NL capsules to chew on

Mar 20, 2007 6:32 AM

NY METS

’06: 97-65, 1-East

Mascot: Mets

’07 NL odds: 5/2

FYI: The Mets own the left side of the infield with Wright and Reyes. Pedro and Glavine are key to a staff that can collapse. Still have that great batting order.

PHILADELPHIA

’06: 85-77, 2-East

Mascot: Phillies

’07 NL odds: 5/1

FYI: The Phils are the uncrowned East champs. Utley and Howard make up the best right side of the infield in the bigs. Strong pitching arms all through the rotation.

ATLANTA

’06: 79-83, 3-East

Mascot: Braves

’07 NL odds: 15/1

FYI: Guess what. The Braves may be ready again to dominate the NL East, even with all the money the Mets have spent. John Smoltz is talking big and he can back it up.

FLORIDA

’06: 78-84, 4-East

Mascot: Marlins

’07 NL odds: 12/1

FYI: Best fantasy league player you can’t name off the top of your head? Marlins 3B Miguel Cabrera. He’s the new Vlad Guerrero and coveted by everyone.

WASHINGTON

’06: 71-91, 5-East

Mascot: Nationals

’07 NL odds: 100/1

FYI: The Nationals could win or lose the season right away. They open with seven straight home games — three with Florida and four against Arizona. How’s 7-0!

ST. LOUIS

’06: 83-78, 1-Cent

Mascot: Cardinals

’07 NL odds: 7/1

FYI: The spring buzz in camp is that Jason Isringhausen appears ready to re-assume his role as closer. Lefty starter Mark Mulder is not expected back until July.

HOUSTON

’06: 82-80, 2-Cent

Mascot: Astros

’07 NL odds: 10/1

FYI: Andy Pettitte is pitching well for the Yankees. Not a good sign for the Astros, which also may lose Roger Clemens to another stint in NY pinstripes come June.

CINCINNATI

’06: 80-82, 3-Cent

Mascot: Reds

’07 NL odds: 15/1

FYI: If Pete Rose would shut up about his ancient history, the Reds can close that page and focus on the present. It would also help if Griffey has some homers left.

MILWAUKEE

’06: 75-87, 4-East

Mascot: Brewers

’07 NL odds: 18/1

FYI: The Brewers are so loaded in young talent that Bill Hall may move from SS to CF to keep his big bat in the lineup. A bonafide pennant contender.

PITTSBURGH

’06, 67-95 5-Cent

Mascot: Pirates

’07 NL odds: 50/1

FYI: The Pirates have to make sure Jason Bay doesn’t become the latest young talent to get away. Remember Aramis Ramirez, now a staple at 3B for the Cubs!

CHICAGO

’06: 66-96, 6-Cent

Mascot: Cubs

’07 NL odds: 2/1

FYI: The Cubs are trying to place Alfonzo Soriano in CF, but he doesn’t seem to fit in just yet. Just like his early problems at Texas. But, they will take his bat!

LOS ANGELES

’06: 88-74 T1-West

Mascot: Dodgers

’07 odds: 9/2

FYI: RHP Brett Tomko is off to a fine start in spring training. The veteran can be used either as a starter and reliever. Anything LA gets from Tomko will be a plus.

SAN DIEGO

’06: 88-74, T-1 West

Mascot: Padres

’07 NL odds: 8/1

FYI: The Padres need a return to form of Jake Peavy or they could go from first to last in the West, where every team has reason to believe they can win the division.

SAN FRANCISCO

’06: 76-85, 3-West

Mascot: Giants

’07 NL odds: 7/1

FYI: Barry Bonds is hitting spring homers and Bruce Bochy looks happy leaving San Diego for a shot up north in Frisco. So far Barry Zito and his millions are healthy.

ARIZONA

’06: 76-86, T-4 West

Mascot: D’backs

’07 NL odds: 20/1

FYI: If the desert heat restores some of the speed on Randy Johnson’s fastball, the D’backs could have pulled off the trade of the off-season. If!

COLORADO

’06: 76-86, T-4 West

Mascot: Rockies

’07 NL odds: 35/1

FYI: It’s time for Jeff Francis to stand up and become the ace pitcher the Rockies believe they have. We will also be watching that humidor at Coors for run count.