Tha Sports Junkies 101

National League Mid-Term Report

National League Frosteryd via


National League

With the second half of the season ahead, here’s a quick look at the National League by division.

The days after the All-star break officially mark the start of the second half for the baseball season. The National League division race will start to heat up as the trade deadline approaches at the end of July. Teams will start to look for pieces that will either help them make the playoffs or help build for their future. In the coming weeks, fans will start to see which teams plan to push for the playoffs and which ones plan to start jockeying for draft picks. Here is a look at the NL division races and which teams are in the hunt.

National League East

With a 6 game lead in the division, the Washington Nationals entered the All-star break after having just swept the New York Mets. The Mets are second in the division and were making a push toward the division lead but after being swept by the Nationals, now find themselves 6 games back. New York has been plagued with injuries but have enough talent to take down the Nationals. The Miami Marlins are also 6 games back but they have a better chance at a wild card slot than winning the division. Both the Phillies and Braves are more than ten games back in the division and look to be sellers at the deadline.

If the Mets can get healthy and stay healthy, they have enough talent to take down the Nationals. At this point in the season, The Nationals look to be the favorite to win the East.

National League Central

The NL Central has been controlled by the Chicago Cubs since the beginning of the season. Since June 20th, however, they have shown a chink in their armor. Their lead has shrunk from 12.5 games to just 7 games over the St. Louis Cardinals. The Cubs bullpen has been below average this season but look for them to make a trade at the deadline to fix that problem. The Cardinals have had many chances to climb farther back into the division of late but have not done a good job of that. They sit 4 games above .500 at 46-42 and look to be buyers at the deadline. Just a few weeks ago, the Cardinals were poised to be sellers but may be able to grab a wild card spot with good play in the second half.

The Pittsburgh Pirates are .5 games back of the Cardinals and have shown signs of being able to contend. The Cubs have dominated the Pirates this season which is not good news if the Pirates hope to gain ground on them. Pittsburgh has a shot to lock up one of the wild card spots but will need to be healthy to make a push. Milwaukee and Cincinnati both are not contenders this seasons and can only hope to start rebuilding for the future.

The favorite of the NL Central looks to be the Chicago Cubs if they can acquire a bullpen arm at the trade deadline.

National League West

The NL West is home to the team with the best record in baseball. That team is the San Francisco Giants at 57-33. They hold a 6.5 game lead over the Los Angeles Dodgers. San Francisco has great starting pitching that can carry them deep into the playoffs. Some fans believe the Giants are destined to win the World Series because it is an even year. It has worked for the Giants in 2012 and 2014. Halfway through the season, San Francisco looks to be the favorites to win the National League. The second place Dodgers have dealt with some injuries of late but really need a bat to keep up with the Giants. At this point, the west looks to be a two team race. After the Dodgers, the division drops down to the Rockies who are 16 games back.

With three teams in the West that look to be sellers at the deadline, the Giants seem to be the favorites to win the NL West. Maybe the bat they need will come from within their own division. The Rockies could deal Carlos Gonzalez in the coming weeks.

With over 70 games left in the season, the most exciting race in the NL may come in the wild card race. The Dodgers and Mets now hold the two spots but both the Cardinals and Pirates are within 1.5 games. It will be interesting to see which teams make big moves at the deadline to better their club. Last year, the Mets made big moves that eventually propelled them into the playoffs. In the next two weeks, we will see which team can be this years version of the 2015 Mets.