Major League Baseball

Who is the beast of the NL East? – Part 1

Jimmy Rollins Game 4As we grow closer and closer to April 4, I ask the all important question… What on Earth is happening to the National League East Division?

It seems as if they have broken away from the pack, and are their own super league. Like how everyone watches the American League East for the on going battle against the Yanks and Bo Sox, these five teams are going to slug it out into the last week of the season (yes, even the Nationals).

There are no weak links in the division, and they all beefed up in someway or another. Let’s take a look these squads to see just who has a chance at October.

Philadelphia Phillies

The back-to-back National League Champions are only better than they were last season when they went to the World Series. Their offense focused around extreme power has seen few speed bumps in their road to the playoffs and they finally have the front line pitcher to keep them ahead in the race.

New in town: Unless you’ve been on the moon, deep in a crater, with your eyes closed and your ears plugged you’re aware that Roy Halladay is in the city of Brotherly Love. The Former Cy Young winner is entering the National League for the first time, and coming off a very successful season despite not knowing who was going to play for in 2010. Placido Polanco, is returning to Philadelphia after four outstanding seasons in Detroit including winning his second gold glove this past year. The boys in Red also picked up an extra rotation candidate in Jose Contreres.

He’s Outta Here: Bringing in Roy Halladay would have been nightmare for the rest of the division last July. That was mainly in part to their acquisition of 2008 Cy Young winner Cliff Lee around that time. However, unless your team’s city starts with “New” or “Bos-” it is tough to carry two ace pitcher’s salaries on your back, and Lee was shipped out. The Phils also lost Pedro Feliz, a solid infielder who works well as a spot starter but was used more as an everyday third baseman.

2010 Impact: Are they better than they were in 09? Yes. Much better? No. Halladay is an upgrade over Lee, but not as drastic one. He is an inning eater, and as durable as they come, but relies on a bit more on power pitching than Lee, and Citizen Bank Park is a launch pad for home runs. Expect a higher ERA from him this season. Polanco is a great player in both the field and dugout. He brings a lot of intensity and knows how to lead, but his bat is drifting as he gets older. Contreres is not a serious answer to a big question in the fifth start spot.

Look for big seasons from pitcher Cole Hamels, outfielder Jayson Werth, and a healthy Chase Utley. However, the team overall didn’t improve as much as others in the division and will not waltz back into the playoffs without a fight.

Read Bases Loaded: The Inside Story of the Steroid Era in Baseball by the Central Figure in the Mitchell Report by clicking here.

Grab a Philadelphia Phillies 2009 Division Champions Official Clubhouse T-Shirt by clicking here.

Grab a Philadelphia Phillies Replica Home Jersey by clicking here.

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Eric G.

Eric is the owner and editor-in-chief of the Camel Clutch Blog. Eric has worked in the pro wrestling industry since 1995 as a ring announcer in ECW and a commentator/host on television, PPV, and home video. Eric also hosted Pro Wrestling Radio on terrestrial radio from 1998-2009. Check out some of Eric's work on his IMDB bio and Wikipedia. Eric has an MBA from Temple University's Fox School of Business.

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