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Around the NL East: Atlanta surging

Aug 6, 2013, 4:55 PM EDT

Photo by USA Today
By Steve Roney
CSNwashington.com
The Braves have led the division throughout the season, and have enjoyed the biggest division lead in the majors for most of that time — and now, that lead is twice as large as it has ever been. Only the Nationals, at 54-58, have even the faintest hope of challenging for a playoff spot behind Atlanta.

Atlanta Braves (68-45)
The Braves are blowing everyone out of the water right now, riding the majors' longest current winning streak (11 games) to a silly 13.5-game lead over the second-place Nationals. It's their longest streak of the season, improving their record to baseball's second-best — just percentage points behind the Pittsburgh Pirates. If the season were a baseball game, Luis Avilan and Craig Kimbrel would be warming in the pen, preparing to slam the door on the rest of the division.
The trends in the lineup remain the same, as Brian McCann, Freddie Freeman, and Chris Johnson continue to bring the wood; early-season feel-good story Evan Gattis has slipped more than a bit, as his 15 home runs are nice, but his on-base percentage has fallen to .299. The loss of Tim Hudson for the remainder of the season hurts a ton, but is not the devastating blow that it would be to most teams, as it almost perfectly coincided with Brandon Beachy's return. Though Beachy has been shaky in his first two post-Tommy John starts, his strikeout rates are right where they need to be, and he should be fine. Atlanta's other alliterative starter, Mike Minor, continues to dazzle, and has been far and away the team's best starter this season.
Player of the Week: McCann, C: 3 R, 3 HR, 9 RBI, .250 AVG

Miami Marlins (43-67)
You would be hard-pressed to find a more toothless lineup than the one fielded by Miami right now (though, in fairness, they did explode fairly out of nowhere a few days ago in a 10-0 victory over Cleveland). Not a single position player, regardless of the number of at-bats — whether they have three or 300 — has an average of .300. The ghost of Placido Polanco leads the regulars with a .257 average, and Giancarlo Stanton — with just 68 games under his belt — leads the team with 13 home runs. Only Justin Ruggiano (12) joins him in double digits, and he hasn't hit one in just over a month.

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  1. Tcostant - Aug 6, 2013 at 5:17 PM

    Review of the worst division in baseball. Is there another with only one team above .500?

  2. karlkolchak - Aug 6, 2013 at 5:26 PM

    Okay, if you need a factoid to counter all of today's grim stories, how about the fact that at least three and possibly four of the Nats' stateside farm affiliates will being going to the playoffs this year? Potomac and Hagerstown clinched their respective first half crowns, the GCL-Nats are an incredible 33-6, 16 games in front with about a third of their schedule remaining, and Harrisburg is in first place and winning games with great pitching.

  3. UNTERP - Aug 6, 2013 at 5:34 PM

    I hate the Braves and don't like their fans either, but I am happy for them nonetheless, and I'm not being sarcastic. It's a conundrum of sincerity…

  4. The Real Feel Wood. Accept no substitutes. - Aug 6, 2013 at 5:44 PM

    Maybe if the Braves finish in first place they can start dressing the part. They have to be the only team in MLB that doesn't put the players' names directly on the uniform but instead sews another piece of cloth with the name on it onto the jersey above the number. Looks tacky.

  5. Tcostant - Aug 6, 2013 at 6:14 PM

    While it's nice the Nats minor league teams get some playoff money; the fact is minor league record means nothing. It's about development of players.

  6. Tcostant - Aug 6, 2013 at 6:17 PM

    Phil Wood said last night that he though Roark would be moved up to the bigs this month and added that Detwiler can be moved to 60 day DL o create room on the 40 man roster. That guy knows more baseball than anyone not named Boswell.#Nats purchase contract of RHP Tanner Roark from AAA, option LHP Xavier Cedeno to AAA, transfer LHP Ross Detwiler to 60 day DL.

