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Monday, March 12, 2007
Updated: March 26, 12:03 PM ET
Has the NL caught up to the AL?

David Wright and the Mets may compare to the best of the AL.

For years, the American League has run roughshod over its National counterpart.

Last year looked to be no exception. The AL went 154-98 against the NL, a .611 winning percentage (by comparison, the Mets and Yankees, who shared the best records in baseball, had a .598 winning percentage). The AL also extended its All-Star Game winning streak to four games, beating the best the National League had to offer 3-2.

Therefore, when the St. Louis Cardinals took apart the Detroit Tigers 4-1 in the World Series, baseball fans could be forgiven for being at least a bit surprised.

Now, one Series win clearly doesn't make up for years of domination by the DH league. Things are looking up for the NL, however, with several teams looking to improve and others just hitting their stride. It's a tall order, but is this the year the National League strikes back?

What They're Saying
Rob Neyer: "Perhaps I'm too excited about these Brewers. None has played like a star, and each comes with a question mark or two. But at some point in 2007 this quartet [Prince Fielder, Rickie Weeks, J.J. Hardy, Ryan Braun] is going to take the field together. And that will be something to see."
Feb. 8, 2007
Keep an eye on the Brewers

Buster Olney: "American League teams have been significantly outspent by their NL counterparts this offseason. If you take into account all contract agreements of $3 million or more concluded this offseason -- call them big-money deals, for the sake of argument -- the AL has been outspent by 58 percent: National League teams have doled out a total of $971,000,000 with 47 big-money contracts, while the AL teams have spent $613,095,000 on 38 deals."
Feb. 9, 2007
NL outspends AL in a big way

Peter Gammons: "The Diamondbacks and Dodgers have two of the deepest young positional talent pools in the majors. The Rockies are very close, and with shortstop Troy Tulowitzki and catcher Chris Ianetta stepping in this year, and considerable pitching on the horizon, they could well cross the .500 plateau this season. The Giants have a future No. 1 starter in Cain, no matter where the Barry Bonds story line takes them, and the Padres have a base of quality starting pitching and a deep bullpen for new manager Bud Black."
Jan. 15, 2007
NL West on the rise

The Rundown: National Hurdles

Ryan Howard is one of the National League's brightest stars.
Selected Records in Interleague Play, 2006
American League

Boston Red Sox
Regular Season: 86-76
Interleague: 16-2

Minnesota Twins
Regular Season: 96-66
Interleague: 16-2

Detroit Tigers
Regular Season: 95-67
Interleague: 15-3

Chicago White Sox
Regular Season: 90-72
Interleague: 14-4

Seattle Mariners
Regular Season: 78-84
Interleague: 14-4

Tampa Bay Devil Rays
Regular Season: 61-101
Interleague: 11-7

Kansas City Royals
Regular Season: 62-100
Interleague: 10-8

National League

San Diego Padres
Regular Season: 88-74
Interleague: 7-8

Houston Astros
Regular Season: 82-80
Interleague: 7-11

New York Mets
Regular Season: 97-65
Interleague: 6-9

LA Dodgers
Regular Season: 88-74
Interleague: 5-10

Philadelphia Phillies
Regular Season: 85-77
Interleague: 5-13

Arizona Diamondbacks
Regular Season: 76-86
Interleague: 4-11

Pittsburgh Pirates
Regular Season: 67-95
Interleague: 3-12