San Diego Padres—2
St. Louis Cardinals—2
San Francisco Giants—1
Real-life leader: Giants
On the Braves (Aaron Hooks)
The Braves are in a horse race in the NL East. Now that they’ve got Rick Ankiel, even if they can’t overcome the Phillies to win the division, they’re still going to be heads and shoulders above everyone else in the NL.
On the Phillies (Dennis Schlossman)
Having fought injuries for most of the season, the Phillies may not have the momentum to pull past the Atlanta Braves for the division crown, but if Chase Utley and Ryan Howard return healthy and produce to their capabilities, the Phillies should have no problem claiming the NL wild-card spot.
On the Reds (Steve Keegan)
LeBron defects. Joey Votto gets disrespected. The beloved Browns continue to be a disgrace. The yin has got to yang at some point for Ohio. My money is on the scrappy Reds, who have nothing to lose and play in a very easy division.
On the Padres (Joshua Worn)
This summer the Padres will find themselves falling out of first place due to one team: the San Francisco Giants. The Giants can pitch with the Friars man to man, and their offense, thanks to Buster Posey, Aubrey Huff, and Pat Burrell, can out-slug them.
On the Cardinals (Samantha Bunten)
St. Louis is easily the best team in the NL that is not currently leading its division. After bolstering their rotation with Jake Westbrook at the trade deadline, they should have what it takes to hang in there and come out on top of the wild-card race.
On the Rockies (Matt Esposito)
The Colorado Rockies are no stranger to coming from behind in the standings to make the playoffs. Looking up at an inexperienced team like the Padres, the Rox may have the firepower to overtake them.
The Rockies are notoriously a second-half team. They went 45-29 in the second half last year. The team just clicks after the All-Star break.
On the Giants (Todd Hayek)
When a team has Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Barry Zito, Jonathan Sanchez, and Madison Bumgardner in the rotation, they are likely to only continue winning for the rest of the year. If Kung Fu Panda (Pablo Sandoval) can get the stick going, the offense should kick into gear enough to at least finish in wild card ownership.