, like Pat Doughery, in your line-up!

In Helena's 3-1 series victory over Colorado, the teams split the first two at Coors, game 2 being a 15-9 thin-air spectacular (someone forgot the humidor.) In game 1, Helena got 2 HR and 6 RBI from 3B Omar Arnold and a gutsy win by Babe Colin, as he scattered 14 baserunners through 7. Colorado took an early 11-2 lead in game 2, but let it get to 11-9 before they buckled up and evened the series with the 15-9 win. Marc Clarke went deep twice and drove in 5. With the series moving to Helena, we get 3 lead changes through 5 in game 3, with Colorado taking a 6-4 lead into the 5th. The Helena bats then come alive as they go on the 13-6 victory, pushing the Shock to the brink. Butch Power had a big game-tying 2-run homer, and Gerald Hill hit a two-run shot in the 7th to put the game out of reach. Rico Petit threw 4 1/3 scoreless innings of relief to earn the win. Game 4 was the Babe Colin show, as he pitches 8 innings (2H, 1R, 8K, OBB) against the formidable Colorado line-up to win the clincher and earn his second win of the series. Geralg Hull takes series MVP with a .500 BA, 7 RBI and 2 HR.

Colorado hit .329 for the series and scored 27 runs in the 4 games. Mike Brinkley and Marc Clarke drove in 7 apiece. The pitching staff had a 9.26 ERA for the series, however. It was another strong season for the Shock and they proved to the World that they are a serious contender. They keep adding quality pitching to go with that amazing line-up. They will undoubtedly be in the mix again next season. Great job!

AL Round 1 Recap

Cincinnati continued their hot streak against division rival Augusta by taking the first two games of their round 1 series. Cincy had previously swept the Polar Bears at the end of the regular season to snatch the division title from them and earn home field advantage. John Martin had a 3-run homer and 4 RBI total in the game 1 11-2 thrashing. In game 2 Cincinnati put togther rally after rally in scoring single runs in 5 consecutive innings to wear down Calvin "Sweet As" Sugawara in their 6-3 win. Augusta bounced back with victories in the next two to even the series, with game 4 being a 15-inning 2-1 nail-biter. Gane 1 hero for Cincy, John Martin, left 7 men on base, including leavin' 'em loaded in the 14th. Augusta had just squandered a bases loaded opportunity in the 13th. Augusta's bullpen was unbelievable as they pitched 8 shut-out innings after Pedro "High" Sierra went the first 7, surrendering only 1 run. Danys "Don't Ask," Dotel lofted the game-winning single over the heads of the drawn in outfield to score Ugueth Roque, who had tripled with 1 out. In the clincher, Cincinnati took care of business early, scoring 5 times in the first in their 10-3 win. Ryan Hicks picked up his 2nd win of the series and earns series MVP, and mid-season acquisition Cam Weston hit the big 3-run homer to send the Sextons to the next round to face Trenton.

Augusta was again a force to be reckoned with and they won't be going anywhere soon. They have a strong front four in their rotation with McCartney, Sierra, Sugawara and Bell. Their solid, well-balanced line-up, featuring the likes of Juarez, Alvarez and Alexander will surely keep them in the hunt for next season and beyond. Great job!

Jackson and Tacoma alternated victories in the first four games of the series, with 25 year old Tacoma starter Erick Durham outdueling veteran ace Reese "Smokin'' Hemphill in Tacoma's 10 win. Durham pitched 7 innings giving up just 4 hits and 0 walks. Bonk Lincoln provided all the offense he would need with a solo homerun. Game 3 was just as intense as Jaskson tied the game at 2 in the top of the 9th on an error by RJ Ordonez with 2 out. But he was picked up by Phil Matsui's walk-off homer in the bottom half to give Tacoma a 2-1 series lead. Jackson responded with their backs against the wall by winning the next game 7-3. Roy "Purple" Hayes got the win in going 7 strong, and Enrique Hernandez provided the big three-run homer to break it open. In the deciding game, Jackson's line-up full of playoff tested veterans built a 6-1 lead through 7 on a three-run shot by Ralph "Billy the Kidd" Kydd and a couple of solo shots by Dan Blair. But Tacoma would not go down without a fight, as they get homers from Javy Ortiz and Adam Smith (2 run shot) to cut it to 6-4 in the 8th. They scratch out another un in the 9th, but come up short, as Jackson takes the series. Dan Blair earns series MVP by scoring 7 runs to go with his 2 jacks and 4 RBI.

