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Around the NL East: Marlins see Nats as early season test

Apr 8, 2014, 12:11 PM EDT

MLB: Washington Nationals at Miami Marlins

ATLANTA BRAVES

Despite a rash of pitching injuries during spring training, the Braves have opened the 2014 season looking like they haven’t skipped a beat. They took two of three against both the Brewers and Nationals this past week, and now head back home to face the Mets with free agent signing Ervin Santana set to debut. That game will also feature the 40th anniversary celebration of Hank Aaron’s 715th career home run. It should be a special night at Turner Field.

It has only been one week of real baseball games, but so far the Braves’ pitching staff stacks up pretty well statistically. They rank second in the majors with a 1.56 team ERA, and their starting pitching is best in the game at 1.63. As a whole, opponents have hit just .185 off their pitching staff. That’s best in the game.

The Braves have also seen a significant increase in franchise value over the last few years. The Atlanta-Journal Constitution says the team is worth $200 million more than it was just seven years ago.

MIAMI MARLINS

With the help of two home series against teams that did not qualify for last year’s playoffs, the Marlins head to Washington with a winning record of 5-2 after their first seven games. Giancarlo Stanton (12 RBI) and Casey McGehee (10 RBI) have been hitting the cover off the ball, and their starting pitching has looked fantastic. The Marlins currently lead the majors in runs scored (42) and place fifth in team ERA (2.43). Their bullpen also has the league’s best ERA (0.40) as a unit after giving up only one earned run in their first 22 1/3 innings this season.

The Marlins’ surprising start, in fact, has the team talking about their series with the Nationals as an early season test.

“It’s a great test for us to kind of see where we’re at,” manager Mike Redmond said. “We’re facing their best three pitchers. I’m excited about the opportunity to go in there and play after having a nice homestand, and hopefully we keep this momentum going.” 

NEW YORK METS

If early numbers are any indication, the Mets are going to have a very difficult time both scoring runs and preventing them late in games. They currently rank 23rd in the majors with 21 runs through the first week. Amazingly, however, that is better than the Braves who are 4-2 after having scored only 15 in their first six outings.

The Mets also have the second worst bullpen ERA so far at 6.75. That’s after giving up 14 runs in their first 17 1/3 innings of work. This past week the Mets also lost closer Bobby Parnell to Tommy John surgery, so it’s not looking great for the backend of the Mets’ staff.

PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES

The Phillies are an even 3-3 after the season’s first week, losing their first series in Texas against the Rangers before taking two of three against the Cubs in Chicago. Now they return to play ten straight home games against the Brewers, Marlins and Braves.

It’s very early, but pitching has been a mixed bag for the Phils so far. Though Cliff Lee has allowed eight earned runs in his first two starts, their rotation otherwise looks pretty good. Kyle Kendrick was solid in seven innings of one-run ball vs. Texas, Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez won his first start against the Cubs, and Cole Hamels will be back soon.

Philly fans are, however, a little concerned with closer Jonathan Papelbon. The right-hander has seen a decreased velocity and has allowed three earned runs in his first three outings.

  1. David Proctor - Apr 8, 2014 at 12:19 PM

    The Marlins have a team BABIP of over .370. Last year, the highest in MLB was around .330 and the average was around .290. Their pitching might be real, but their offense isn’t. They’ll come back to Earth.

    • adcwonk - Apr 8, 2014 at 1:01 PM

      And, hopefully, it will come back to earth starting tonight.

      BTW: I can’t access NIDO-spreadsheet from work (stupid policies). My wife and I and son are going to the game (Sec 308). Anyone else going?

      • ArVAFan - Apr 8, 2014 at 1:40 PM

        I”l be there in 313 accessible seating. Sitting next to Seeing Eye Single. They do keep the strap up to keep everyone from looking over our shoulders in the accessible seating sections, so if you see someone in a beige Viera 2013 Spring Trainng cap, yell “hey ArVAFan” and I’ll get up and let you into the section so we can say “hi”, or I’ll come out and chat. And that applies to other NI’ers, not just acdwonk, of course.

