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Central Division

East Division

Series Wrapup

Story

The Atlanta Braves continued their domination of the N.L. East in 2004, capturing their 10th consecutive division title by concluding the campaign with a record of 96-66 that left them 10 games ahead of the second-place Philadelphia Phillies.  The defending world champion Florida Marlins finished a disappointing third in the division, 13 games behind Atlanta.  Nevertheless, the Marlins featured one of the game's brightest young stars in 21-year-old Miguel Cabrera.  In his first full major league season, Cabrera hit 33 home runs, drove in 112 runs, scored 101 others, and batted .294.

In spite of their distant second-place finish, the Phillies boasted the division's top offense.  Philadelphia placed second in the league with 215 home runs and finished third with 840 runs scored.  Jimmy Rollins, Bobby Abreu, and Jim Thome paced the Phillies on offense.  Rollins batted .289, stole 30 bases, and placed among the league leaders with 119 runs scored.  Abreu hit 30 homers, knocked in 105 runs, batted .301, and finished near the top of the league rankings with 118 runs scored and 127 walks.  Thome homered 42 times, drove in 105 runs, and scored 97 others.

Despite Philadelphia’s potent offense, the Braves finished first in the division primarily on the strength of their superior pitching.  Featuring a deep starting rotation that boasted four double-digit winners, Atlanta’s staff compiled a league-leading 3.74 team ERA.  Jaret Wright and Russ Ortiz each won 15 games, John Thomson chipped in with 14 victories, and Mike Hampton added another 13 wins.  Meanwhile, John Smoltz did an outstanding job working out of the bullpen, placing among the league leaders with 44 saves.

The Braves also had a considerable amount of talent on offense.  Chipper Jones hit 30 home runs and knocked in 96 runs.  Catcher Johnny Estrada batted .314 and drove home 76 runs.  Rafael Furcal batted .279, scored 103 runs, and stole 29 bases.  Andruw Jones hit 29 homers and knocked in 91 runs.  J.D. Drew batted .305, drove in 93 runs, led the club with 31 homers, and finished among the league leaders with 118 runs scored and 118 bases on balls.  

While the Braves remained the class of the N.L. East, the St. Louis Cardinals established themselves as the senior circuit’s strongest all-around team over the course of the regular season.  The Cardinals dominated the N.L. Central, finishing the year with a major-league best 105-57 record, 13 games in front of the second-place Houston Astros.    Houston, with 92 victories, advanced to the postseason as the league's wild-card entry.  

The Astros made the playoffs by putting together an amazing late-season run that saw them win 36 of their final 46 games under manager Phil Garner, who replaced Jimy Williams at the helm after the All-Star break.  Key to their success were the performances turned in by slugger Lance Berkman and pitchers Roy Oswalt and Roger Clemens.  Berkman hit 30 home runs, knocked in 106 runs, scored 104 others, batted .316, and walked 127 times.  Oswalt led all N.L. hurlers with 20 wins, compiled a 3.49 ERA, and struck out 206 batters.  Clemens earned his record seventh Cy Young trophy by compiling a record of 18-4, an ERA of 2.98, and 218 strikeouts.  

In spite of the efforts of Oswalt, Clemens, and Berkman, the Cardinals ran away with the division title.  Easily the league’s most well-balanced team, the Cardinals topped the circuit with 855 runs scored, a .278 team batting average, and a .460 team slugging average, and they also finished near the top of the league rankings with 214 home runs and a 3.75 team ERA.  Jeff Suppan led the Cardinals’ deep pitching staff with 16 victories.  Joining him in the starting rotation were Chris Carpenter, Matt Morris, and Jason Marquis, each of whom won 15 games.  Closer Jason Isringhausen tied for the league lead with 47 saves.    

The formidable threesome of Jim Edmonds, Scott Rolen, and Albert Pujols led St. Louis on offense.  Edmonds hit 42 home runs, knocked in 111 runs, scored another 102, batted .301, and collected the seventh Gold Glove of his career for his outstanding play in centerfield.  Despite missing 20 games due to injury, Rolen hit 34 homers, drove in 124 runs, scored 109 others, and batted .314.  Pujols placed among the league leaders with 46 home runs, 123 runs batted in, a .331 batting average, 51 doubles, a .415 on-base percentage, and a .657 slugging average.  He also topped the circuit with 133 runs scored and 389 total bases.  All three players earned top-five finishes in the N.L. MVP voting.

