Skip to content

Around the NL East: Atlanta’s lead slips

May 14, 2013, 5:17 PM EST

Photo by USA Today

By Steve Roney
CSNwashington.com

Taking stock of the National League East, noting that while the Braves' lead has fallen to just one game, no one other than the Nationals appear primed to challenge for a playoff spot in what was once the N.L.'s strongest division.

Atlanta Braves (22-16)
Brian McCann wants you to know that he's back, and that any talk of Evan Gattis taking away at-bats at catcher should be tabled for the foreseeable future. While Gattis has been a nice surprise, ranking second on the team with seven home runs and 20 runs batted in, McCann has accounted for half of that production in just his first six games back from the disabled list. With the long-time All-Star back behind the dish and three of the Braves' four most effective hitters (first baseman Freddie Freeman and the third base platoon of Chris Johnson and Juan Francisco) occupying corner infield spots, Gattis might be the odd man out until someone cools off.

Elsewhere around the diamond, B.J. Upton left last night's game against Arizona with a bruised left shoulder — perhaps a stint on the DL would do both he and the team some good. At this point, even replacement-level production from his spot in the lineup would be an upgrade. Wonder if there's any chance Gattis can man one of the outfield corners? And a growing concern worth watching: Closer Craig Kimbrel has already blown three saves.

Player of the Week: McCann, C: 4 R, 3 HR, 10 RBI, .412 AVG

Read more ยป

  1. baseballswami - May 14, 2013 at 5:37 PM

    I love it when there is a new lunchtime post. West coast baseball just interferes with my routines. But thanks to my DVR , I will be watching last nights game tonight. At least it won't be stressful. Interesting division we find ourselves in, no?

  2. ehay2k - May 14, 2013 at 5:41 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. ehay2k - May 14, 2013 at 5:42 PM

    "Player of the weak" for the Marlins. Not sure if it's intentional, but it sure is funny

  4. UnkyD - May 14, 2013 at 5:43 PM

    Should read "Around The REST of the NL East, since there's no evaluation of the Nats…?

  5. SCNatsFan - May 14, 2013 at 5:47 PM

    To be fair UnkyD there was a whole post on the state of the Nats yesterday

  6. Dave - May 14, 2013 at 6:07 PM

    Second time the Marlins are featured with a "Player of the Weak." So I don't think it's a typo.

  7. NatsLady - May 14, 2013 at 6:10 PM

    Discussion of pitchers win-loss records as a measure of performance.Losing Records – Opening Day Startershttp://ladyandthenats.blogspot.com/2013/05/losing-records-opening-day-starters.html

  8. Eric - May 14, 2013 at 6:42 PM

    From the blogroll:Lady and the NatsTable of unearned runs.3 minutes agoNice!

  9. NatsLady - May 14, 2013 at 6:47 PM

    Yeah, that wasn't what I wanted, though, Eric. Wanted it to go to the real post. Oh, Well.

  10. Eric - May 14, 2013 at 6:54 PM

    Oh…wow, that's bizarre.

  11. UnkyD - May 14, 2013 at 7:19 PM

    Fair point, SCNats…. I still would like to have a similar, concise assessment up next to these…. I'm not grumpy, though… :)

  12. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 14, 2013 at 7:24 PM

    MLB Network just did a look ahead at the Nats game and used Espinosa up on the screen with some horrific stats. They said he is 2 for his last 21 batting .095 with a lot of strikeouts.I'm sure they will do that again in the next 1/2 hour if you are by a TV.

  13. Eric - May 14, 2013 at 7:27 PM

    Honestly, I'll take that over "the team that everyone expects to win the World Series"The more downplayed we become, the better, imo, especially if the backdrop is us 1 back from first.

  14. 3on2out - May 14, 2013 at 7:42 PM

    Eric:Got to say, love your logo. A Grateful Dead tribute?

