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Around the NL East: Braves’ woes continue

Aug 12, 2014, 1:20 PM EDT

Photo by USA Today Photo by USA Today

ATLANTA BRAVES 

After coming off a disastrous road trip in which they lost all eight games they played, the Braves briefly staved off more disappointment with a series win against the Nationals over the weekend. But one series win doesn’t mean they’re all of a sudden out of the woods — not even close. Atlanta kicked off a four-game set against the NL West-leading Los Angeles Dodgers with a 6-2 loss Monday night, and after that series is complete the Braves will host the Oakland Athletics, the team with the best record in baseball. Ouch.

Losers of 10 out of their last 12 games, the Braves have now fallen to four games out of first place in the NL East. They’re slipping in the standings despite the Nationals’ recent up-and-down play, which only further highlights how Atlanta has been unable to take advantage of one of the more mediocre divisions in baseball this season. Things aren’t looking a lot better NL Wild Card race either, as five teams are competing for two spots. Needless to say, if they don’t get rolling soon, the Braves are in danger is missing out on October baseball altogether.

MIAMI MARLINS 

It’s likely they won’t be in contention come September, but it’s hard not to admire the resiliency of this Marlins ballclub. It may seem like they’re doing it via smoke and mirrors, but they keep hanging around and refusing to let their season go into a tailspin. That’s far more than you could have said about this team in recent years. They had yet another winning week, posting a 4-3 mark to stay around .500 on the season and remain 4.5 games out of a wild card spot. Perhaps dreaming of some sort of magical late-season run is a bit unrealistic at this point, but you wonder if the team’s play down the stretch will impact what they do in the offseason.

Which brings us to Giancarlo Stanton, a surefire NL MVP candidate. Latest reports have Miami making a full-faith effort to try to sign him to a long term deal in the offseason, however unlikely as it may seem. The Marlins have been a historically frugal organization, so it’s safe to question whether or not they’ll offer him the type of money he would command on the open market. If they’re unable to sign him, will he become trade bait?

NEW YORK METS 

The non-waiver trade deadline may have come and gone without much action for New York, but that doesn’t mean the Mets are done just yet. Outfielder Curtis Granderson and lefty starter Jonathan Niese have reportedly cleared waivers, making them eligible to be traded to any team. There’s no guarantee that’ll happen, but after it seemed like the Mets would sit out the trade period of the season, perhaps there are moves to be made after all.

As for someone who definitely won’t get traded anytime soon, the Mets will head into their upcoming series against the Nationals without rookie starter Jacob deGrom, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list with rotator cuff tendinitis. He’s only scheduled to miss a few starts, which is a relief considering the 26-year-old has been New York’s best starting pitcher over the last month. He’ll be replaced by Rafael Montero, who will be called up from Triple-A Las Vegas to start Tuesday’s game against Washington.

PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES

The Phillies’ starting rotation is being deconstructed before our very eyes. First, veteran lefty Cliff Lee was shutdown for the remainder of the season because of a Grade 2 flexor pronator strain. It’s not expected that he’ll undergo surgery, but it’s not a great sign given it’s the second time he’s had to deal with the injury this year. Then, a day after the announcement of Lee’s shutdown was made, Philly traded veteran righty Roberto Hernandez (formerly Fausto Carmona) to the Dodgers for cash considerations and two players to be named later. There was even a brief period where it looked like Cole Hamels would be next, as he was claimed by the Cubs on waivers. But the two clubs were unable to work out a deal (Ruben Amaro Jr. still wants a king’s ransom for Hamels), so it appears the Phillies will have to wait until the offseason if they want to move their lefty ace.

  1. unterp - Aug 12, 2014 at 1:30 PM

    I feel badly for the Braves. I can only hope that things don’t get better for them, so I can continue to feel badly for them…

  2. unterp - Aug 12, 2014 at 1:32 PM

    also, it would be wise to postpone tonight’s game against the Mets, so the guys can go party early in Manhattan. The rain ain’t going away tonight…

  3. bowdenball - Aug 12, 2014 at 1:36 PM

    I had a thought on the Nats’ ongoing struggles vs the Braves. I’ll preface it by saying I think it’s much ado about nothing, that it’s simply a combination of bad luck and bad matchups and nothing more.

    However, if you subscribe to the theory that there’s some mental issue there, isn’t it more likely that the issue is with the Braves in their non-Nats games than with the Nats in their head to head meetings? In other words, maybe the Nats play at the same high level 162 games a year while the Braves only get up for the big rivalry games, possibly due to clubhouse issues or other motivational failings? That seems much more likely to me than the idea that a bunch of professional athletes on a contending team are cowering in the face of a division rival that trails them in the standings.

    • conatsguy - Aug 12, 2014 at 11:20 PM

      Great thoughts on this rivalry. You can add the Orioles to that list. Slow and steady. This Nationals team are grinders- win 2 of 3 series. Over time, that will be enough.

  4. NatsLady - Aug 12, 2014 at 1:45 PM

    Hate the O’s? It could be worse.

