Philadelphia Wins NL East
It is unusual to declare a division race over in early August. It is even more unusual to declare the second place team as the division winner. However, I can state with some confidence that the Phillies will win the NL East despite being 2 games out of first.
Why? For several reasons.
1. Last few years they have played better down the stretch.
2. They have several key players due to return from injuries.
3. Their last two games seem to indicate they have something going. One was a great outing by mid-season acquisition Roy Oswalt. The other was a come from behind victory over the Dodgers scoring eight runs over the last two innings to overcome a seven run deficit. Those sort of victories tend to inject extra confidence in a team.
4. Most importantly, the team in first place, the Atlanta Braves, saw their future Hall of Fame Third Baseman make a great defensive play last night only to see him go down with a knee injury after completing the play.
I didn't think the Braves were legitimate contenders this year. The loss of Chipper Jones convinced me they are not going to maintain their lead. Bobby Cox is retiring after this season and should be applauded for getting this team as close as he has to a division title.