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Around the NL East: Atlanta stumbling

Aug 5, 2014, 1:07 PM EST

Photo by USA Today Photo by USA Today

ATLANTA BRAVES 

What has happened to the Braves? After a stretch where it looked like the race for the division title would be neck-and-neck with Washington, Atlanta has suddenly fallen on hard times. The Braves are in the midst of a six-game losing streak and currently sit three games back of first place. Getting swept by the first-place Dodgers is one thing, but then getting swept by the Padres? Suffering two straight walk-off losses? That’s troubling if you’re an Atlanta fan.

The good news for the Braves, if any, is that after wrapping up a brutal west coast swing, they home for a pivotal series against the Nationals that’ll give the team a chance get right back in it. It’s probably too early to call it a make-or-break moment in the season, but it’s pretty close. If the Braves lose the series (or even worse, get swept) then it might be time for them to start focusing on the Wild Card standings.

MIAMI MARLINS 

The Marlins actually wound up being buyers at the trade deadline, acquiring Jarred Cosart in a six-player deal with the Houston Astros to help bolster their rotation and potentially spark a late-season run. However, the 24-year old righty has struggled of late, allowing 23 earned runs in his last five starts combined (which includes his Marlins debut). Add in the fact that All-Star Henderson Alvarez is on the disabled list with shoulder inflammation, and you wonder if Miami’s rotation can hold up long enough to keep the team relevant in the standings.

Speaking of the standings, Miami couldn’t take advantage of its recent six-game win streak, instead dropping four out of the next five and losing ground in the division race. The Marlins are still 6.5 games back of first, so they’ll have to turn things around in a hurry if they really want to make this a three-horse race for the division.

NEW YORK METS 

The Mets may not have made any moves at the deadline, but that doesn’t mean they were losers. They just so happened to be in a unique situation where they already had a lot of young building blocks in the organization and no teams wanted any of their veterans.

So what do Mets fans root for the rest of the season? It has to be the continued development of the young rotation, which has rapidly improved from the start of the year. Jacob deGrom, for instance, won NL Rookie of the Month in July with a 4-1 record to go along with a 1.39 ERA. Zach Wheeler, who struggled mightily early in the season, has all of a sudden gone 3-0 with a 1.63 ERA his last six outings. And last but not least, Matt Harvey — still recovering from Tommy John surgery — threw off a mound at the team’s spring training home in Port St. Lucie, Fla. It doesn’t take much to see that with this rotation’s potential, the Mets are on the rise — even if it won’t show in the win column in 2014.

PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES

With all the wheeling and dealing around baseball at the trade deadline, a lot of folks expected the Phillies would be leading the pack among sellers as the team making moves left and right. But 4 p.m. struck and…..nothing. Not a single move made by general manager Ruben Amaro. Whether it was because potential suitors weren’t offering enough or that they didn’t want to take on huge contracts, it has to be a little bit disappointing that Philly couldn’t take advantage of its opportunity to inject the organization with quality prospects.

But it’s not over just yet. The Phillies placed A.J. Burnett, Ryan Howard, Anthony Bastardo, Kyle Kendrick and Roberto Hernandez on revocable trade waivers Saturday, per Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Perhaps they’ll still be able to salvage a trade or two, but regardless of what happens it looks like a dramatic roster shakeup is in the cards once the season ends.

  1. Eric - Aug 5, 2014 at 1:13 PM

    I think it’s just about time someone broke up the Mets’ SP party.

    • rayvil01 - Aug 5, 2014 at 1:29 PM

      I have not paid enough attention to the Mets to know. But their bullpen was ghastly bad to start the season. Has it improved?

      • Eric - Aug 5, 2014 at 1:33 PM

        Not sure, but a persistent good mood generally relies early runs ;)

  2. ArVAFan - Aug 5, 2014 at 1:25 PM

    So how many “X” of the Month awards are there? Player, Pitcher, & Rookie obviously. Are there more?

    Jayson Werth was the player for July on the Nats 2014 calendar, but bizarrely the August player is Kurt Suzuki. I know we acquired him in August . . . but that was two years ago. When did they print these calendars, anyway?

    • natsbro - Aug 5, 2014 at 1:36 PM

      I was wondering the same thing. Suzuki signed with the Twins last December, you’d think the calendars would be updated after that but I guess not…

      • secretwasianman - Aug 5, 2014 at 2:53 PM

        hahaha I have that calendar. I just tore out Suzuki and gave Werth another month.