While the Cardinals and Braves had little difficulty finishing atop their respective divisions, the Los Angeles Dodgers waited until the season’s final weekend to clinch the Western Division crown.  Leading the second-place Giants by just two games on the next-to-last day of the regular season, the Dodgers mounted a seven-run rally in the bottom of the ninth inning against San Francisco that gave them a 7-3 victory and their first division title in nine years.  Steve Finley put Los Angeles in the playoffs by hitting a walk-off grand slam home run.  The Dodgers concluded the campaign with a record of 93-69, two games ahead of the runner-up Giants, who finished one game behind Houston in the race for the wild-card.

Although the Giants failed to advance to the postseason for the first time in three years, they received another epic performance from Barry Bonds, who earned N.L. MVP honors for the fourth straight time, and for the seventh and final time in his career.  In only 373 official at-bats, Bonds hit 45 home runs, drove in 101 runs, scored 129 others, and led the league with a .362 batting average, 232 walks, a .609 on-base percentage, and a slugging average of .812.  His 232 bases on balls and .609 on-base
percentage both established new single-season major league records.  

Placing second to Bonds in the MVP balloting was Dodger third baseman Adrian Beltre, who served as the driving force behind his team’s successful run to the playoffs.  Beltre topped the senior circuit with 48 home runs, scored 104 runs, collected 200 hits, and finished near the top of the league rankings with 121 runs batted in, a .334 batting average, and a .629 slugging average.  Closer Eric Gagne also had a huge year for Los Angeles, compiling a record of 7-3 and an ERA of 2.19, striking out 114 batters in 82 innings of work, and converting 45 of his 47 save opportunities.  

However, the Dodgers proved to be no match for the Cardinals in the Division Series, losing to them in four games while being outscored by a combined margin of 22-12.  The wild-card Astros defeated favored Atlanta in five games in the other first-round playoff series, winning a postseason series for the first time in the 43-year history of the franchise.  Outfielder Carlos Beltran led the way for Houston by batting .455, hitting four homers, and driving in nine runs.

The Astros subsequently gave the Cardinals all they could handle in the NLCS, but St. Louis finally prevailed in seven tough games.  Albert Pujols earned NLCS MVP honors by hitting four home runs, knocking in nine runs, scoring 10 others, and batting .500.  Carlos Beltran continued his hot-hitting for the Astros, batting .417, hitting four homers, and scoring 12 runs in defeat.

St. Louis then ran into a buzz-saw against the Boston Red Sox in the World Series.  Fresh off their unprecedented 0-3 comeback against the Yankees in the ALCS, the Red Sox swept the Cardinals in four straight games, outscoring them by a combined margin of 25-12.

Other outstanding performers, notable events, and points of interest from around the league follow:

• April 12 - Barry Bonds tied his godfather Willie Mays for third place on the all-time career home run list by hitting his 660th home run against Milwaukee Brewers starter Matt Kinney.

• July 4 – Barry Bonds broke Rickey Henderson’s career record for most bases on balls by walking for the 2,191st time in his career.  He finished the season with 2,302 walks.

• September 17 - Bonds became just the third player in major league history to hit 700 career home runs by leaving the yard against San Diego’s Jake Peavy.  Bonds joined Hank Aaron (755) and Babe Ruth (714) as the only members of the select 700-homer club.

• September 29 - Major League Baseball announced its intention to move the Montreal Expos to the Washington, D.C. area in 2005.

• In position to win the National League wildcard, the Cubs collapsed in the season’s final week, losing five straight games at home.

• Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Jason Bay (.282 with 26 homers) earned N.L. Rookie of the Year honors.

• Arizona’s Randy Johnson, age 41, led the major leagues with 290 strikeouts and finished second in the N.L. with a 2.60 ERA.

• Johnson hurled a perfect game against the Braves in Atlanta on May 18.  

• Colorado’s Vinny Castilla led the National League with 131 RBIs.

• Rockies teammate Todd Helton hit 32 homers, collected 49 doubles, and batted .347.

• Jason Schmidt of the Giants tossed two one-hitters en route to an 18-7 season.

• San Diego’s Jake Peavy finished 15-6 with a league-leading 2.27 ERA.  

• Chicago’s Greg Maddux won his 300th career game on August 7 at San Francisco.

• Cincinnati’s Ken Griffey, Jr. hit his 500th home run on June 20.

• San Diego's Mark Loretta collected 208 hits and finished third in the league with a .335 batting average.

• Chicago’s Moises Alou hit 39 home runs, knocked in 106 runs, scored 106 others, and batted .293.

• Cubs teammate Aramis Ramirez hit 36 homers, drove in 103 runs, scored 99 others, and batted .318.

• Philadelphia opened Citizens Bank Park after having played in Veterans Stadium since 1971.

• Ken Caminiti, the National League’s Most Valuable Player in 1996, died of drug-related heart problems on October 10.

