Hot & Not - NL Edition

Hot & Not - NL Edition

Hot & Not - NL Edition
By Mike Rose
VegasInsider.com

We're now post All-Star break, and that means we have a second to stop and analyze what's gone on throughout the first half of the season. Join us today as we look at the hottest and coldest teams in the National League for when they return from their four-day hiatus.

Money-Makers

Los Angeles Dodgers (17-5, +$1,073 in L/22) –
The Dodgers probably didn't want the first half of the season to end. This is the only team in the world that could go in a span of three months from wanting to fire its manager to winning the World Series. LA is the team to watch out for in the second half.

On Deck: The Dodgers have a tough schedule out of the break. The easiest series they've got amongst their first four is a three-game road set against the Blue Jays. Also littered in there are series against the Nationals, Reds, and Yanks.

Philadelphia Phillies (8-3, +$547 in L/11) – General Manager Ruben Amaro Jr. probably would have rather seen his team tank it at the end of the first half of the season to make his decision to be a seller at the deadline an easy one. As it is, the team is right at .500 and could still feasibly make a run. It will be interesting to see what Amaro chooses to do with a lot of tradable commodities and a relatively thin farm system with little to work with.

On Deck: There's no doubt that this nine-game roadie out of the break will determine whether Philly is buying or selling. The teams on tap include the Mets, Cardinals, and Tigers, and the way that things are going, these games scream either 4-5 or 5-4.

St. Louis Cardinals (7-2, +$466 in L/9) – St. Louis managed to eke back into first place in the NL Central at the end of the first-half of the year, and manager Mike Matheny has to be happy about the fact that the Redbirds won seven of their last nine games to carry some momentum into the second half.

On Deck: The opportunity is there to open up some more space early in the second-half with San Diego and Philly coming to town, but the Cards have to careful after that. From there, it's off on the road for three with Atlanta, five with Pittsburgh, and three with Cincinnati.

Money-Burners

San Diego Padres (2-14, -$1,283 in L/16) –
The Padres were still in the thick of the fight in the NL West before they closed out the first half of the season by losing 14 of 16 games. Now, there's no doubt that this club will be selling at the trade deadline, and there is no doubt that there are some young assets out there to be had.

On Deck: Starting with 10 games in 10 days on the road isn't going to help matters out for San Diego any, and if there was any doubt that it was going to finish last in the National League West, that doubt will probably be removed by the next time Petco Park opens on July 2h.

Washington Nationals (2-5, -$399 in L/7) – Washington is another one of these frustrating teams. Things looked to be going well, as it was 46-42 and looked to be set to make a charge in the NL East. Then came series against the Phils and the Marlins, and it was completely inexcusable to lose five of those seven.

On Deck: Opportunity though, is still knocking for the Nationals. Their first 11 games out of the break are at home against the Dodgers, Pirates, and Mets, and after a short five-game road trip, it's back home for another nine. Don't be shocked if Washington is in first place in the NL East by the time the team goes to Atlanta on August 16th.

Milwaukee Brewers (1-4, -$268 in L/5) – There aren't many other teams in the NL that are on wicked slides going into the second half, and Milwaukee isn't in that bad of shape relatively speaking. However, if you want to talk about the ultimate slide, just mention a team that has lost almost 20 units for bettors in the first half of the year.

On Deck:
If there are games to be won, the Brewers are upon them in the second-half of the year. They have three with Miami and four with San Diego at home, and they don't play a series against a team that is more than two games above .500 since August 13th.

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