  15. David Proctor - May 14, 2013 at 7:45 PM

    I'm expecting us to lose this game. While Haren has been much improved, the Dodgers have very good numbers against him and are a better team than their record. Plus, Kershaw is pitching. If Haren gives up 2 runs, it may be too many.

  16. David Proctor - May 14, 2013 at 7:54 PM

    Interesting looking at the team WAR numbers. As I've said before, WAR is kind of useless before the end of the season because it can fluctuate wildly, but it's still interesting to look. The top 3 are Bryce (1.7), Desmond (1.4) and Span (0.9). After that, it plunges to 0.2, which is owned by Suzuki, Gio and Ramos. Everyone else is 0.0 or negative. Tyler Moore has the worst WAR at -0.9.

  17. Eric - May 14, 2013 at 7:55 PM

    >Got to say, love your logo. A Grateful Dead tribute?Thanks 3on2out, yes it is!

  18. David Proctor - May 14, 2013 at 8:00 PM

    Looking at wRC+ is interesting too. wRC is weighted runs created +. The league average is 100. Everything over 100 means that player created that many points more than a league average player. So for instance, Bryce leads the team with a wRC of 174. He's creating 74% more runs than an average player. We have 4 players with wRC's above 100: Bryce (176), Desmond (130), Gio (109…this is an OFFENSIVE STAT too), and Ryan Zimmerman (104). Werth and Span are very close in the high 90s. Tyler Moore's wRC = 23. That means he is creating 77% LESS runs than a league average player.

  19. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 14, 2013 at 8:01 PM

    David, you have to add pitcher's WAR to it as I know JZim is higher in WAR than Gio.

  20. David Proctor - May 14, 2013 at 8:08 PM

    Whoops! I was set to batting only. So for our pitchers then: JZim has 1.7WAR, Strasburg has 0.8WAR, Detwiler has 0.7WAR, Gio has 0.5WAR, Haren has 0.0 WAR.

  21. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 14, 2013 at 8:08 PM

    David, do you think Davey knows that wRC stat for Gio? Maybe he wouldn't have pinch-hit for him with a batter who doesn't have any XBH and only has 1 pinch-hit. ;)

  22. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 14, 2013 at 8:11 PM

    David Proctor said… Whoops! I was set to batting only. So for our pitchers then: JZim has 1.7WAR, Strasburg has 0.8WAR, Detwiler has 0.7WAR, Gio has 0.5WAR, Haren has 0.0 WAR.Thanks for that. JZim and Bryce are both at 1.7

  23. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 14, 2013 at 8:13 PM

    Observations from last night, I think the Nats can put a shift on like many teams have tried on Adrian Gonzalez. His hits are going in that 3.5 hole between Espi and ALR.

  24. David Proctor - May 14, 2013 at 8:14 PM

    Espinosa's WAR is -.1 and that's despite some very good fielding numbers. If he can hit .240 with power, combined with his fielding, he becomes valuable (strikeouts or not). Right now, he's not.Steve M., Tracy has a -.5WAR. Impressive given his little playing time.

  25. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 14, 2013 at 8:15 PM

    Harold Reynolds on MLB Now says Harper has to move to the infield. Yah, right.

  26. David Proctor - May 14, 2013 at 8:16 PM

    MLB Network has been saying that. Larry Bowa was arguing the other night to move him to 3B and Zim to LF.

  27. EmDash - May 14, 2013 at 8:19 PM

    Zimm to left field! Wow, that's…quite something.

  28. A DC Wonk - May 14, 2013 at 8:20 PM

    NatsLady, in her blog post, noted: "Jeff Samardzija (yes, I can spell it, it's all in remembering where the "z" goes)"Nice cute addition — I like that ;-)

  29. David Proctor - May 14, 2013 at 8:20 PM

    I can picture his throws to the cutoff man now…

  30. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 14, 2013 at 8:23 PM

    David Proctor said… Espinosa's WAR is -.1 and that's despite some very good fielding numbers. If he can hit .240 with power, combined with his fielding, he becomes valuable (strikeouts or not). Right now, he's not.Steve M., Tracy has a -.5WAR. Impressive given his little playing time.I would say sorta kinda with Espi as BA isn't the only thing. I think he has to be a .750+ OPS guy at a minimum and any way he can get to that number. Right now he is lost. He lacks a true professional approach stepping into the batter's box. I am absolutely convinced that Anthony Rendon is a 800+ OPS guy who could bat in the #7 and give Desi protection in the lineup as well as bat #2. The Dodgers got smart. DON'T PITCH TO DESI. They walked Desi to give the Nats bases loaded with 1 out last night to pitch to Espinosa.

