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Central Division

East Division

Series Wrapup

Story

The National League featured repeat-winners in the Eastern and Central Divisions in 2008, and a Los Angeles Dodgers team that jumped three places in the standings to capture their first Western Division title in four years.

The Dodgers came out on top in the decidedly mediocre West by finishing the regular season with a record of 84-78, two games ahead of the runner-up Arizona Diamondbacks.  The Dodgers managed to claim the division title even though they finished just 13th in the league in both home runs and runs scored.  Matt Kemp, James Loney, Russell Martin, and Andre Ethier served as their primary offensive threats for much of the year.  Kemp hit 18 homers, drove in 76 runs, scored 93 others, and batted .290.  Loney batted .289 and led the team with 90 runs batted in.  Martin batted .280 and scored 87 runs.  Ethier scored 90 runs and led the team with 20 home runs and a .305 batting average.  The Dodgers also received a huge lift when Manny Ramirez joined them for the final two months after being acquired from Boston just prior to the July 31 trading deadline.  In his 53 games with the team, Ramirez drove in 53 runs, hit 17 home runs, batted .396, and compiled a .489 on-base percentage and a .743 slugging percentage.  His extraordinary performance earned him a fourth-place finish in the league MVP voting.

The Dodgers’ greatest strength lay in their pitching staff, which posted a league-leading 3.68 team ERA.  Derek Lowe and Chad Billingsley anchored the starting rotation.  Lowe won 14 games and compiled an ERA of 3.24.  Billingsley led the team with 16 victories and a 3.14 ERA.   

The Chicago Cubs proved to be the senior circuit’s most consistent team over the course of the regular season, compiling a league-best 97-64 record that placed them 7 ½ games ahead of the runner-up Milwaukee Brewers in the N.L. Central.  The Brewers advanced to the playoffs as the league’s wild-card entry, edging out the New York Mets by one game for the final postseason berth with a record of 90-72.  The Houston Astros placed third in the division, 11 games back, just ahead of the fourth-place St. Louis Cardinals, who finished 11 ½ games off the pace.

Although the Astros and Cardinals finished well out of contention, each team featured one of the league’s top players.  Lance Berkman had a big year for the Astros, hitting 29 home runs, knocking in 106 runs, leading the league with 46 doubles, and placing among the leaders with 114 runs scored, a .312 batting average, and a .567 slugging percentage.  Albert Pujols posted even better numbers for the Cardinals, earning N.L. MVP honors for the second time by hitting 37 homers, driving in 116 runs, scoring 100 others, finishing second in the league with a .357 batting average and a .462 on-base percentage, and topping the circuit with 342 total bases and a .653 slugging percentage.

Finishing two places behind Pujols in the MVP balloting was Milwaukee outfielder Ryan Braun, who paced the Brewer offense much of the year by hitting 37 home runs and knocking in 106 runs.  The Brewers also received an exceptional performance from C.C. Sabathia, who they acquired from Cleveland on July 6.  Over the season’s final three months, Sabathia went 11-2, with a 1.65 ERA and a league-leading seven complete games and three shutouts.

However, the Cubs proved to be the division’s most well-balanced team.  In addition to finishing third in the league with a team ERA of 3.87, they topped the senior circuit with 855 runs scored.  Chicago's deep starting rotation included four double-digit winners.  Ryan Dempster compiled a record of 17-6 and placed among the league leaders with a 2.96 ERA.  Ted Lilly finished 17-9, while Carlos Zambrano won 14 games and Jason Marquis chipped in with another 11 victories.  After being moved to the bullpen prior to the start of the season, Kerry Wood saved 34 games and won five others.

Although the Cubs lacked a true superstar on offense, they had several players who made significant contributions to them over the course of the season.  Outfielder Kosuke Fukudome scored 79 runs, while shortstop Ryan Theriot scored another 85 and batted .307.  Second baseman Mark DeRosa hit 21 homers, batted .285, knocked in 87 runs, and led the team with 103 runs scored.  Outfielder Alfonso Soriano batted .280 and homered 29 times.  First baseman Derrek Lee hit 20 long balls, drove in 90 runs, scored 93 others, and batted .291.  Catcher Geovany Soto hit 23 homers, knocked in 86 runs, and batted .285.  Third baseman Aramis Ramirez hit 27 home runs, scored 97 times, batted .289, and led the team with 111 runs batted in.  