  7. SCNatsFan - Aug 6, 2013 at 6:19 PM

    God I hate the Braves

  8. NatsLady - Aug 6, 2013 at 6:22 PM

    Question: Were the Nats that arrogant last year? "We are goooooooooood." I don't remember, but it seems to me, the Nats were surprised and happy to be 98-game winners and in the playoffs (I know I was, as a fan).

  9. Eugene in Oregon - Aug 6, 2013 at 6:39 PM

    UNTERP – From last thread: Sorry I missed the sarcasm (and the little smiley thingy). In any event, I still recommend the series of Joe Nocera articles to anyone who wants to read about the behemoth that the NCAA, bigtime college football, and bigtime college basketball have become. As an example, the U. of Oregon (read Phil Knight's money) has just opened a new $65 million football 'complex' that — I kid you not — includes gadgets specically designed by German engineers that help players put on their shoulder pads, separate meeting rooms for inside and outside linebackers (can't have them sharing!), imported marble, and such. Gotta have it to compete, they say. But I'm getting off-topic. Anyway, let's hope the Nats can take the next two from the Braves. Maybe by scoring a few runs?

  10. baseballswami - Aug 6, 2013 at 6:41 PM

    NatsLady– think back to the one game play off vs the cards.. Trash on the fields . That's what you are dealing with. We were almost embarrassed to be in first place without paying enough dues. We were obviously running a tab- the bill has come due and we are paying those dues now. Out of all the fans whose teams are doing well, the Barves fans do seem to be the most mean spirited. Nats, Phils, Mets, Fish- long memories. Kharma.

  11. Sec. 3, My Sofa - Aug 6, 2013 at 6:43 PM

    NL, the word "arrogant" did come up once or twice in connection with the 2012 Nats, as I recall.

  12. Ghost Of Steve M. - Aug 6, 2013 at 6:53 PM

    Tcostant said… Phil Wood said last night that he though Roark would be moved up to the bigs this month and added that Detwiler can be moved to 60 day DL o create room on the 40 man roster. That guy knows more baseball than anyone not named Boswell.#Nats purchase contract of RHP Tanner Roark from AAA, option LHP Xavier Cedeno to AAA, transfer LHP Ross Detwiler to 60 day DL. August 06, 2013 2:17 PM That was a rumor that I'm sure Mark heard but didn't want to repeat on the record as Mark doesn't deal in rumor.Phil Wood was the same guy who said RZim would start the year on the DL and Drew Storen would never be sent down.

  13. Ghost Of Steve M. - Aug 6, 2013 at 7:02 PM

    Since Detwiler hasn't pitched for almost a month his DL can go back mostly retroactive and can come off the DL early September if that is still a possibility.

  14. NatsJack in Florida - Aug 6, 2013 at 7:08 PM

    Ghost. Don't forget the "Micah Owings goes North with the big club" by Phil, too m

  15. The Real Feel Wood. Accept no substitutes. - Aug 6, 2013 at 7:10 PM

    60-day DL means Detwiler is done for the season. To bring him back, they would have to move someone off the 40-man roster to make room. That's why they put him on the 60-day DL in the first place, to make room for Roark.

  16. baseballswami - Aug 6, 2013 at 7:11 PM

    I think they said Det 's DL is retroactive to a july 4. Disc issues are no joke.

  17. The Real Feel Wood. Accept no substitutes. - Aug 6, 2013 at 7:12 PM

    You guys can bash Phil Wood all you want, but the fact is that people pay attention to what he says. No one pays attention to you guys, not even the writer whose blog you're poaching on.

  18. baseballswami - Aug 6, 2013 at 7:38 PM

    Have been reading on twitter- the guys are taking BP and taking turns filming each other with an iPad. At least everyone is still trying. Whatever. You just never know if something you throw out there might stick. Something. Anything.

  19. Tcostant - Aug 6, 2013 at 7:42 PM

    Here here to the real Phil Wood!

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