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MLB Power Rankings: Braves, Tigers on fire

Aug 8, 2013, 4:45 PM EDT

Photo by USA Today
By Steve Roney
CSNwashington.com

The Braves and Tigers are each riding winning streaks of epic proportions, and are benefitting in different ways. The Braves have used their 13-game streak to put serious distance between themselves and the remainder of the NL East field, putting the division crown all but out of reach for the second-place Nationals. The Tigers, meanwhile, have used their 11-game streak to stave off the also-surging Indians and Royals.
Here's how Nationals Insider Mark Zuckerman, Nats writer Chase Hughes, and I see the rest of the league shaking out:

1. Atlanta Braves (70-45; LW: 7) – Hughes: They've won 13 straight games and show no signs of slowing down, but are they peaking too early?

2. Boston Red Sox (70-46; LW: 3) – Hughes: Jake Peavy fared well in his first start with the 'other' Sox and could solidify their rotation for the stretch run.

3. Pittsburgh Pirates (69-44; LW: 1) – Zuckerman: It's no longer a question if they'll snap the 20-year losing streak, only if they'll also snap their postseason drought. Looking good for that, too.

4. Detroit Tigers (67-45; LW: 5) – Zuckerman: Just when it looked like they might be in danger, Tigers take down Indians and roll off 11 straight wins.

5. St. Louis Cardinals (66-47; LW: 6) – Zuckerman: They're really feeling the loss of Molina, not just at the plate but behind it as well.

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  1. Dave - Aug 8, 2013 at 5:03 PM

    I just saw the 50 Biggest Blunders show on the MLB Network. Nyjer's temper-tantrum inside-the-park homer was right there in the middle.It was a good reminder to me that lots of baseball fans have been much more disappointed than I am this week.I would, however, like to see some decent baseball played against the Phillies this weekend. Dropping to third place because the Phils beat us would be a tough pill to swallow.

  2. Candide - Aug 8, 2013 at 5:17 PM

    Here's hoping the Astros fire Bo Porter during the off-season. You know why.

  3. Dave - Aug 8, 2013 at 5:18 PM

    Candide, that's definitely a comment that makes me go "hmmmmm…"

  4. Section 222 - Aug 8, 2013 at 5:25 PM

    Unfortunately I'm sure the Astros know they have a good one, and they as much as said when they hired him that the expected to be rebuilding for several years. I'm afraid we're going to have to accept that Bo's not coming back.

  5. NatsJack in Florida - Aug 8, 2013 at 5:25 PM

    CBS Sports is reporting that Matt Williams of the D-Backs is a solid consideration for the Nats.

  6. Tcostant - Aug 8, 2013 at 5:28 PM

    Dave that is the only time I've ever booed a National while in the ballpark.

  7. Dave - Aug 8, 2013 at 5:29 PM

    I was out of town, and thus not at that game, or I may well have booed too.

  8. SonnyG10 - Aug 8, 2013 at 5:41 PM

    "Braves and Tigers on fire". And we helped fuel the flames.

  9. The Real Feel Wood. Accept no substitutes. - Aug 8, 2013 at 5:54 PM

    Looks like Jon Heymann and CBS Sports place greater credence on what they hear from Phil Wood than the likes of Del Boca NatsJack and Section222 do. Phil reported the Matt Williams rumor on his postgame show last night. He also added the detail that Matt Williams is a minority owner of the DBacks, which could complicate the deal.

  10. Sec. 3, My Sofa - Aug 8, 2013 at 5:56 PM

    From Mark, in-game: Here's a valid question for Davey Johnson postgame: Why, in a tie game in the eighth, was a fresh Tyler Clippard not considered out of the bullpen? I'm not sure what the rationale there would be.I have a theory.It's safe to say there is a "faction" (Mark's word) in the clubhouse that wanted to retaliate for Bryce. Davey would probably know who's in that group. I wonder if Davey kept Clippard out of the eighth inning, with Heyward and Upton coming up, because he pretty much knew Clip would drill somebody? Two, if he got the chance."THAT's for Bryce. And THAT's for DREW!"

  11. Section 222 - Aug 8, 2013 at 5:57 PM

    I sure hope Heymann and CBS Sports have a source other than Feel's brother. Maybe they'll pick up his rant for the umpteenth time about how closers should pitch more than an inning and are paid too much.

  12. Sec. 3, My Sofa - Aug 8, 2013 at 5:59 PM

    And as long as I've got you here, Woody, could you explain that "heritage" comment? Seriously, what was that supposed to refer to?

  13. Steven Berke - Aug 8, 2013 at 6:11 PM

    Williams sounds like the type manager we might want–young and presumably energetic. But he'd be the first (and only) Nats manager other than Acta to come to the job without prior managing experience. What if Scoscia or Girardi are available?

  14. Candide - Aug 8, 2013 at 6:11 PM

    (From last post…):NatsFan1a said…BDYPOOTVDo what, now?Nearest I can decipher it would be something like, "But Did You (something something) On TV?"

  15. Candide - Aug 8, 2013 at 6:13 PM

    Sec. 3, My Sofa said… "THAT's for Bryce. And THAT's for DREW!"Hey, the season's lost already. And with the team not performing, might as well do SOMETHING to get the fans going.

  16. JD - Aug 8, 2013 at 6:16 PM

    Steven Berke, We don't necessarily need a retread in the manager's job. Matheny is doing just fine in St.Louis. The trick is to find a good young, smart and energetic candidate who presents a solid plan in his interview including his pitching and offense philosophy and who he views as potential coaching staff candidates.