The Philadelphia Phillies featured a less-balanced attack, depending more on two or three players to carry their offense.  Nevertheless, they finished tied for second in the National League with 799 runs scored, and they also topped the circuit with 214 home runs.  The Phillies’ powerful offense, coupled with their improved pitching staff, enabled them to capture their second straight N.L. East title by a slim margin over the runner-up New York Mets, who faltered down the stretch once again.  Philadelphia concluded the campaign with a record of 92-70, just three games ahead of the Mets, who narrowly missed making the playoffs for the second consecutive year.

Although the Mets came up a bit short in the end, they featured three of the league’s best players.  Johan Santana finished 16-7, with a league-leading 2.53 ERA and 234 innings pitched.  Carlos Delgado hit 38 home runs, knocked in 115 runs, and scored 96 others.  David Wright went deep 33 times, batted .302, and placed among the league leaders with 124 RBIs, 115 runs scored, and 189 hits.  

The Phillies ended up scoring the exact same number of runs as the Mets, and they also surrendered fewer runs to the opposition over the course of the season.  Philadelphia’s pitching staff compiled the fourth-lowest team ERA in the National League, with a mark of 3.88.  Cole Hamels and Jamie Moyer anchored the starting rotation.  Hamels finished 14-10 with an outstanding 3.09 ERA, while the ageless Moyer led the team with 16 victories.  Brad Lidge excelled out of the bullpen, compiling an ERA of 1.95 and going a perfect 41-for-41 in save situations.

Still, the Phillies' greatest strength remained their offense.  With reigning MVP Jimmy Rollins experiencing a subpar season, Shane Victorino provided a spark at the top of the batting order, batting .293, stealing 36 bases, and scoring 102 runs.  Chase Utley had an outstanding all-around year at the plate, hitting 33 home runs, driving in 104 runs, scoring 113 others, and batting .292.  After struggling somewhat during the season’s first half, Ryan Howard compiled monster numbers the final three months of the year to earn a second-place finish in the league MVP voting.  Howard ended up leading the league with 48 home runs and 146 runs batted in.

The Phillies had a surprisingly easy time in the postseason, posting an overall record of 11-3, en route to winning just the second world championship in franchise history.  The Phillies defeated Milwaukee in the opening round of the playoffs in four games.  They then needed only five games in the NLCS to dispose of a Dodger team that swept the favored Cubs in the other Division Series.  Facing the Tampa Bay Rays in the World Series, the Phillies again needed only five games to prove their superiority, claiming in the process their first world championship since 1980.

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

• March 15 – The Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres played to a 3–3 tie in the first major league game ever played in China.  The two teams faced each other at Wukesong Stadium in Beijing, site of the baseball competition for the 2008 Olympics.  The clubs met again the next day, with the Padres winning 6–3.

• April 23 – The Chicago Cubs became the second major league franchise to record 10,000 victories (joining the Giants), with a 7–6 win over the Rockies in 10 innings.

• May 20 – 12-time All-Star catcher Mike Piazza announced his retirement.

• May 25 – Playing in both games of a doubleheader for the Giants, Omar Vizquel broke Luis Aparicio's major league record of 2,583 career games at shortstop.

• June 5 – Chipper Jones of the Braves hit his 400th career home run during a 7–5 win over the Marlins, joining Mickey Mantle and Eddie Murray as the only switch-hitters to reach the milestone.

• June 9 – Cincinnati’s Ken Griffey, Jr. hit his 600th career home run during a 9–4 win over the Marlins, making him just the sixth member of the 600-home run club.  He joined Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Sammy Sosa and Barry Bonds.

• September 14 – Carlos Zambrano of the Cubs pitched a 5–0 no-hitter against the Astros in a game relocated to Miller Park in Milwaukee.