Tacoma gets to the playoffs for the first time since season 13, and there is a lot to look forwark to. Hitters Adam Smith and Bonk Lincoln are still developing and starters Erick Durham and Alving Guerrero, who missed the series due to injury, are going to get better. Great job, and we'll see you in the running next season, I'm sure!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

S23 Overall Awards

MVP -  Nick Jacquez

Cy Young  -   Karl Hurst

ROY -  Welington Rijo

COY -  slashtc


S23 NL Awards

NL MVP - Hi Shouse:   I know there could be arguments out there for some other guys (Roland Soriano and Art Krause in particular) but the blog don't want to hear that nonsense!!!  Shouse was simply amazing this year ---sure he smacked 39 HR, had 107 RBI, 217 hits, 103 runs, and a slash line of .327/.379/.550, but we can't overlook the fact that he was the second coming of Ken Griffey Jr. in CF this season.  35 plus plays is obscene!!!!

NL Cy Young - Rafael Beltre:   This one was tough.  As far as the blog was concerned, it came down to Beltre and his running mate, Bryan Christiansen.   Both men clearly benefited from that fact that they put up the numbers they did in hitter friendly Colorado.   Neither men put up the dominant number seen by Hurst and Valdes in the AL, but considering where they were pitching, they were more than solid.   Beltre was 15-7, 218 innings pitched, 1.35 WHIP, 3.46 ERA, 22 QS, 5 CG and 2 Shutouts.  Christiansen was 15-3, 182.1 innings pitched, 1.28 WHIP, 3.16 ERA, 19 QS and 2 CG.  In the end the fact that Beltre threw about 40 more innings, had 3 more CG's and had 2 Shutouts were the deciding factor.   Time to lock this young man up long term!!!

NL ROY - Welington Rijo:   Any other year and this award would be going to Santo Cerda ( hell, for that matter 5 more wins and he would probably be winning the Cy Young as well), but unfortunately Mr. Cerda ran into the second coming of ARod legend, Omar Castillo!!!  Rijo came up after the 20 game call up mark to save a year of eligibility and immediately started bashing NL pitching.  In 141 games, he finished with 98 runs, 168 hits, 39 HR, 123 RBI, 66 walks, 125.246 RC and a slash line of .319/.395/.608!!  Mr. Rijo is a beast!!!

NL Coach of the Year:  With a 24 win improvement and a jump from the cellar to the playoffs, mtg54 just edges out ARod pioneer and S3 World Series Champ, richard46920 who made a hugely successful return to the world (can we put the venom on the beginning of the season behind us?)  If richard46920 didn't have a solid team left behind by holer to work with the script could be flipped, but in the end mtg54's huge improvement and shrewd pickup's have the blog leaning his direction.  Congrats to mtg54!!

S23 AL Awards

AL MVP - Nick Jacquez:   When it come to hitting it just doesn't get better than this.  Mr. Jacquez only put up the 1st Triple Crown the blog is aware of in the post-steroid era of World ARod.  If not for Mr. Riggan going crazy with the long ball in The Lou, we'd be talking about a ML triple crown.
      -Slash line:  .357/.432/.661; along with 237 hits, 140 runs, 50 HR, 152 RBI

AL Cy Young - Karl Hurst:  Its hard to believe that a guy could put up a line like Hurst did.....23-3, 0.95 WHIP, 1.89 ERA, 23 QS, a opponent slash line of .202/.250/.287....and not be considered a stone-cold lock for the award, but 8-time All-Star Carlos Valdes did just that.  Valdes was amazing out of the pen for slashtc and his Dodgers this year with herculean 172.1 innings pitched in 80 appearances, he went 15-3, 8 saves, 0.91 WHIP, 1.71 ERA and an opponent slash line of .205/.249/.298.  In the end, the blog has flipped a coin on this one---Hurst is about to win his 3rd Cy Young.

AL ROY -  Kirk Lee:   This one was not a coin flip.  18-9, 1.29 WHIP, 4.03 ERA, a workhorse 212.0 innings pitched, and a solid opponent slash line.  Lee is a 25 yr old who has been patiently biding his time in the minors, but after 3 years of AAA ball and a serious stress fracture in his arm last season, the #9 overall pick in S16 proved he was worth the wait.

