This week we looking at the National League Division B in the All Time Any Time Great Teams League All individual stats were current at the time of writing.
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1985 St. Louis Cardinals 48-36 1st place
The Cardinals remain the only team in the majors who have been in 1st place since day one and don’t seem inclined to let anyone take it from them. Can they rule the 2nd half as they have the 1st?
Heroes: You can find Cardinals all over the league leader boards of the league Vince Coleman’s 78 stolen bases is more than every other team in the majors except Cincinnati Willie McGee leads in batting & Triples while on the mound John Tudor is tops in wins and Innings pitched.
Zeros: Some leader boards are worse than others and Jeff Lahti’s five blown saves (against 8 converted) leads the NL. Kurt Kepshire’s 7.67 ERA the WHIP 2.06 and 51 walks vs 39K’s won’t impress anyone. The Catchers spot has been adaquote behind the plate but at it Tom Nieto ( .208 0 HR 12 RBI ) and Darryl Porter ( .192 5 HR 30 RBI ) haven’t delivered.
Wild Cards: St. Louis is one of two teams in the NL that play on turf and their 26-13 record on the artificial surface reflects that skill. But more important has been their 22-8 record in the division that has kept them on top.
Coming Attractions: The Cards end short road tip in Chicago vs the tough Division C leading 2016 Cubs before heading home to host the 2008 Philadelphia Phillies, 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers, the 1986 NY Mets and the 1997 Florida Marlins.
Injury Report: Third Baseman Terry Pendelton will miss the entire series against the Cubs but once he’s back the cards will be back to full strength.
1957 Milwaukee Braves 43-41 5 GB 2nd place
Milwaukee has kept pace with the Cardinals going 7-3 over the last 10 games and currently in a tie for the last wild card spot. Can they make a move and finally knock StL off the top of the heap?
Heroes: Hank Aaron is 3rd in batting 1st in hist and 3rd in RBI’s & 9th in HR in the league. Wes Covington may not be on the leader boards but his triple crown numbers (.306 avg 16 HR 47 RBI) are trouble for opposing pitchers. On the mound Don McMahon is the surest way to a Milwaukee win with 11 saves in 12 chances.
Zeros: Juan Pizarro (4-4 6.57 ERA .319 avg against 2.29 WHIP and 0-2 inn save chances) and Eddie Johnson (2-3 9.53 ERA .351 avg against 2.18 WHIP 2.18 & 1-2 in save chances) have been the anti McMahon this season. Frank Torre .219 avg is no better than Del Crandall but while Crandall has 11 HR 35 RBI & 3 triples Torre’s .3 HR 12, RBI & 11 walks mean that the table isn’t getting set.
Wild Cards: Milwaukee’s OPS is 2nd in the league behind Brooklyn in both slugging and OPS. The latter is really something when you consider that they are 2nd to last in OBP. They also don’t like turf very much with a .167 winning percentage on artificial surfaces.
Coming Attractions: It’s 3 at home vs the 2005 Houston Astros and three more against their wild card rival 1962 Giants before heading off to a short two city trip, first to Cincy to play the 1975 Reds and then to the Nations Capital for a shot at the 2019 Nationals.
Injury Report: All hands are all deck for the Braves
1997 Florida Marlins 42-42 3rd 6 GB
Florida is at .500 within striking distance of 1st and just a game away from a wild card stop. But .500 isn’t going to be enough to get to the post season. Will they rise, will they fall or will they stay where they are?
Heroes: Moises Alou 2nd in OBP, OPS and Batting (regularly trading places with McGee for 1st. Teammate Gary Sheffield leads the league with his .442 OPB and is 3rd in walks. 1st in hist and 3rd in RBI’s & 9th in HR in the league. Kevin Brown’s 8-8 with a 4.57 might not impress but he’s been an innings eater with 136 (5th) and has not been a Strikeout machine 4th in the league (135) & 5th in K’s rate (8.93).
Zeros: Rob Nen may lead the team with 8 saves but is also 7th in the league with 4 blown. that .297 avg against & 5.31 ERA likely has something to do with it. At the plate Devon White (.222 6 HR 27 RBI) Jim Eisenreich (.226 1 HR 23 RBI 18 runs) and Luis Castillo (.231 0 HR 17 RBI 25 Runs) are all failing to produce
Wild Cards: There’s no place like home for Florida who are a full 10 games over .500 when playing in the Sunshine state. But the real wild card on this team is reliever Felix Heredia. His 6.18 ERA is the worst on the team but put him in a save situation and he’s a perfect 5 saves in five chances.
Coming Attractions: Florida gets a chance to pad that home record with four series at home welcoming the 2008 Philadelphia Phillies, 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers the 1986 New York Mets and the 2013 Arizona Cardinals before hitting the road again.
Injury Report: With Luis Castillo off the DL Florida finds itself back at full strength for their 12 game homestand.
2019 Washington Nationals 34-50 4th place 14 GB
After threatening to reach .500 the nationals have gone 2-8 to sink to the bottom of Division B. Can they match the 2nd half that put them in this great teams league against tough competition?
Heroes: Patrick Corbin remains a strikeout machine leading the league with 151 & 2nd in k’s per 9 innings to go with a 7-4 record 4 Nationals Anthony Rendon, Juan Soto Trea Turner and Matt Adams are in double digits in HR and while Howie Kendrick is one shy but his 100 hits 54 RBI & team leading .309 avg makes up for it.
Zeros: Max Scherzer is still 3-8 with a 5.44 ERA and a .304 avg against, but might be on this list for the last time. Those ERA and avg against figures are the best he’s posted since opening week. He’s 2-1 in his last 3 decision has struck out 9 or more in his last 5 and leads the league in k’s per 9 innings and that ERA and avg against. Unfortunately that can’t be said for Anibal Sanchez his is 2-8 with a 6.46 ERA in 18 starts Or reliever Daniel Hudson who in 48 appearances is 6-8 with 3 blown saves in 4 chances.
Wild Cards: Despite their record this teams is dangerous. Their 98 HR is only one behind Milwaukee good for 4th in the league as is their slugging pct .425 (also 4th) and their pitchers have stuck out 732 batters 2nd in the majors (3 of the top 4 stops in K’s per 9 innings are held by Nationals starters) but their ERA of 5.05 is dead last and the 88 HR they’ve given up is also 4th in the league and their WHIP of 1.47 3rd. However until they learn to hit right handed pitching (14-40 vs righties) they aren’t going anywhere.
Coming Attractions: It’s the 1962 San Francisco Giants at home followed by the 1975 Cincinnati Reds before a quick trip to Arizona for 3 vs the 2013 Diamondbacks, then back home for series against the 1957 Milwaukee Braves and the 2016 Chicago Cubs
Injury Report: Danial Hudson will miss the series vs the giants but should be back before the end of the series against the reds.