    • natsbro - Aug 5, 2014 at 1:36 PM

      I was wondering the same thing. Suzuki signed with the Twins last December, you’d think the calendars would be updated after that but I guess not…

    • NatsLady - Aug 5, 2014 at 1:40 PM

      Since you ask…

      http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/awards/players_of_the_month.jsp

  3. NatsLady - Aug 5, 2014 at 1:39 PM

    Injury Daze and Mets Series Preview

    Stinky offense, evenly matched in starting pitching, our bullpen is sagging but one of their relievers is having issues (Jennry Mejia).

    • adcwonk - Aug 5, 2014 at 1:48 PM

      Thanks for the summary!

  4. Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 5, 2014 at 1:54 PM

    Many problems pitchers go through are confidence issues like Barrett. Easy fix, he had options. Get your confidence restored in AAA and come back with that killer attitude you had in April.

    Then you have pitchers like Haren who have nothing left. Their mind is fine but their body isn’t doing what their mind tells them.

    Blevins is the former and Stammen is the latter. Now you have to decide if Craig’s problem is fatigue, arm problems, or he just doesn’t have it any more. MW stayed off of him thinking it’s arm fatigue. Well it didn’t work. What next?

    • rayvil01 - Aug 5, 2014 at 2:01 PM

      Too rapid a decline for him to not have it anymore. Slider isn’t sliding doors. Why?

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 5, 2014 at 2:06 PM

        David was correct, it happened last year also to Stammen and he found himself in September. The slider is a high stress pitch.

        His spin on his slider and movement is off. They track that stuff. The question is how long do you wait? Can you take the chance to send him out again ins 1 run game with men on base?

  5. adcwonk - Aug 5, 2014 at 1:55 PM

    Has anyone discussed: who’s our backup catcher for these three days?

    • Eugene in Oregon - Aug 5, 2014 at 1:58 PM

      They’ll bring someone up.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 5, 2014 at 2:00 PM

      Sandy Leon.

    • bowdenball - Aug 5, 2014 at 2:01 PM

      Sandy Leon was called up.

      Is Ramos taking the full three days? The rule is at least one and no more than three.

      Side note: I think it’s awesome that nobody here or elsewhere that I’ve seen has an issue with Ramos taking paternity leave during a playoff race. It says a lot about Nationals fans in my opinion.

      • David Proctor - Aug 5, 2014 at 2:06 PM

        Daniel Murphy was blasted in New York for taking paternity leave. Sad.

        He is taking the full three days, but he said he might stop by the park to take BP one day so he doesn’t lose his swing.

      • stoatva - Aug 5, 2014 at 2:07 PM

        There is a certain amount of teeth gritting, of course.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 5, 2014 at 2:08 PM

        No issue at all and luckily he’s a catcher. He wasn’t going to play Thursday anyway.

      • Eric - Aug 5, 2014 at 2:14 PM

        My only issue is the brevity of the leave.

      • secretwasianman - Aug 5, 2014 at 2:56 PM

        well not everyone. Kevin Sheehan on 980 does. As do I if he takes all 3 days. Kinda selfish I think. hes right in the area.

  6. Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 5, 2014 at 2:00 PM

    Ramos wasn’t going to start Thursday but he will be missed tonight and tomorrow night.

    Good luck to the Buffalo family! What a blessing!

    PS Great game last night with the HR and single and even that doubleplay ball was tattooed!

    • Smyrcok - Aug 5, 2014 at 2:36 PM

      Ramos has broken up double plays on himself just because of how hard the grounder he hits are. Congrats to Wilson, hope he enjoys his time off.

  7. David Proctor - Aug 5, 2014 at 2:16 PM

    I do wonder why Ramos didn’t play Sunday if he was getting three days off, but no harm.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 5, 2014 at 2:31 PM

      Still can’t push it David as that’s how injuries happen doing 5 games in a row with a day game after a night game followed by another game. MW played it right. He will be back fresh for Friday.

    • tcostant - Aug 5, 2014 at 2:32 PM

      Solid point!

