The Braves are my pick to challenge the Phillies for the NL East if the Phillies leave themselves open to any sort of challenge. Their outfield has been upgraded with Nate McLouth and Ryan Church, the rotation remains stellar, and many of the hitters are due for second-half (third-third?) rebounds. Atlanta also has a shot at the Wild Card, but even though they're only four games back, they'd need to leap-frog four teams -- including the Rockies, whom Justin rates as the second-best team in the National League -- and there are three other teams within 2.5 games. (Two if you leave out the Mets, like most Mets fans do.)
The Dodgers are a lock for the playoffs.
Even if you're not a fan of either team, tonight's pitching matchup should be fun to watch. Jair Jurrjens, who leads all MLB starters in avoiding home runs on pitches over the heart of the plate, goes up against Chad Billingsley, who through July 10th had the fourth-best curve ball in the majors based on whiffs per swing.
|2009 - Chad Billingsley||Andre Ethier,
|2009 - Jair Jurrjens||I always forget if it's
two Rs or two Js
* I really don't understand this number, as Billingsley's never posted a FIP this low during his career.