      • adcwonk - Apr 8, 2014 at 2:24 PM

        I’ll look for beige hat, but, is there something else I can yell besides “ArVaFan”? ;-)

        Not sure what I’ll be wearing, but Mrs Wonk has a very cute Pink Nats Hat.

      • Eric - Apr 8, 2014 at 2:26 PM

        I think you should stick with ArVaFan, but inflect it a la Rocky.

      • adcwonk - Apr 8, 2014 at 2:30 PM

        Stella!!!

        Oh, wait. Wrong movie.

        Hmmm . . . . A-dri-an Ar-Va-Fan . . . OK, I get it!

        (which doesn’t mean I’m going to _do_ it!)

      • Candide - Apr 8, 2014 at 2:35 PM

        NIDO spreadsheet says Steady Eddie will be in 136C.

      • adcwonk - Apr 8, 2014 at 3:59 PM

        Thanks . . . maybe we’ll sneak down later . . .

  2. Doc - Apr 8, 2014 at 12:51 PM

    One more Nat down.

    Williams is now saying that Zim has ‘arthritic shoulder’. That didn’t happen all of a sudden.

    Here come the prednisone shots!

    • Brookstoor - Apr 8, 2014 at 12:55 PM

      You’re right, it didn’t happen all of a sudden. Rizzo used the worth “arthritic” when describing the surgery Zim had in the fall of 2012.

    • veejh - Apr 8, 2014 at 1:46 PM

      Cortisone

    • Candide - Apr 8, 2014 at 2:37 PM

      Here come the prednisone shots!

      I can’t resist pointing out that this was posted by someone who calls himself/herself, “Doc.”

      Probably went to medical school in Haiti…

      • jd - Apr 8, 2014 at 2:54 PM

        You haven’t noticed that just about everyone here is an MD?

      • Candide - Apr 8, 2014 at 2:55 PM

        You haven’t noticed that just about everyone here is an MD?

        I thought jd meant you were a lawyer…

      • veejh - Apr 8, 2014 at 2:56 PM

        I’m one of the best.

      • jd - Apr 8, 2014 at 3:22 PM

        Actually I am neither. As such I tend not to get involved when the discussion turns into a medical discussion and/or criticism of medical personnel of which I am not qualified to participate in.

  3. Eric - Apr 8, 2014 at 1:12 PM

    I’m nervous about this series…don’t like that the Marlins are coming in hot, although I suppose I can look to the difference between the Mets and Braves series to realize how much that means…

    • adcwonk - Apr 8, 2014 at 2:14 PM

      Ehh . . . Fish are 5-2, Nats are 4-2, and we played a tougher team. (That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!)

      • Eric - Apr 8, 2014 at 2:17 PM

        I can dig it.

      • veejh - Apr 8, 2014 at 2:22 PM

        Fish used to own us. We took 5 of 19 last season, and they only one 1 of 10 in DC. Now we own them. Don’t stress over this matchup.

      • veejh - Apr 8, 2014 at 2:23 PM

        Correction, they won 5 of 19 last season.

      • Eric - Apr 8, 2014 at 2:24 PM

        “We took 5 of 19 last season”

        That’s not inspiring much confidence ;)

      • Eric - Apr 8, 2014 at 2:24 PM

        I assume by “they” you mean the Marlins (assumed that in the first place, hence the winky)…

  4. veejh - Apr 8, 2014 at 1:48 PM

    No way the fish sustain that .40 ERA for their bullpen. Either way, we need to jump on their starters and get a lead early.

  5. Ghost of Steve M. - Apr 8, 2014 at 2:34 PM

    McCann picks Lombo off 2nd base. Different teams and McCann is still tormenting ex-Nats.

    • ehay2k - Apr 8, 2014 at 3:34 PM

      Sad for Lombo. I don’t find myself missing him much.

    • adcwonk - Apr 8, 2014 at 4:01 PM

      Let him continue to torment ex-Nats!!

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
WASHINGTON 58 47 --
ATLANTA 58 49 1.0
MIAMI 53 54 6.0
NEW YORK 52 56 7.5
PHILADELPHIA 47 61 12.5
Through Wednesday's early games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
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

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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