May 14, 2013, 5:17 PM EDT
|Photo by USA Today|
By Steve Roney
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
NL EAST STANDINGS
THU: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
FRI: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SUN: Phillies at Nats, 1:35 p.m.
MON: Orioles at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
TUE: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
WED: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
Full season schedule
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.
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