  17. natsfan1a - Aug 8, 2013 at 6:20 PM

    Yes, and insert "play one." That was in response to sec3's IANAD, which I took to mean "I am not a doctor," given the context. :-)Candide said… (From last post…): NatsFan1a said… BDYPOOTV Do what, now? Nearest I can decipher it would be something like, "But Did You (something something) On TV?" August 08, 2013 2:11 PM

  18. Candide - Aug 8, 2013 at 6:22 PM

    OIC

  19. UnkyD - Aug 8, 2013 at 6:29 PM

    Doc and B-Mitch POUNDING on Ladson, over excuses….

  20. Sec. 3, My Sofa - Aug 8, 2013 at 6:35 PM

    Doc and B-Mitch POUNDING on Ladson, over excuses….OK, I might be better off with acronyms, or at least alphabetics. I know who Ladson is. After that, it's all cabbage crates over the briney.

  21. Sec. 3, My Sofa - Aug 8, 2013 at 6:36 PM

    Which is just my way of saying "Huh?"

  22. The Real Feel Wood. Accept no substitutes. - Aug 8, 2013 at 6:36 PM

    From Mark, in-game: Here's a valid question for Davey Johnson postgame: Why, in a tie game in the eighth, was a fresh Tyler Clippard not considered out of the bullpen? I'm not sure what the rationale there would be.Well, Mark, perhaps a better question would be why was Tyler Clippard not used at that point in the game? Because you know he was considered, seeing as how he was warming up in the bullpen. But here are some of the other considerations that surely played into Davey's choice:(a) It was a tie game in the 8th, making extras a distinct possibility.(b) Davey had already used three guys out of his seven man bullpen.(c) The most recent pitcher he used, Mattheus, had thrown only two pitches.(d) Barring a double switch, the pitcher's spot was due up second in the bottom of the 8th.Given all that, leaving Mattheus in to start the 8th made perfect sense. Indeed, Mattheus proceeded to get the first two outs before putting two guys on. At that point, then, it made perfect sense to use the lefty Krol to face the lefty Heyward. Isn't this exactly the situation that caused everyone to question the pre-season choice to have Duke as the only lefty in the pen?If Krol had done his job and got Heyward out, no one would have been questioning the non-use of Clippard, because Clippard clearly would have pitched the top of the ninth if the game was still tied at that point.And why not bring in Clippard to face Upton after Heyward singled? Well, first they would have had to stall a bit to get Clippard back up in the pen, and second right after Upton was Freeman, another left handed batter.Just because Davey couldn't or didn't want to explain his logic in the postgame doesn't mean there wasn't logic behind his choices.

  23. JD - Aug 8, 2013 at 6:37 PM

    NL, I think that punting the rest of the season is a serious blunder for a couple of reasons: 1) It will start eroding the fan base which just this year started following the team. 2) It will affect off season moves because Rizzo needs to figure out if he has a solid team here as he thought or if major basic changes are required to the core. I agree with you that firing Davie is out of the question (Sorry JayB) but I think that if Rizzo approached Davie gently he would be receptive to a mutual separation which still respects his accomplishments and does not embarrass him unnecessarily. The added benefit in such an arrangement is that we get a glimpse of Randy Knorr's in game management capabilities. I am not in favor of a player/manager arrangement.

  24. Sec. 3, My Sofa - Aug 8, 2013 at 6:39 PM

    Candide said… Sec. 3, My Sofa said… "THAT's for Bryce. And THAT's for DREW!" Hey, the season's lost already. And with the team not performing, might as well do SOMETHING to get the fans going.I got yer "pitch to contact," right here.

  25. The Real Feel Wood. Accept no substitutes. - Aug 8, 2013 at 6:45 PM

    Sec. 3, My Sofa said… And as long as I've got you here, Woody, could you explain that "heritage" comment? Seriously, what was that supposed to refer to?My bad. I simply assumed that anyone singing barbershop under a fake Irish name had to be from the Judeo-Christian tradition and would understand the concept of an eye for an eye. They really need to work on that big screen at Nationals Park, because Section222 sure doesn't look Hindu when they project him up there.

  26. Sec. 3, My Sofa - Aug 8, 2013 at 6:45 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  27. natsfan1a - Aug 8, 2013 at 6:46 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  28. The Real Feel Wood. Accept no substitutes. - Aug 8, 2013 at 6:47 PM

    "The added benefit in such an arrangement is that we get a glimpse of Randy Knorr's in game management capabilities."I would venture to say that in-game management capability is one of the last things that Rizzo will be looking for in the new manager.

  29. natsfan1a - Aug 8, 2013 at 6:47 PM

    Yeah, and plunk this, bub. (Postus interruptus fix.)sec3 said…I got yer "pitch to contact," right here.

  30. Sec. 3, My Sofa - Aug 8, 2013 at 6:48 PM

    Wow.

  31. Section 222 - Aug 8, 2013 at 6:57 PM

    My reaction exactly Sofa.

  32. TexNat - Aug 8, 2013 at 7:01 PM

    The more important question than who is going to be managing the Nats next season is what are they going to do to improve the lineup?

  33. Faraz Shaikh - Aug 8, 2013 at 7:14 PM

    I hope our next hitting coach is that marlins hitting coach who got fired earlier. I heard he hits very well.

  34. Dave - Aug 8, 2013 at 7:27 PM

    I went away to do something for a couple hours and it got all weird in here.

  35. natsfan1a - Aug 8, 2013 at 7:58 PM

    Y'all have dirty minds. :-)

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