AL Coach of the Year -  While a lot of people around the league feel 50below had as good a claim on the COY award as any, the blog feels the manager who deserves the award for S23 is slashtc.   This was his 3rd season in a row of 100+ wins but instead of running roughshod over a weak AL West, he was instead dealing with a young, hungry Tacoma squad that made the playoff, a San Diego squad that is moving in the right direction and a Seattle team that is slowly getting better.  This wasn't a cake-walk this year, but he still got 101 wins.  Good job slash!!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

AL Playoff Picture by cebola

AL North

Augusta is currently 5 games up on Cincinnati, in large part to an outragous hot streak. Hot streaks happen when you have a couple CY Young candidates at the top of the rotation. Former ROY Pedro "High" Sierra has set a carrer high in wins with his 18-8 record to go with his 2.76 ERA, and fellow All-Star Calvin "Sweet As" Sugawara is 17-10 and 3.53. The 'Bears got a bad break when they lost closer Osvaldo Castillo for the year, but replacement Alex Butcher has been solid in his place. The line-up is stacked with the likes of steady C Victor Lawson (22HR, .277/.346/.485), all-star slick-fielding SS Doug Jennings (26 HR), and three MVP candidates in Javy Alvarez (35 HR/93 RBI, .285/.365/.533), Cleatus Alexander (43 HR/112 RBI, .301/.397/.590), and Marvin Crabtree (.320/.418/.569.)

Cincinnati is getting a career year from veteran starter Paul Merrick at 16-8 with a 3.56 ERA. Reliever Sammy Gueravara is 12/12 in save opps in a 109 IP out of the pen. The line-up is well-balanced and is getting solid production from the likes of 2B Vicente Blasco (.290/.370/.482), RF Peter Quintero (23HR/81 RBI), John Martin (42 HR/105 RBI, .889 OPS), and Harry Sosa (.298/.372/.498 and 36 SB). If Cincy can't make a run at the red-hot Augusta, the wild card is definitely in their sights.

AL West

The LA Dodgers have an 11 game lead on Tacoma. Reliever Carlos "Exxon" Valdes earned his 8th career All-star selection and is having perhaps his best year. He is 15-3 with 7 saves in 159 innings pitched. He has an ERA of 1.81 and a WHIP of 0.94. Morris James is doing the heavy lifting from the rotation with a record of 12-7 and a miniscule 2.42 ERA. Closer Travis Jones is having an uncharacteristicly bad year, but seems to be righting the ship at exactly the right time. The legendary lineup features a host of MVP candidates, including Pedro "Hack" Bonilla, whose somewhat human .846 OPS is the lowest of his career, C Clay Stanley (.321/.387/.654, 1.014 OPS), 3B Tony "The Crooner" Bennett (30 HR, 89 RBI, and GG caliber D), and Geovany Molina, who is rebounding nicely from his injury-plagued S22 campaign, with 37 HR and 89 RBI with an OPS of .914.

Tacoma has made pushes here and there for the division, but remains in great shape for a wild card berth if they can't get er' done. Their pitching staff is solid, if unspectacular (4th in runs against) led by Erick Durham (17-9 2.65 ERA), Chris King (12-7, 3.45) and closer Kenta Itou (31 saves). The team's superstar is Vinny Keats, who can do it all; .284/.369/.507, with 24 HR, 85 RBI, 15 SB, and is the front-runner for the gold-glove award in center. Bonk Lincoln (yes, "Bonk." Is WIS even trying, anymore!?) has a .351 OBP to go with his 33 SB and 81 runs scored.

AL South

Jackson is 8 games up on Charlotte, who is in grave danger (is there any other kind?) of missing out on the tournament for the first time since season 16. Neither team sent a single player to this season's mid-season classic, which is remarkable considering the legendary status of these two clubs. It was a statistical oddity , as both teams are stacked with solid performers. Two-time Cy Young winner Reese "Smokin'" Hemphill (soon to be FA?) is 13-3 with a 2.68. The Colonels seem to always churn out good young pitching, as Kirk Lee is a candidtae for this year's ROY. He's 16-9 with a 4.38 ERA. 2B Ralph Kydd is living up to his huge contract extension in going .318/.411/.438 with 40 steals and 96 runs. Bryce Dupler (36 HR/102 RBI), C Wes Dickerson (.827 OPS), and FA signing Jaret Walters (25 HR/99 RBI) are the featured stars in a productive offense.

