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Around the NL East: A week of chin music

Aug 20, 2013, 2:00 PM EDT

Photo by USA Today
By Steve Roney
CSNwashington.com
Yeah, the Braves have widened their division lead, which at 16 games is more than double the next most-substantial margin: LA's 7.5-game lead over Arizona. That just sets up the rest of the division to play a very underrated late-summer role: that of the spoiler. Washington, New York, and Philadelphia can still make things difficult for more than a few wild card hopefuls.

Atlanta Braves (76-48)
That's enough, guys. Ryan Dempster grouping four fastballs around Alex Rodriguez's trunk is one thing — whether or not you agree with plunking batters to send a message, I think it's close to a consensus that if anyone in the major leagues has it coming, it's A-Rod. Bryce Harper, though? The 20-year-old didn't deserve three in his ribs over the course of three games with the Braves. You're 16 games up, Atlanta, a fact that is tearing Harper and his teammates up — hit him once maybe, but shouldn't that be enough?
Despite their league-best record and the 4-1 week they just completed, the Braves are hurting a tad. Second baseman Dan Uggla landed on the DL in order to have LASIK eye surgery; incredibly, he hopes to be back in the lineup not long after becoming eligible. With a .186 average, anything should help. Brian McCann is also a bit banged up, but if any team can absorb the absence of a catcher it's the Braves, who have Evan Gattis and Gerald Laird in the wings. 
Player of the Week: Justin Upton, OF: 4 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, .333 AVG, .524 OBP

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  1. SonnyG10 - Aug 20, 2013 at 2:28 PM

    Oh, come on Roney. Bryce did not deserve even one HBP.

  2. Steady Eddie - Aug 20, 2013 at 2:51 PM

    Correct, Sonny. According to the Twitter ignoramuses, Bryce "showboated" on his dinger vs Teheran. By running around the bases 4 seconds faster than JUp did for his HR the night before.

  3. TimDz - Aug 20, 2013 at 2:52 PM

    ….Cliff Lee has pitched fairly well, but it's poor Cole Hamels that deserves a measure of sympathy.A measure of sympathy? I don't think they make measuring cups that small….

  4. SonnyG10 - Aug 20, 2013 at 3:01 PM

    hahaha, good one Tim.

  5. baseballswami - Aug 20, 2013 at 3:18 PM

    Dempster got five games for throwing at ARod. Won't miss a start. Decision made quickly. No word on Stras?

  6. Candide - Aug 20, 2013 at 3:56 PM

    Swami – Mark just tweeted: Mark Zuckerman @ZuckermanCSNMLB has determined no suspensions for Stephen Strasburg or Davey Johnson for Saturday's ejections in Atlanta.

  7. RC - Aug 20, 2013 at 6:00 PM

    Hitting a guy with a 72 mph curveball is suddenly intentional?

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB MN
WASHINGTON 78 58 -- 19
ATLANTA 72 66 7.0
MIAMI 67 69 11.0
NEW YORK 64 74 15.0
PHILADELPHIA 63 74 15.5
Through Monday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
TUE: Nats at Dodgers, 10:10 p.m.
WED: Nats at Dodgers, 3:10 p.m.
THU: OFF
FRI: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Phillies at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Phillies at Nats, 1:35 p.m.
MON: Braves at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
Full season schedule

Mark joins Rob Carlin and Joe Orsulak every Thursday at 4 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet for a half-hour show on the Nats, Orioles and rest of MLB. Re-airs Thursdays at 11:30 p.m., Saturdays at 9 a.m. and Sundays at 11:30 a.m.

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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