  5. natsnerd - Aug 12, 2014 at 1:52 PM

    From the story: “Philly traded veteran righty Roberto Hernandez (formerly Fausto Carmona) to the Dodgers for cash considerations and two players to be named later.”

    So it’s two players to be named later in exchange for one player renamed earlier?

    • markinarlington - Aug 12, 2014 at 2:24 PM

      ++ funny

    • npb99 - Aug 12, 2014 at 2:31 PM

      LOL!

    • theucane - Aug 12, 2014 at 2:33 PM

      Thank you for that one. Hysterical.

    • Soul Possession, Sec 3 My Sofa - Aug 12, 2014 at 5:12 PM

      POTW.
      Well played, sir.

  6. breakbad1 - Aug 12, 2014 at 2:24 PM

    Philly steaked their future on a Faustian bargain.

    • natsnerd - Aug 12, 2014 at 3:08 PM

      Nice! But how much were they paying him? Was he really a bargain?

      (I was going to suggest that the proper spelling is “staked”–but then I assumed you were just abbreviating “cheesesteaked.”)

  7. NatsLady - Aug 12, 2014 at 3:04 PM

    The O’s-Yanks game has been postponed. If that rain creeps up to NY, the Nats game could be next.

    • jd - Aug 12, 2014 at 3:20 PM

      It’s just drizzling now. But it’s supposed to be heavy and steady. And they won’t wait for 3.6 hours to postpone the game.

    • bowdenball - Aug 12, 2014 at 3:25 PM

      The current forecast for LaGuardia shows a pretty decent window for the game. 65% chance of precipitation at 7, but a 0% at 8 and then a 40% for most of the rest of the evening before it ramps back up again after midnight.

      There’s a chance the game gets called, but it’s always seemed to me that fans greatly overestimate the odds of a cancellation. Seems like there’s at least 10-20 games a season that fans expect to get rained out and only one or two actually do get rained out.

      • Section 222 - Aug 12, 2014 at 4:27 PM

        +1. If every game that fans here predicted would be rained out were actually rained out, the Nats would still be playing make up games from 2012.

        bb, we’ve had some disagreements in the past but I have to say that you’ve made some great posts lately. I appreciate your thoughtful analysis.

  8. tcostant - Aug 12, 2014 at 3:10 PM

    Werth is sitting out:

    Tuesday #Nats at #Mets: Span CF, Cabrera 2B, Rendon 3B, LaRoche 1B, Desmond SS, Harper LF, Ramos C, Taylor RF, Fister P

    • unterp - Aug 12, 2014 at 3:15 PM

      so will the rest of the team, unless they start the game at maybe midnight…

    • Smyrcok - Aug 12, 2014 at 3:16 PM

      Souza missed himself a golden opportunity to get a trial run. I feel bad for the guy.

      I know it’s been mentioned before but I’d like to see Harper get in the 2nd spot in these situations. Span/Harper/Rendon sounds good to me. Does that make the back of the lineup too weak though?

      • unterp - Aug 12, 2014 at 3:18 PM

        good idea…

      • jd - Aug 12, 2014 at 3:21 PM

        You are right and it doesn’t matter about the back of the lineup. You ant your best hitters to hit as often as possible.

    • tcostant - Aug 12, 2014 at 3:19 PM

      If called the Mets will wait until at least 8PM, they want all that parking, food and beer money…

      • jd - Aug 12, 2014 at 3:22 PM

        They are actually pretty good about calling games early. But as I said it’s not really raining yet.

  9. natsguy - Aug 12, 2014 at 3:26 PM

    Souza could turn out to be Chris Marrero if he is not lucky in his opportunities.

    • therealjohnc - Aug 12, 2014 at 5:20 PM

      Well … maybe. But I note that Marrero never put up the kind of offensive numbers, much less the all-around game, that Souza has displayed now for three years.

  10. rabbit433 - Aug 12, 2014 at 5:07 PM

    The Braves woe’s continue, but no thanks to the Nats. I just don’t know what the Nationals have. The way they play, they should be scraping bottom. Inconsistent sputtering lineup. But there they are, first place. I’m so glad they are in the NL East.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
x-WASHINGTON 90 64 --
ATLANTA 76 78 14.0
NEW YORK 75 80 15.5
MIAMI 74 80 16.0
PHILADELPHIA 71 84 19.5
x-Clinched NL East title
Through Saturday's games

NL PLAYOFFS STANDINGS

W L GB WCGB
x-WASHINGTON (5) 90 64 --
y-LOS ANGELES 88 67 2.5
ST. LOUIS 87 68 3.5
-------------------------
SAN FRANCISCO 84 70 6.0 +1.0
PITTSBURGH 83 71 7.0 --
MILWAUKEE 80 75 10.5 3.5
x-Clinched division title
y-Clinched playoff berth
Through Saturday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
SUN: Nats at Marlins, 1:10 p.m.
MON: OFF
TUE: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
WED: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
THU: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
FRI: Marlins at Nats (DH), 1:05 p.m., 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Marlins at Nats, 4:05 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.

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