  8. Nats Amore - Aug 5, 2014 at 2:19 PM

    Saw this survey among MLB managers for the top three players in each league at various skills. ALR number one defensive 1B, Desi 3rd best defensive SS, Stras third best change up. No Span in CF, though. Very interesting coming from the managers.

    http://www.baseballamerica.com/majors/2014-major-league-best-tools/

    • knoxvillenat - Aug 5, 2014 at 4:36 PM

      And the list had Matheny at # 2 for best managers and Fredi at # 3 in the NL? I couldn’t agree with either of these. I’ll definitely go along with Bochy at the top of the NL but Fredi in the top 3????

  9. David Proctor - Aug 5, 2014 at 2:32 PM

    Jon Heyman ‏@JonHeymanCBS 27s
    #nats put in claim on matt thornton, and nats get him

    There’s a new lefty in the pen

    • David Proctor - Aug 5, 2014 at 2:35 PM

      2.55 ERA this year. Lefties and righties are both hitting .237 off him

      • Smyrcok - Aug 5, 2014 at 2:37 PM

        David, and now they work out a deal for Thornton? I’m not that we’ll versed on the revocable trade waivers.

      • David Proctor - Aug 5, 2014 at 2:38 PM

        Well Heyman says we got him, so I assume we’ve already worked out some sort of deal beyond just claiming him

    • Eric - Aug 5, 2014 at 2:37 PM

      Interesting… When will he be available?

  10. David Proctor - Aug 5, 2014 at 2:43 PM

    Nationals claimed LHP Matt Thornton off waivers from the Yankees.

    Thornton was claimed by the Nationals after being placed on revocable waivers and the Yankees simply decided to let him go. The 37-year-old has posted a 2.55 ERA and 20/6 K/BB ratio over 24 2/3 innings this season, mostly in a specialist role. The Nationals will be responsible for the remainder of his contract, which includes a $3.5 million salary for next season. The Yankees could soon call up prospect Jacob Lindgren to take his place in the bullpen.

    • David Proctor - Aug 5, 2014 at 2:45 PM

      Somewhat contradictory elsewhere:

      This means that the Nationals have 48.5 hours from the point that the claim was awarded (which remains unclear) to work out a deal. If a trade cannot be arranged, the Yankees will have to decide whether to allow the Nationals to take on Thornton’s contract without compensation. (Having placed the claim, the Nats would be obliged to accept it.)

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 5, 2014 at 2:52 PM

      At least Rizzo is working it. I know nothing about Matt Thornton and pulled his scouting report 4seam and a true sinker and the occasional slider and curve with a changeup. Changeup is his go to for 2 strike counts against RH and doesn’t throw it to LH. Is a pitch to contact to lefties relying on his fastball.

  11. veejh - Aug 5, 2014 at 2:53 PM

    So, Stammen to the DL to make room? Barrett sent down? Someone else DfAd?

    • David Proctor - Aug 5, 2014 at 2:55 PM

      Barrett is already down. We don’t need 3 lefties, so I’m not sure what this does with Blevins.

  12. David Proctor - Aug 5, 2014 at 2:54 PM

    Okay, we have actually acquired him, not merely claimed him. It’s unclear what, if anything, we had to give up

    ttp://www.cbssports.com/mlb/writer/jon-heyman/24649183/nats-acquire-lefty-matt-thornton-after-waiver-claim-from-yankees

    • veejh - Aug 5, 2014 at 2:56 PM

      They can have Blevins. :)

  13. Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 5, 2014 at 2:58 PM

    “@mlbtraderumors: The #Nationals have acquired lefty Matt Thornton from the #Yankees, per @JonHeymanCBS”

    Now the bigger question is who is leaving. Stammen, Blevins or Treinen.

    Treinen obviously has options. The other 2 don’t. Hopefully Stammen goes to the DL and simple solution.

    • Eric - Aug 5, 2014 at 3:01 PM

      I would be disappointed of we straight up gave up on Stammen.

      Blevins, not so much.

  14. David Proctor - Aug 5, 2014 at 3:06 PM

    T.J. Quinn @TJQuinnESPN · 32m
    Two law enforcement sources tell me investigation revealed previously unnamed MLB players. Names will be revealed. Expect more suspensions.

    Re: Biogenesis. Oh boy. Let’s hope none of our guys are implicated. And that nothing new comes out about a certain guy who is pitching tonight.

    • veejh - Aug 5, 2014 at 3:12 PM

      The key here…previously unnamed. They already investigated Gio.

      • Eric - Aug 5, 2014 at 3:14 PM

        Yeah, but there’s no clarity around whether “Expect more suspensions” refers only to previously unnamed players or any involved players, previously unnamed or otherwise.

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