2009 MLB National League Central Notebook
Part of the Brewers going 21-6 and climbing into first place in the National League Central is a tribute consistency in the pitching staff.
The Brewers are tied for second in the league in team pitching with an ERA of 3.86. That also has allowed them to win eight of their last 10 series.
But then you look at veteran catcher Jason Kendall. The veteran receiver collected his 2,000 th career hit on May 18 against St. Louis. Kendall is one of four catchers in baseball history to have 2,000 hits and catch 1,800 games.
The others are Gary Carter, Ivan Rodriguez and Carlton Fisk. Kendall’s reputation is one for being very good at working with pitchers.
The Redbirds got some good news this week when outfielder Ryan Ludwick and right-hander Chris Carpenter came off the disabled list.
That helps because the Cardinals led all of baseball by using 11 rookies this season including seven who made their major league debuts. Going with that kind of roster would have likely diffused the good start because the team fell out of first place.
But with Carpenter, it changes everything on the staff because his veteran presence is needed. In his 100 starts, Carpenter is 53-20 (.726). That is the best winning percentage in the history of the organization by any pitcher who has made at that many starts. Left-hander John Tudor, who pitched in the 1980s, was 49-21 (.700).
There is a serious case of anemia being contracted by the Cubs offense this year. This team scored two runs as it was swept in a three-game series against the rival Cardinals in St. Louis.
Not surprisingly, some of the averages are just downright scary. Third baseman Mike Fontenot is batting .195, right fielder Milton Bradley is batting .184, first baseman Derek Lee is hitting .239, second baseman Aaron Miles is hitting .216, catcher Geovanny Soto is hitting .206. Yikes!
Leadoff man Alfonso Soriano is a respecatable .265. But if the Cubs, who are rumored to be in the Jake Peavy sweepstakes, are really serious, they probably need to look at upgrading their offense.
The Pirates have been a streak team this year. An eight-game losing streak has been countered by a five-game winning streak.
But credit the Pittsburgh starters for keeping their team in games. Starting pitchers have thrown the most innings at 248 1/3. That’s an average of six innings per game.
That’s contributed to Pittsburgh owning the third-best ERA in the National League. Their mark of 3.99 is behind Los Angeles (3.55) and Atlanta (3.84).
Closer Francisco Cordero has proven himself to be one of the most consistent in the game. And that’s not easy because the closer is arguably the toughest position in the game.
But Cordero has been good in both the American and National Leagues. He is one of 11 closers in the history of the game to record 100 saves in each league. He joins Lee Smith, Jeff Rearson, John Wetteland, Randy Myers, Rollie Fingers, Jose Mesa, Goose Gossage, Doug Jones, Bob Wickman and Ugeth Urbina.
For his career, Cordero collected 117 of his 221 saves between Detroit and Texas. The National League saves are between Milwaukee and Cincinnati.
It just seems like Lance Berkman has been with the Astros forever. Well, to illustrate how good he has been for the organization, here’s where he ranks in organization annals.
Berkman is fifth in hits at 1,479, third in RBIs with 983, second in home runs in 296 and leads in career batting average at .300 and slugging percentage at .577.
But the batting may fall from .300 plateau the way his 2009 season is going. Berkman was hitting .233.
By Kevin Lonnquist
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