Aug 22, 2014, 1:04 PM EST
Here is a look around Major League Baseball with analysis of each team from Nationals Insider Mark Zuckerman and myself, Chase Hughes:
1. Angels (LW: 2) – Hughes: My preseason World Series pick of the Angels over the Dodgers never felt so good. Just don’t ask Zuckerman for his…
2. Orioles (LW: 4) – Hughes: The O’s have the third best record in the AL, yet they lead their division by nine games. Since when did it become a luxury to be in the AL East?
3. Athletics (LW: 1) – Hughes: The A’s are 8-11 since trading Yoenis Cespedes and have dropped six of their last seven. Perhaps Billy Beane overthought that one.
4. Nationals (LW: 5) – Zuckerman: One more win and this’ll be longest streak by a D.C. ballclub since 1933 … just before the end of Babe Ruth’s career. Hmm…
5. Dodgers (LW: 3) – Hughes: The Nats and Dodgers play in 10 days. Unless something happens to either rotation, Fister and Kershaw are lined up for Game 2.
6. Royals (LW: 11) – Zuckerman: K.C. is quickly becoming THE story of the 2014 season.
7. Brewers (LW: 8) - Zuckerman: Three guys with 20 homers already … and Braun isn’t one of them!
8. Cardinals (LW: 7) – Zuckerman: Just when you were starting to count them out, they’ve won 7 of 8.
9. Tigers (LW: 6) – Zuckerman: Does it get any more hard-luck than David Price losing to his former team despite throwing a 1-hitter?
10. Braves (LW: 16) – Zuckerman: How demoralizing must it be for Atlanta to win 6 of 7 and actually drop a game in the standings?
11. Mariners (LW: 12) – Hughes: Robinson Cano is one of those rare players that actually lives up to a monster contract in his first year. He’s been excellent.
12. Giants (LW: 9) – Hughes: It will be interesting to see Michael Morse return to Nationals Park, especially given he’s having such a good year (16 HR, 56 RBI, .827 OPS)
13. Yankees (LW: 14) – Hughes: Brandon McCarthy (5-2, 1.90) has been great since joining the Yankees in a July trade.
14. Pirates (LW: 10) – Zuckerman: Can healthy McCutchen and Cole get them back on track after 7-game losing streak?
15. Blue Jays (LW: 13) – Hughes: Not only are the Blue Jays unlikely to make the playoffs, now they are picking a fight with Creighton University over their logo. Good grief.
16. Marlins (LW: 19) – Zuckerman: Giancarlo for MVP? If Miami can get and stay above .500, it’ll help his cause.
17. Indians (LW: 18) – Zuckerman: Zach Walters: 4 homers in his first 9 games with Cleveland.
18. Rays (LW: 17) – Hughes: I still don’t like their playoff chances, but it is very good timing to have Wil Myers coming back.
19. Reds (LW: 15) – Zuckerman: Chase had them winning the NL Central. How’s that looking these days?
20. Mets (LW: 21) – Zuckerman: Lucas Duda has turned into a legitimate power force at first base. Looks like they made the right call picking him over Ike Davis.
21. White Sox (LW: 20) – Zuckerman: Adam Dunn says he’s thinking about retiring after the season. If so, would have never made playoffs in career.
22. Padres (LW: 22) – Hughes: San Diego is 11-6 this month and 18-11 since July 19. They are now seven games out of the Wild Card spot. Those are long odds, but it’s good to see them keep fighting.
23. Cubs (LW: 26) – Zuckerman: Edwin Jackson since signing with Chicago: 14-32, 5.47 ERA. And there are still two more years on his contract.
24. Phillies (LW: 24) – Zuckerman: Just not very much to get excited about right now on Broad Street.
25. Astros (LW: 28) – Hughes: Chris Carter is hitting just .230 with 138 strikeouts, but he’s got 30 homers. The new Mark Reynolds?
26. Twins (LW: 23) – Zuckerman: Rough year in the Twin Cities, but they did put on an excellent All-Star Game!
27. Red Sox (LW: 25) – Hughes: Boston is going all in with this Rusney Castillo guy at seven years and $72.5 million. If he’s the next Yasiel Puig or Jose Abreu, it will be well worth it.
28. Diamondbacks (LW: 27) – Hughes: Without Paul Goldschmidt in the mix, the Diamondbacks are a sight for sore eyes.
29. Rockies (LW: 29) – Hughes: Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez are out for the year. At this point, you have to see what you can get in a trade, whenever you have the chance.
30. Rangers (LW: 30) – Hughes: Ron Washington will be back next year. I think he’s taken a lot of unfair criticism in recent years but, man, that’s a surprise.
COUNTDOWN TO OPENING DAY
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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