• Former Cincinnati Reds owner Marge Schott died on March 2.

Seasons of the National League

1876 · 1877 · 1878 · 1879 · 1880 · 1881 · 1882 · 1883 · 1884 · 1885 · 1886 · 1887 · 1888 · 1889 · 1890 · 1891 · 1892 · 1893 · 1894 · 1895 · 1896 · 1897 · 1898 · 1899 · 1900 · 1901 · 1902 · 1903 · 1904 · 1905 · 1906 · 1907 · 1908 · 1909 · 1910 · 1911 · 1912 · 1913 · 1914 · 1915 · 1916 · 1917 · 1918 · 1919 · 1920 · 1921 · 1922 · 1923 · 1924 · 1925 · 1926 · 1927 · 1928 · 1929 · 1930 · 1931 · 1932 · 1933 · 1934 · 1935 · 1936 · 1937 · 1938 · 1939 · 1940 · 1941 · 1942 · 1943 · 1944 · 1945 · 1946 · 1947 · 1948 · 1949 · 1950 · 1951 · 1952 · 1953 · 1954 · 1955 · 1956 · 1957 · 1958 · 1959 · 1960 · 1961 · 1962 · 1963 · 1964 · 1965 · 1966 · 1967 · 1968 · 1969 · 1970 · 1971 · 1972 · 1973 · 1974 · 1975 · 1976 · 1977 · 1978 · 1979 · 1980 · 1981 · 1982 · 1983 · 1984 · 1985 · 1986 · 1987 · 1988 · 1989 · 1990 · 1991 · 1992 · 1993 · 1994 · 1995 · 1996 · 1997 · 1998 · 1999 · 2000 · 2001 · 2002 · 2003 · 2004 · 2005 · 2006 · 2007 · 2008 · 2009 · 2010  

Batting

TM G AB R H RBI AVG 2B 3B HR SB CS TB OBP SLG OPSLG GIDP SF SH
ARI 2295 5544 615 1401 582 .180 295 38 135 53 32 2177 .289 .285 .621 137 37 56
ATL 2349 5570 803 1503 767 .193 304 37 178 86 32 2415 .322 .294 .660 123 48 75
CHN 2290 5628 789 1508 755 .170 308 29 235 66 28 2579 .301 .279 .664 120 48 78
CIN 2361 5518 750 1380 713 .159 287 28 194 77 25 2305 .325 .251 .618 125 25 55
COL 2351 5577 833 1531 795 .184 331 34 202 44 33 2536 .357 .278 .714 132 37 97
FLO 2223 5486 718 1447 677 .169 275 32 148 96 43 2230 .308 .252 .642 142 40 77
HOU 2391 5468 803 1458 756 .180 294 36 187 89 30 2385 .349 .261 .665 128 52 98
LAN 2357 5542 761 1450 731 .177 226 30 203 102 41 2345 .312 .268 .631 121 35 69
MIL 2255 5483 634 1358 601 .158 295 32 135 138 40 2122 .310 .232 .628 120 40 56
MON 2289 5474 635 1361 605 .198 276 27 151 109 38 2144 .290 .279 .614 115 33 100
NYN 2390 5532 684 1376 658 .185 289 20 185 107 23 2260 .316 .271 .641 129 34 69
PHI 2317 5643 840 1505 802 .181 303 23 215 100 27 2499 .317 .290 .686 123 46 64
PIT 2330 5483 680 1428 648 .196 267 39 142 63 40 2199 .311 .317 .684 117 42 79
SDN 2316 5573 768 1521 722 .178 304 32 139 52 25 2306 .334 .255 .660 128 66 52
SFN 2405 5546 850 1500 805 .218 314 33 183 43 23 2429 .412 .329 .807 142 51 92
SLN 2381 5555 855 1544 817 .234 319 24 214 111 47 2553 .387 .328 .777 121 70 73

