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Posts Tagged ‘NL East’

How Good Are The Marlins?

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Marlins Win

After an impressive sweep of the Atlanta Braves, a team no one expected is sitting with the best record in the MLB at 8-1 — the Florida Marlins. Granted, it’s incredibly early to start talking about “best teams” but the red-hot start by the Florida team no one goes to see is hard to ignore, especially when you consider how well they played last year. It looks like Marlins youthful roster took some lessons from their Tampa Bay counterparts by not settling for simply being a good young team.

Now it’s about winning, and, oh look: attendance figures are up by almost 7000 fans. Apparently, everybody does love a winner, even the folks in South Beach. The question is, are the Marlins built for the long haul or is this just a hot start? Speaking of hot starts, the last time the Marlins started a season with an 8-1 record, they won the World Series.

As for the long haul query, the Marlins are built around good young pitchers like Ricky Nolasco, Chris Volstad, and Josh Johnson; as well as great young hitters like Dan Uggla, Jorge Cantu, and Hanley Ramirez. Their bullpen isn’t too shabby either. When add all those components up, it’s evident the Marlins do indeed have the makings of a team who can be good, perhaps even great, for an entire season.

Granted, it is still awfully early to make prognostications about where teams will stand in October, but if the Marlins can do things like avoid injury bugs, untimely losing streaks and late-season swoons, it’s easy to see them challenging the big names of the NL East for the entire season, and perhaps even beating them out for a postseason berth — and maybe even a shot at the third World Series title. Meanwhile, the Cubs are still looking for that first one of the modern era, while the Florida Marlins — a team that’s been torn apart and rebuilt more than a street racing-spec Honda Civic — look like challengers.


Now That’s A Ring (Philadelphia Phillies)

Phillies Ring

The Philadelphia Phillies got their World Championship rings today — no fan fights reported — as they try to avoid being swept by the Atlanta Braves. Unfortunately for the Phillies faithful, they are failing miserably at the moment. Does anybody win on championship celebration days anymore?

Here a few details on the rings in question:

Each 14 karat white gold ring contains 103 diamonds, totaling 3.84 karats. The 103 diamonds represent the 92 regular season and 11 postseason wins for the Phillies in 2008.

See more of the Phillies championship rings here.

New York Mets Call On Voltron

Mets Voltron

Something has to work, right?

According to a number of reports out of the New York area, the choking ailing Mets have turned drastic measures in order to save whatever post season life they have left. The Onion has much more:

Facing the Cubs in the midst of a three-game losing streak, the desperate Mets sprinted out to the field Tuesday, launched themselves high into the air above Shea Stadium, and combined their bodies to form a 400-foot tall fielding robot called Carlos Voltron…

“After losing eight of our last 12 games, forming Carlos Voltron is our only hope to save our playoff chances,” Manuel said. “We really need power this late in the season, and the 2.5 million pounds of thrust in Voltron’s solid-fuel boosters should give us the lift we need.”

This begs the question: What happens if the Milwaukee Brewers turn into Megatron or the Phillies become Optimus Prime? Could the National League handle that much robot warfare?

Ryan Howard Looks Valuable

Ryan Howard

But is he the MOST valuable? It depends on your definition of “value” is. If it calls for ignoring stats like home runs and RBI in favor of batting average, then no, Howard is not the most valuable. However, with the Phillies leading the NL East — for now — and his MLB-leading 45 home runs and 136 RBI contribution to said lead, he certainly deserves some consideration. Yes, Howard’s batting average has been lower than you’d want during the season grind, but in the last week or so, Philadelphia’s hammer is hitting .455 with four dingers and 11 runs knocked in.

Howard’s recent tear has helped push his batting average to the .250 area for the first time this season. On the other hand, Howard is again threatening to exceed 200 strikeouts with only 74 walks. Obviously, you’d like to see his patience at the plate improve — as well as his eye — but consider this: if you knew every time you made contact with the ball, it had a chance to leave the yard, patience and plate discipline may not be your biggest virtues either.

Who is more valuable after the jump >>