The Wrap: NL
NL Quote of the Night:
"I have to tell you, I'm sorry for them."
-- Phillies starter Pedro Martinez on his former team, the Mets, who have suffered more days lost to players on injured reserve than any other in the major leagues.
Nationals 7, Marlins 2
John Lannan has started 30 games? Wow, between injuries and ineptitude, and despite the obvious acknowledgement of Lannan's relative over-achievement in a dismal season, it's still a bit stunning that the Nats could have a pitcher who racked up 30 starts, let alone a starter who is on the verge of double-digit wins. Shortstop Cristian Guzman (who will soon be second baseman Cristian Guzman, if Boz has anything to do about it) helped make that a reality by going 3 for 5 at the plate, driving in a run while pushing his average back up to .296. All of those factors combined to give the Nats a series victory, one which proved exactly what the Nats can do when things are right ... and perhaps how far they are from being right all the time.
Giants 7, Dodgers 2
Well, that felt inevitable, didn't it? Giants starter Brad Penny improved to 3-0 since re-joining the NL West, serving up a dish of revenge against his former club in a rivalry game with seven strong innings to lead San Francisco to a huge win in the suddenly re-jumbled NL West. Ok, re-jumbled might be a bit strong, but the Giants at least kept themselves in the picture, pulling back within 4 1/2 games of Colorado in the Wild Card race and within 7 1/2 of the Dodgers in the division. On the other side of the coin, another loss seemed to illuminate the sudden vulnerability of L.A.'s Chad Billingsley, who gave up three runs and allowed eight hits in just three innings. Anyone in L.A. starting to feel a bit more nervous with October just weeks away?
Braves 9, Cardinals 2
In a number of media markets across the country there seems to be a growing consensus that the Cardinals are the team to beat in the NL. Sunday's St. Louis loss may be a bit of a cautioner's tale for using such logic this early. The Cardinals were thoroughly outplayed despite flexing ace Chris Carpenter on the mound, falling meekly to Atlanta and surging starter Javier Vazquez, who led Atlanta to a series sweep of the presumptive NL Central champions. Vazquez tossed the 25th complete game of his career, needing fewer than 100 pitches to shut down a "powerful" St. Louis offense in a game that pushed his victory total to 13, a tally which could easily be 4-6 higher if he'd received better run support. Meanwhile, St. Louis managed seven hits but no runs until the ninth, a feeble effort from your future NL Central champs. Future World Series winners? Possibly, but not with games like the redbirds put up this weekend.
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