• Florida Marlins shortstop Hanley Ramirez hit 33 home runs, stole 35 bases, batted .301, and led the league with 125 runs scored.

• San Diego first baseman Adrian Gonzalez batted .279 and placed among the league leaders with 36 home runs and 119 runs batted in.

• San Francisco Giants right-hander Tim Lincecum earned N.L. Cy Young honors by going 18-5, with a 2.62 ERA and a league-leading 265 strikeouts.

• Arizona’s Brandon Webb placed second to Lincecum in the Cy Young voting by compiling an ERA of 3.30 and a record of 22-7, to lead all N.L. hurlers in victories.

Seasons of the National League

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Batting

TM G AB R H RBI AVG 2B 3B HR SB CS TB OBP SLG OPSLG GIDP SF SH
ARI 2280 5409 720 1355 683 .191 318 47 159 58 23 2244 .325 .306 .664 105 43 68
ATL 2407 5604 753 1514 721 .186 316 33 130 58 27 2286 .324 .271 .649 143 34 69
CHN 2345 5588 855 1552 811 .184 329 21 184 87 34 2475 .337 .278 .715 134 45 65
CIN 2392 5475 704 1351 677 .172 269 24 187 85 47 2229 .297 .259 .618 101 41 72
COL 2310 5557 747 1462 714 .156 310 28 160 141 37 2308 .296 .231 .620 119 38 90
FLO 2361 5499 770 1397 741 .155 302 28 208 76 28 2379 .329 .236 .632 98 46 49
HOU 2312 5451 712 1432 684 .176 284 22 167 114 52 2261 .293 .256 .609 116 41 57
LAN 2376 5506 700 1455 659 .185 271 29 137 126 43 2195 .315 .263 .617 153 38 64
MIL 2227 5535 750 1398 722 .224 324 35 198 108 38 2386 .344 .334 .732 97 43 54
NYN 2405 5606 799 1491 751 .191 274 38 172 138 36 2357 .359 .261 .674 129 49 73
PHI 2396 5509 799 1407 762 .198 291 36 214 136 25 2412 .322 .354 .738 108 40 71
PIT 2340 5628 735 1454 705 .200 314 21 153 57 19 2269 .306 .290 .648 111 51 66
SDN 2343 5568 637 1390 615 .187 264 27 154 36 17 2170 .326 .261 .644 129 46 59
SFN 2382 5543 640 1452 606 .184 311 37 94 108 46 2119 .337 .263 .639 139 44 57
SLN 2396 5636 779 1585 744 .196 283 26 174 73 32 2442 .419 .315 .808 150 44 71
WAS 2397 5491 641 1376 608 .190 269 26 117 81 43 2048 .355 .261 .670 153 36 64

Pitching

Team G W L IP SO BB BF H HR ERA ER R GC SH SV WP BK
ARI 606 82 80 1435 1229 451 6119 1403 147 81.840 636 706 6 2 39 59 3
ATL 707 72 90 1441 1076 586 6244 1439 156 166.740 715 778 2 1 26 42 5
CHN 639 97 64 1453 1264 548 6194 1329 160 107.580 624 671 2 1 44 48 7
CIN 669 74 88 1440 1227 557 6352 1542 201 127.430 729 800 2 1 34 52 7
COL 647 74 88 1446 1041 562 6338 1547 148 146.670 766 822 3 1 36 61 7
FLO 672 84 77 1435 1127 586 6271 1421 161 120.450 708 767 2 1 36 59 4
HOU 649 86 75 1426 1095 492 6125 1453 197 95.780 695 743 4 3 48 22 9
LAN 623 84 78 1448 1205 480 6127 1381 123 90.00.00 592 648 5 4 35 47 4
MIL 607 90 72 1453 1110 528 6209 1415 175 88.970 626 689 12 6 45 53 5
NYN 719 89 73 1463 1181 590 6338 1415 163 123.400 663 715 5 2 43 55 4
PHI 630 92 70 1450 1081 533 6229 1444 160 68.790 627 680 4 3 47 34 3
PIT 659 67 95 1454 963 657 6528 1631 176 153.540 824 884 3 2 34 64 9
SDN 653 63 99 1457 1100 561 6286 1466 165 172.900 714 764 3 0 30 43 4
SFN 640 72 90 1442 1240 652 6341 1416 147 91.790 701 759 4 2 41 77 7
SLN 668 86 76 1457 957 496 6264 1517 163 107.280 679 725 2 1 42 50 2
WAS 678 59 102 1434 1063 588 6310 1496 190 130.860 743 825 2 0 28 59 8

