The Wrap: NL
NL Quote of the Night:
"Where do we go from here? We have to sit down and make some decisions. We talked about that today. We feel like we still can get some things done. ... We'll have to see what's available."
-- Mets Manager Jerry Manuel, after his team's dispiriting loss to the Braves on Sunday night.
Cubs 11, Nationals 3
If you thought you had a bad weekend, it could have been worse: You could be Julian Tavarez. Not only did his Nationals find themselves on the wrong end of the sweep to the Cubs -- an ignominous one at home, at that -- Tavarez discovered that the Nationals were no longer "his Nationals" after it was over on Sunday. The veteran reliever and spot starter was cut with an ERA in the month of July that stood at 14.73. And as Chico pointed out in the story above, that went down yesterday, thanks to Tavarez giving up only one run after lucking into two strong line outs. Clearly, things have been better for the Dominican product. Of course, things have been better for the Nats, too, but not in awhile, a trend that continued in decline thanks to the efforts of Chicago starter Kevin Hart -- who gave up two runs in five innings -- on Sunday.
Giants 4, Pirates 3
Whether they can keep winning or not, the Giants have turned themselves into one of the NL's most intriguing stories. San Francisco can flat out pitch, and in a division where only one team seems to have the demonstrable hitting to put on a serious World Series run, the Giants might be able to pitch themselves past all non-Dodgers division foes and right into the playoff picture. They're there right now, sitting in a Wild Card slot thanks to outings like Matt Cain's Sunday start in Pittsburgh, where the young San Francisco starter held the Pirates to a single run across seven innings before yielding to the Giants bullpen ... which nearly blew the lead in the eighth but held on. For many teams, four runs wouldn't be enough, but for San Francisco a four-run sixth, backed by four consecutive doubles, was a strong push for a win.
Braves 7, Mets 1
This was probably the end of the Tim Redding era in New York, if reports that are leaking out of Queens are at all accurate. It probably should be, too, since Redding, who came on in relief of young starter Fernando Nieve, allowed a whopping five runs in just three innings of relief, though only two of them were earned. Of course, it's possible that this game served as the capstone of two teams who are truly passing each others' course in the night; with each game that falls in the "L" column, the Mets are looking more and more like September casualties for a third straight year. The Braves, meanwhile, seem to be mounting something that looks like the early stages of a potential run, which could be incredibly significant with the forthcoming trade deadline. If the Braves are buyers at the deadline instead of sellers, watch out, they might just have a true run at a playoff spot deep down inside of them.
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