Charlotte got a tough break when they lost 3-time Gold-glove winning SS Deacon Larson for the season. Last-year's MVP Carlos "Exxon" Valdes is having a nice little follow-up season with 40 HR and 117 RBI with an OPS of .923. Wayne Key (39 HR/83 RBI) and Tommy Jordan (32/91) have been huge contributors, and starter Estaban Guapo has been huge in going 15-5 with a 3.58 ERA.

AL East

Trenton is 16 up of the New York Mets. After starting the seaon 9-12, Trenton has gone 83-42 since, and is clearly the team to beat. They are first in runs in the AL and 2nd in runs against. Nick Jacquez leads all three triple crown categories at this point (.360/47/143) and appears a shoo-in for two of those. His 47 HR appear to be the only category that might be in question. The team sent 7 guys to the All-star game, including its two-headed beast at the top of the roation in last season's Cy Young Karl Hurst (20-9, 1.84 ERA) and Pat "Puffy" Combs (13-8 2.84). John Suzuki is also a legit MVP candidate with a slash-line of .326/.410/.594 with 35 HR, 83 RBI and 34 SB.Reliever Ricky Mullin is 8-2 with 6 saves in 118 innings pitched.

With original A.Rod franchise Syracuse leaving the World at the end if last season, I'd like you all to "meet the Mets, meet the Mets, step right up and greet the Mets"! The new NY franchise has done a great job continuing the rebuilding process and have set themselve up to snag one of the wild card berths. All-star closer Rex Gray has 25 saves and a 1.90 ERA. A couple of rooks are making solid contributions in Anibal Olivares (31 HR/93 RBI, 9 SB, and only 1 error all year at 1B), and Shawn Durocher, who is playing Gold-glove defense in RF to go with his 27 HR and 83 RBI). LF Philip "Don't Call Me Christopher" Robbins is producing as well, with a line of .270/.340/.438, while scoring 92 runs. Starter Albert Brower was on the verge of having his break-out season (10-8, 3.65 ERA) when he was lost for the year.

Wild Card

Whoever does not win the North is the front-runner, along with Tacoma, for the wild card spots. The Mets and the Minute Men are 5 games out and are just one hot-streak away from applying the pressure. Richmond is on the radar, 8 games out.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

NL Playoff Picture by cebola

Heading down the stretch, fewer than 30 games to play. All it takes is spot in the tournament, and it's anyone's trophy! Here's how we're shaping up...

NL North

The Cleveland Cobalts, with their star-studded line-up, hold an 8 game lead over Milwaukee. New acquistion Wil Pote joins sluggers Darren Ferguson (25 HR/85 RBI) , Andy Jacobs (36 and 108), and MVP candidates Roland Soriano (.341/.403/.577) and Art Krause (30 HR/109 RBI). Mariano Padilla leads the pitching staff with 13 wins; new acquisitions Benito Pulido and Alex Estalella join the staff to make a run at securing a division title and first-round bye.

Milwaukee is making their push and are 8 games out. If they fall short of Cleveland, they are still in good shape for a possible wild-card berth. SP Paul Heiseman has been hot and cold coming off his 20-4 season and is 14-12. Rookie sensation Ossie Diaz is 9-6 with a 3.13 ERA, and joins workhorses Stu McCurry and "Don" Juan Bennett to round out a formidable rotation. The offense is built around young gun Sam "We've Got" Bush, who has 25 HR and 101 RBI. Dennis Larson has 52 SB's to go along with his 103 runs scored. Eduardo Aguilar supplies a nice balance of speed and power (19 HR/81 RBI/22 SB)

NL West

Colorado is hot and holds a 5 game lead over Helena. The Shock bolstered their staff with 2 solid SP to make their run. All-star Bryan Christiansen and Donte Zoltan have combined to go 6-3 since their arrivals. Those two join Cy Young candidates Rafael Beltre (13-6 and a solid thin-air ERA of 3.82) and Gio "The Hybrid" Hernandez (15-8). The offense is loaded with production from the usual suspects, highlighted by Mark Clarke (.335/.421/.614, 35 HR/117 RBI), and Benito "Blame it On" Rijo (.322, 34 HR/122 RBI). They are joined by ROY candidate CF Felipe Mercado (23 HR 94 RBI) The Shock could be peaking at the right time and make a push for a title and first-round bye.