  31. JD - May 14, 2013 at 8:32 PM

    Ghost, In fairness LaRoche is -0.4 mostly because he plays an 'offensive' position and his hitting has been for the most part offensive.

  32. Section 222 - May 14, 2013 at 8:38 PM

    I am absolutely convinced that Anthony Rendon is a 800+ OPS guyFor a second, I read that as "a 800 OPS+ guy." Now that would be impressive!

  33. Section 222 - May 14, 2013 at 8:41 PM

    Maybe we should just send the whole team down to the minors to learn new positions. Let's give Kobernus, Marrero, and Destin Hood a shot. Can't be any worse than the bums we have in there now with their 21-17 record.

  34. Eric - May 14, 2013 at 8:51 PM

    Speaking of LaRoche, how about that literally face-saving web gem he pulled off last night? WOW!

  35. Joe Seamhead - May 14, 2013 at 8:57 PM

    222 and Eric, you two are just full of sunshine today! And, yes, that was an amazing play by Adam last night.

  36. David Proctor - May 14, 2013 at 9:01 PM

    Interesting looking at Drew's advanced numbers. His ERA is among the highest on the staff (4.40), but his FIP and xFIP are among the best. His BABIP is .370 (league average is around .310). I think we'll see a turnaround from him shortly, he's had very bad luck.Clippard, on the other hand, has worse advanced metrics than his ERA. His ERA is pretty good, but his FIP and xFIP are in the high 4's and 5's.

  37. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 14, 2013 at 9:02 PM

    JD, funny on LaRoche.

  38. Ron In Reston - May 14, 2013 at 9:08 PM

    It was a thing of beauty, Eric. And I am quite certain if Peric's mancrush Tyler Moore had been playing first he would STILL be looking for his teeth

  39. A DC Wonk - May 14, 2013 at 9:34 PM

    Tyler Moore had been playing first he would STILL be looking for his teeth Yowza! A scary thought — that ball was screaming! The above is probably best case scenario!

  40. Joe Seamhead - May 14, 2013 at 9:43 PM

    What to do until after 10:00 p.m. And still be able to stay awake? Man, I hate Left Coast games.

  41. Eric - May 14, 2013 at 9:44 PM

    Yeah…that could've easily resulted in a Happ-like scenario or worse.

  42. Eric - May 14, 2013 at 9:51 PM

    Joe, I can think of a number of things to do until 10 that will keep you awake, a nap being the most wholesome ;)

  43. Section 222 - May 14, 2013 at 9:52 PM

    Joe, a nap?

  44. Section 222 - May 14, 2013 at 9:53 PM

    Dammit. Another drink to the man with the steal your face avatar!

  45. Sec. 3, My Sofa - May 14, 2013 at 9:53 PM

    Tyler Moore had been playing first he would STILL be looking for his teethI think it generally takes a few days for … how to put this … the digestive process to complete.

  46. Joe Seamhead - May 14, 2013 at 9:54 PM

    Joe, wholesome?

  47. Joe Seamhead - May 14, 2013 at 9:57 PM

    Funny, Eric, I'm sitting here listening to the Pizza Tapes.

  48. David Proctor - May 14, 2013 at 10:03 PM

    Harper and Span out. Guessing that Davey wants Eury Perez RHB against Kershaw.

  49. David Proctor - May 14, 2013 at 10:04 PM

    Espinosa batting leadoff again. Sigh.