Pitching

Team G W L IP SO BB BF H HR ERA ER R GC SH SV WP BK
ARI 633 51 111 1436 1153 668 6418 1480 197 141.620 795 899 5 2 33 71 8
ATL 645 96 66 1450 1025 523 6218 1475 154 87.540 604 668 4 1 48 36 6
CHN 622 89 73 1468 1346 545 6262 1363 169 98.610 623 665 3 2 42 50 9
CIN 659 76 86 1443 992 572 6451 1595 236 128.020 836 907 5 2 47 74 3
COL 635 68 94 1436 947 697 6535 1634 198 183.610 883 923 3 0 36 66 6
FLO 566 83 79 1441 1116 513 6110 1395 166 139.260 655 700 6 3 53 35 3
HOU 655 92 70 1444 1282 525 6201 1416 174 153.830 650 698 2 2 47 45 3
LAN 621 93 69 1454 1066 521 6155 1386 178 80.220 647 684 2 2 51 43 2
MIL 584 67 94 1441 1098 476 6204 1440 164 100.250 683 757 6 1 42 59 5
MON 624 67 95 1447 1032 582 6307 1477 191 119.600 696 769 11 4 31 43 2
NYN 636 71 91 1450 977 592 6333 1452 156 178.080 660 731 2 2 31 30 8
PHI 638 86 76 1461 1070 502 6308 1488 214 93.870 726 781 4 4 43 40 3
PIT 625 72 89 1427 1079 576 6197 1451 149 97.280 684 744 3 2 46 45 3
SDN 599 87 75 1441 1079 422 6135 1460 184 174.140 645 705 3 2 44 27 2
SFN 683 91 71 1457 1020 548 6321 1481 161 160.180 703 770 8 5 46 52 2
SLN 631 105 57 1451 1041 440 6104 1378 169 71.920 605 659 4 2 57 42 4

Fielding

Team ID G TC PO A E Fld% InOuts SB CS CS% PB
ARI 2630 7148 5244 1743 161 .971 17232 97 50 0 16
ATL 2696 7358 5402 1832 124 .968 17399 91 29 0 10
CHN 2652 7037 5335 1603 99 .986 17587 108 39 0 9
CIN 2763 7210 5398 1676 136 .968 17322 67 29 0 17
COL 2776 7238 5272 1854 112 .964 17223 111 32 0 13
FLO 2569 7039 5308 1628 103 .972 17269 118 38 0 11
HOU 2773 6998 5229 1649 120 .981 17317 101 39 0 4
LAN 2660 7195 5412 1687 96 .985 17442 96 40 1.00 14
MIL 2554 7148 5403 1614 131 .971 17303 89 29 0 6
MON 2673 7268 5409 1741 118 .961 17365 58 41 1.00 7
NYN 2781 7329 5395 1774 160 .960 17389 100 39 0 12
PHI 2636 7198 5439 1663 96 .980 17549 103 26 1.00 7
PIT 2758 7098 5257 1714 127 .952 17135 72 38 0 2
SDN 2715 7150 5395 1628 127 .968 17293 69 25 0 9
SFN 2793 7310 5429 1764 117 .959 17484 72 24 0 9
SLN 2878 7270 5296 1858 116 .973 17442 53 29 0 9

West

team W L Att Rk SOP
Los Angeles Dodgers 93 69 3488283 1 1066
San Francisco Giants 91 71 3256854 2 1020
San Diego Padres 87 75 3016752 3 1079
Colorado Rockies 68 94 2338069 4 947
Arizona Diamondbacks 51 111 2519560 5 1153

Central

team W L Att Rk SOP
St. Louis Cardinals 105 57 3048427 1 1041
Houston Astros 92 70 3087872 2 1282
Chicago Cubs 89 73 3170154 3 1346
Cincinnati Reds 76 86 2287250 4 992
Pittsburg Pirates 72 89 1580031 5 1079
Milwaukee Brewers 67 94 2062382 6 1098

East

team W L Att Rk SOP
Atlanta Braves 96 66 2327565 1 1025
Philadelphia Philies 86 76 3250092 2 1070
Florida Marlins 83 79 1723105 3 1116
New York Mets 71 91 2318951 4 977
Montreal Expos 67 95 749550 5 1032

Awards

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Tagged:
Adrian Beltre, Albert Pujols, Andruw Jones, Aramis Ramirez, Atlanta Braves, Barry Bonds, Bobby Abreu, Boston Red Sox, Carlos Beltran, Chipper Jones, Chris Carpenter, Citizens Bank Park, Curt Schilling, Eric Gagne, Greg Maddux, Houston Astros, J.D. Drew, Jake Peavy, Jaret Wright, Jason Bay, Jason Marquis, Jason Schmidt, Jeff Suppan, Jim Edmonds, Jim Thome, Jimmy Rollins, John Smoltz, John Thomson, Johnny Estrada, Julio Franco, Ken Caminiti, Ken Griffey, Jr., Lance Berkman, Los Angeles Dodgers, Marge Schott, Mark Loretta, Matt Morris, Miguel Cabrera, Mike Hampton, Moises Alou, Montreal Expos, PETCO Park, Phil Garner, Rafael Furcal, Randy Johnson, Roger Clemens, Roy Oswalt, Russ Ortiz, San Diego Padres, Scott Rolen, St. Louis Cardinals, Steve Finley, Todd Helton, Vinny Castilla

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