A Short Assessment of the First Half of the 2019 MLB Season: National League Edition

As the 2019 MLB season enters its second half, so does my review of every team.

Continuing with the NL East

Atlanta Braves: 51-36

Before the season started, a lot of people had them finishing 3rd or 4th in the division and missing the playoffs. Instead, the Braves find themselves on top of the division, thanks to a balanced hitting attack and the best bullpen in the National League, with a combined 3.70 ERA. This team can go far in the playoffs if the starting pitching gains more consistency.

Philadelphia Phillies: 45-41

The Phillies may be in second right now, but they are in a month-long slide that doesn’t show signs of stopping. Their starting pitching is doing well, but their bullpen is shaky and their lineup has gone ice cold. Among other things, Bryce Harper needs to perform up to preseason expectations at the plate for the Phillies to end their slump.

Washington Nationals: 44-41

The Nationals have turned a season of underachieving into potentially another year in the playoffs, with 25 wins in their last 35 games. One reason for this turnaround is their dynamite starting pitching, led by perennial Cy Young Award candidate Max Scherzer. To make the playoffs, they’ll need to improve their bullpen, which ranks dead last in the Majors with a 6.28 ERA.

New York Mets: 39-48

The team owes an apology to Pete Alonzo and Jacob DeGrom. They are the only reasons why the Mets are not completely terrible. The Mets have had to deal with multiple injuries to their starters, but they have had to deal with them year after year and nothing has gotten better. Oh, and they still have to pay the long retired Bobby Bonilla $1.19 million per year until 2035.

Miami Marlins: 32-52

The Marlins are still deep in rebuild mode, and they don’t have much talent on the field. Their starting pitching has been surprisingly solid, with a combined ERA of 3.94. The saddest part about the Marlins, however, is their horrific attendance figures; they average 9,402 spectators per game – over 5,000 fewer than the next worst team.

NL Central

Milwaukee Brewers: 46-41

Despite having a relatively bad run differential of -6, the Brewers are in first place in the most competitive division from top to bottom. Christian Yelich could win his second MVP award, and Josh Hader might be the best closer in baseball today. The Brewers will need better production from their starting pitchers in order to go on another playoff run.

Chicago Cubs: 45-42

The Cubs are ironically the opposite of the Indians. Even though they have a balanced hitting attack, strong starting pitching, and a good run differential of +46, they are still barely above .500. Their road record is 16-26, which is even worse than the Marlins road record.

St. Louis Cardinals: 42-42

Every time the Cardinals seem to turn the corner, they immediately suffer a losing skid. They don’t have a reliable ace. Although their bullpen is decent, their lineup is nowhere near good enough to come back and win tight games. Paul Goldschmidt is not performing anywhere near what was advertised when St. Louis acquired him from Arizona.

Pittsburgh Pirates: 42-43

Josh Bell is single-handedly carrying the lineup, and no starting pitcher has an ERA under 4.00, and yet the Pirates are only three games out of first place. Chris Archer still has not gotten better on the mound. Meanwhile, Austin Meadows and Tyler Glasnow continue to be stars in Tampa Bay.

Cincinnati Reds: 40-44

Don’t look now, but the Reds have the best pitching staff in the National League, having allowed only 323 runs. However, their hitting core is still weak. Their best hitter is journeyman and St. Ignatius High School graduate Derek Dietrich. The future is bright for the Reds, but if they can go on a good run, then the future could come sooner than anyone expected.

NL West

Los Angeles Dodgers: 59-29

This team is the textbook definition of dominant. A great hitting attack and pitching staff, combined with a good defense and a solid bullpen, leads the Dodgers to the best record in the Majors. They boast MVP candidate Cody Bellinger and Cy Young candidate Hyun-Jin Ryu. Only one question remains: Can they win the World Series after falling short in back-to-back years?

Colorado Rockies: 44-42

For the Rockies, scoring a lot and giving up a lot is normal, because of Coors Field, located a mile above sea level in Denver. That said, their league worst 5.48 ERA from starting pitchers is not something to be proud of. They’ve done a pretty good job fighting back into contention after an awful 3-12 start.

Arizona Diamondbacks: 43-45

The lineup is producing at a better rate than expected after trading Paul Goldschmidt, but the pitching staff is still a mess. Zach Greinke cannot carry an entire pitching staff by himself. It also doesn’t help that the D’Backs are only 17-22 at home.

San Diego Padres: 42-44

The Padres have a lot of nice pieces on both the mound and the plate, but they need to find consistency in every position. Ultimately, when a team has pieces but no consistency, their destiny is mediocrity. An ongoing 5 game losing streak does not inspire confidence either.

San Francisco Giants: 39-47

The production coming from this offense isn’t so gigantic. Their team batting average of .231 is the worst in the majors, and their pitching staff is not good enough to carry the load every night. When Pablo Sandoval is your best hitter, there’s a problem.

With my mid-season review complete, it’s time for some predictions/jinxes!

American League:

Division winners: Yankees, Twins, Astros

Wild Cards: Indians, Rays

National League:

Division winners: Braves, Brewers, Dodgers

Wild Cards: Cubs, Rockies

World Series Prediction: Yankees over Dodgers in 6.

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