  50. Sec. 3, My Sofa - May 14, 2013 at 10:05 PM

    Harold Reynolds on MLB Now says Harper has to move to the infield. Larry Bowa was arguing the other night to move him to 3B and Zim to LF.SO, to recap this revised lineup based on suggestions, made there or here:Zimmerman to LEFTDesmond to center (granted it's been about a year and a half since that was suggested here)Moore to RIGHTHarper to THIRDEspinosa to SHORTRendon to SECONDMarerro to FIRSTkeep RamoZuki at CATCHERWerth to the BENCH

  51. David Proctor - May 14, 2013 at 10:07 PM

    Lombardozzi, Perez, Moore outfield. Yikes.

  52. Eric - May 14, 2013 at 10:09 PM

    "Funny, Eric, I'm sitting here listening to the Pizza Tapes."Ha!

  53. Joe Seamhead - May 14, 2013 at 10:09 PM

    No Harp, no Span, no Werth, oh no!

  54. Eric - May 14, 2013 at 10:11 PM

    Suddenly things are looking either very good or very bad for tonight…

  55. David Proctor - May 14, 2013 at 10:13 PM

    I'm usually the last person to be down, but there is no way we win tonight. I'm bracing myself for that. The Dodgers have great numbers against Haren career and Kershaw is on the mound. Zim-ALR-Desi will have to step up to make this game competitive.

  56. Joe Seamhead - May 14, 2013 at 10:13 PM

    Eric, "Guitar Space/Summertime is an all-time favorite Garcia, Rice, Grisman rendition.Sounds like we have a 4A outfield tonight. Well, at least the Dodgers won't have much of a book on them. They'll probably kick butt!

  57. Eric - May 14, 2013 at 10:22 PM

    "all-time favorite [trio] Garcia, Rice, Grisman" works, too. Such a great, laid back album.

  58. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 14, 2013 at 10:23 PM

    I like Eury starting. The Nats need to see what he can do against a tough lefty.

  59. Eric - May 14, 2013 at 10:23 PM

    Well, one of my all time favorite trios anyway. They really had some great synergy.

  60. David Proctor - May 14, 2013 at 10:29 PM

    Part of me wonders if Eury Perez could be in the mix for a bench spot. With how poor the bench is performing, if Perez gets a few knocks against Kershaw and his defense is great…you never know.

  61. Joe Seamhead - May 14, 2013 at 10:32 PM

    I know one thing, David: Perez can play the outfield. I wish him luck. Davey hasn't called me yet, but when he does I'm going to suggest Eury replaces a certain someone on the 25 man roster.

  62. UnkyD - May 14, 2013 at 10:45 PM

    Rather partial to "Old, And In The Way", myself….

  63. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 14, 2013 at 10:51 PM

    David, I'm thinking the same thing with Perez. With as poor as Bryce is batting vs lefties, you never know if he can show he can hit lefties.

  64. Joe Seamhead - May 14, 2013 at 10:58 PM

    Love it, UnkyD!Eric, have you ever tuned in to the Emory Joseph album? It's a tribute to Garcia/Hunter and it's called Fennario.

  65. Eric - May 14, 2013 at 11:14 PM

    I haven't, Joe, I'll have to check it out…

  66. Eric - May 14, 2013 at 11:20 PM

    Oh man, what happened to my Bobby and the Midnites link?!Love me some Old and in the Way.

  67. Eric - May 14, 2013 at 11:22 PM

    Check out this hilarity from GD side project land.

  68. David Proctor - May 14, 2013 at 11:38 PM

    Greinke is starting tomorrow night.

  69. Joe Seamhead - May 14, 2013 at 11:50 PM

    Sorry we got so OT, but Eric, no music, but a good link on the Emory Joseph tribute to Garcia/Hunter :http://irisrecords.com/artists/emory_joseph/

Archives

ON THE RADIO

As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 schedule (subject to change)...

MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.

*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.

Follow us on Twitter