Fielding

Team ID G TC PO A E Fld% InOuts SB CS CS% PB
ARI 2626 7001 5281 1587 133 .962 17217 87 31 0 7
ATL 2718 7209 5272 1820 117 .975 17289 113 35 0 14
CHN 2759 6963 5377 1466 120 .967 17414 87 36 0 8
CIN 2785 7047 5312 1594 141 .970 17413 95 40 0 17
COL 2681 7236 5272 1843 121 .973 17350 86 30 1.00 10
FLO 2794 7033 5376 1529 128 .955 17223 110 32 0 10
HOU 2688 7045 5340 1631 74 .960 17104 47 21 0 8
LAN 2760 7224 5283 1829 112 .975 17370 82 26 0 9
MIL 2527 7221 5392 1720 109 .977 17463 71 45 0 5
NYN 2784 7206 5527 1582 96 .971 17608 66 28 0 7
PHI 2810 7154 5315 1734 105 .964 17396 109 34 1.00 5
PIT 2623 7454 5477 1857 120 .974 17457 104 46 1.00 13
SDN 2655 7222 5477 1641 104 .979 17496 168 38 0 11
SFN 2769 7013 5480 1423 110 .976 17301 99 41 0 8
SLN 2899 7376 5423 1848 105 .972 17448 49 26 0 7
WAS 2718 7180 5430 1604 146 .969 17209 118 38 0 12

West

team W L Att Rk SOP
Los Angeles Dodgers 84 78 3730553 1 1205
Arizona Diamondbacks 82 80 2509924 2 1229
Colorado Rockies 74 88 2650218 3 1041
San Francisco Giants 72 90 2863837 4 1240
San Diego Padres 63 99 2427535 5 1100

Central

team W L Att Rk SOP
Chicago Cubs 97 64 3300200 1 1264
Milwaukee Brewers 90 72 3068458 2 1110
St. Louis Cardinals 86 76 3432917 4 957
Houston Astros 86 75 2779487 3 1095
Cincinnati Reds 74 88 2058632 5 1227
Pittsburg Pirates 67 95 1609076 6 963

East

team W L Att Rk SOP
Philadelphia Philies 92 70 3422583 1 1081
New York Mets 89 73 4042045 2 1181
Florida Marlins 84 77 1335076 3 1127
Atlanta Braves 72 90 2532834 4 1076
Washington Nationals 59 102 2320400 5 1063

Awards

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Tagged:
2008 NLCS, 2008 NLDS1, 2008 NLDS2, 2008 World Series, Adrian Gonzalez, Albert Pujols, Alfonso Soriano, Andre Ethier, Aramis Ramirez, Brad Lidge, Brandon Webb, C.C. Sabathia, Carlos Delgado, Carlos Zambrano, Chad Billingsley, Chase Utley, Chipper Jones, Cole Hamels, David Wright, Derek Lowe, Derrek Lee, Geovany Soto, Hanley Ramirez, James Loney, Jamie Moyer, Jason Marquis, Jimmy Rollins, Johan Santana, Ken Griffey, Jr., Kerry Wood, Kosuke Fukudome, Lance Berkman, Manny Ramirez, Mark DeRosa, Matt Kemp, Mike Piazza, Omar Vizquel, Philadelphia Phillies, Russell Martin, Ryan Braun, Ryan Dempster, Ryan Howard, Ryan Theriot, Shane Victorino, Ted Lilly, Tim Lincecum

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