Helena is only 5 out and is the mix for the Wild Card as well. The money thrown at closer Stump Matheson was well-spent as he has converted 37 of 39 save chances and has helped the Peacemakers become serious contenders. Hersh Glynn leads the offense with 30 HR, 95 RBI and a slash-line of .312/.391/.517, but the pitching is the story here. 21-year old Babe Colin (13-7, 3.61), Valerio Santiago (11-9, 3.53) and Paul Cintron (14-2, 3.73) lead the rotation and can shut down any opponent on any given day. With that pitching staff, long losing streaks just ain't gonna happen!

NL South

Both Iowa and Tampa Bay have shared time at the top of the division, and are currently tied. Iowa is, as usual, top in the league in ERA and runs against, led by Cy-Young candidate Clinton Puffer (17-12, 3.75). Puffer's looking to win 20 for the 2nd time in his career. Relief pitcher Carlton Magee made the All-Star team and has thrown 101 effective innings out of the pen, helping to make up for the loss of starter Bruce Mullens, who is lost for the season. (If my math is right, maybe a WS return?) The line-up is solid too, as MVP candidate Sammy Cochrane (.318, 31 HR, 103 RBI), CF Victor Bennett (.370 OBP), and All-star 2B Bob Newson (.282/.391/.387, 27 SB, 96 runs) lead the attack.

Tampa is second in the league in runs against, and has gotten a solid performance from veteran starter Doug "Buck" Rogers (16-4, 4.14 ERA) Closer Alfonso Villafuerte has 42 saves. FA signing Tony Rodriguez has been solid (.294/.395/.549, 33 HR and 88 RBI) and CF Hi Shouse is having a career year (.330/.381/.538, 31 HR, 91 RBI) at the plate as well as in the field, where he hopes to win his second career gold-glove.

NL East

Scranton is 5 games up on Louiseville and 8 up on Philadelphia. Scranton's line-up is solid, as it has 5 guys who have 21 HR or more, led by former MVP Pat Dougherty (.330/.401/.626, 41 HR 97 RBI) and catcher Red Westmoreland (.294/.348/.453). The Squirrells too sent a middle relief pitcher to the All-star game in Gene Garcia, who is 8-2 with 6 saves and 3.13 ERA. All-Star and ROY candidate Santo Cerda is 11-9 with 2.52 ERA

The aptly named Louiville Lumber are third in the league in runs scored, led by veteran Sandy Fielder, who transitioned to 2B after spending most of carrer in center. It has worked out, as he is the front-runner to win the Gold-glove there, and he posts a hitting line of .310/.408/.554. 3B Dusty Riggan (53 HR/118 RBI) and OF Santo Soto (41 HR/97 RBI, .295 BA) have been beasts. The Lumber is last in the league in team ERA, however, and their pitching has kept them from maintaining a winning record. Since Scranton has struggled at times too, the Lumber may just have enough to slug their way to the top.

Philly could be a dark horse in this race if they get hot and the teams ahead of them have trouble pulling away. They have a nicely balanced squad with 2nd-year man Virgil Campos having an All-star season with an 11-4 record and 3.35 ERA. 2B Dennis "Green Eggs and" Hammel (.326/28 HR/89 RBI) is the front-runner for the silver-slugger, and gold-glove candidate 3B Max Kelly has been solid at the dish too, with 21 HR and 69 RBI. Donn Jones is in the running for ROY, due to his .280/23 HR/80 RBI production level.

Wild Card

Whoever doesn't win the South is the current front-runner for the top wild-card spot, while New Orleans joins Helena and Milwaukee in the mix for the 2nd spot. Look out for St. Louis too, as a recent hot streak has put them on the radar. New Orleans, who is currently 2 games out of a playoff spot, is getting monster seasons from rookie 3B Herbert Johnstone (32 HR/106 RBI), and catcher Jose Zurbaran (27 HR, .305/.374/.572). Veteran Benji Mangual has been his solid self with 30 HR, .and a 271/.340/.508 line. while playing gold-glove caliber RF. Reliver Tim Sheets has pitched 101 solid innings out of the pen, posting an 11-3 record and a 3.30 ERA.

There should be some good action down the stretch, as another round of divisional games finish the season. Good luck to all!