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  1. Around the NL East: Phillies about to sell?

    Jul 22, 2014, 12:36 PM EDT

    Photo by USA Today

    ATLANTA BRAVES  Things are still as tight as ever atop this division, with the Braves tussling with the Nationals for first place. For the moment, Washington has pulled ahead of Atlanta in the standings by one game. But with the way things have been going between these two teams, you know things are always subject…

  2. Around the NL East: Second-half showdown

    Jul 15, 2014, 12:34 PM EDT

    Photo by USA Today

    ATLANTA BRAVES  At the All-Star Break, this division’s starting to shake out the way most expected it to — with the Braves battling the Nationals down the stretch for the NL East crown. After a nine-game win streak briefly vaulted Atlanta into first place, Washington came right back and both teams enter the break tied…

  3. Game 93: Nats at Phillies

    Jul 13, 2014, 12:01 PM EDT

    Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER

    Today the Nationals play their final game before the All-Star break with a chance to take two of three against the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. Tanner Roark (7-6, 3.12) will take the mound after skipping his previous start due to last Tuesday’s postponement. Roark last pitched on July 4, a stretch of nine days. He’ll…

  4. Zimmerman delivers when Nats need it most

    Jul 13, 2014, 12:45 AM EDT

    USA Today Sports Images

    PHILADELPHIA — Ryan Zimmerman has often talked about his ability to stay relaxed in critical moments at the plate, understanding that the pressure in those situations is not on himself but on the opposing pitcher. He’s been able to thrive so many times with the game on the line, though, not only by taking pressure…

  5. Zimmermann likely will avoid DL with biceps strain

    Jul 13, 2014, 12:15 AM EDT

    USA Today Sports Images

    Updated at 12:15 a.m. PHILADELPHIA —The Nationals don’t believe Jordan Zimmermann will need to spend any time on the disabled list after an MRI of his right arm taken Saturday revealed only a biceps strain, no structural damage. Manager Matt Williams dispersed results of the MRI following the Nationals’ 5-3, 10-inning win over the Phillies,…

  6. Instant analysis: Nats 5, Phillies 3 (10)

    Jul 12, 2014, 11:18 PM EDT

    USA Today Sports Images

    GAME IN A NUTSHELL: A high-profile pitching matchup produced a low-scoring game, though neither Stephen Strasburg nor Cole Hamels would likely have called this one of their best outings of the season. Strasburg carried a shutout into the sixth but couldn’t finish that inning after his pitch count skyrocketed to 117. Hamels, meanwhile, gave up…

  7. Game 92: Nats at Phillies

    Jul 12, 2014, 3:33 PM EDT

    Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER

    PHILADELPHIA — While we await the update on Jordan Zimmermann’s MRI, and debate his replacement on the All-Star roster, there is in fact another game taking place tonight at Citizens Bank Park. Featuring a star-studded pitching matchup: Stephen Strasburg vs. Cole Hamels. The Nationals will have Ian Desmond back in the lineup after he sat…

  8. Harper homers but still battling his way out of slump

    Jul 12, 2014, 11:48 AM EDT

    USA Today Sports Images

    PHILADELPHIA — As the ball rocketed off his bat and soared to right field, well into the bleachers at Citizens Bank Park, Bryce Harper remembered for a moment what it’s like to hit a home run. “It felt really good,” he said. Harper hadn’t had that sensation since returning from the disabled list nearly two…

  9. Zimmermann hopeful biceps cramp isn’t serious

    Jul 12, 2014, 12:00 AM EDT

    USA Today Sports Images

    Updated at 12:00 a.m. PHILADELPHIA — Jordan Zimmermann has made 132 starts in the big leagues, several of them as a rookie with a barking elbow that needed Tommy John surgery, but never before had he stood on the mound after throwing a pitch and motioned to the Nationals dugout that he needed to come…

  10. Instant analysis: Phillies 6, Nats 2

    Jul 11, 2014, 9:52 PM EDT

    USA Today Sports Images

    GAME IN A NUTSHELL: This game already wasn’t going particularly well for the Nationals when things really turned sour in the bottom of the fourth, for reasons having nothing to do with the scoreboard. Jordan Zimmermann took himself out of the game after throwing a 1-2 slider to Phillies catcher Cameron Rupp, departing with an…

  11. Desmond out tonight but should play Saturday

    Jul 11, 2014, 6:38 PM EDT

    USA Today Sports Images

    PHILADELPHIA — Ian Desmond was not in the Nationals’ lineup Friday night, but manager Matt Williams expects his shortstop to return Saturday after getting hit by a pitch at the base of his right thumb. “He’s fine,” Williams said prior to Friday’s series opener against the Phillies. “He’s a little sore. He got in, did…

  12. Game 91: Nats at Phillies

    Jul 11, 2014, 3:34 PM EDT

    Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER

    PHILADELPHIA — Hello from Citizens Bank Park, where a suddenly banged-up Nationals club closes out the first half of the season this weekend before taking a much-needed All-Star break. The two key injury updates you’re waiting for: 1) Ian Desmond is not in tonight’s lineup after taking a pitch off the pad of his right…

  13. Around the NL East: Braves rebound

    Jul 1, 2014, 1:01 PM EDT

    Photo by USA Today

    ATLANTA BRAVES What a difference a week makes. Seven days ago, the Braves looked like they were in a middle of a midseason tailspin, enduring a tough June stretch that saw them relinquish their division lead to the Nationals. But after winning six out of the last seven games — the best mark in the…

  14. Around the NL East: Braves unraveling?

    Jun 24, 2014, 12:34 PM EDT

    Photo by USA Today

    ATLANTA BRAVES  Much to the delight of local fans, the Braves are in the middle of a tough stretch. They went 2-4 against division rivals Philadelphia and Washington this past week, dropping them down to second place in the division. After losing eight out of the last 12 games, you wonder if the wheels are…

  15. Around the NL East: A three team race?

    Jun 17, 2014, 2:12 PM EDT

    Photo by USA Today

    ATLANTA BRAVES The Braves continue to tread water as division leaders, regaining the top spot after wrestling back the lead from the Nationals despite a 3-4 week. They head into Tuesday night’s slate of games with a half game lead over Washington while also being just a game in front of Miami. As we head…

  16. Around the NL East: Braves losing their grip?

    Jun 10, 2014, 4:27 PM EDT

    Photo by USA Today

    ATLANTA BRAVES  It was only a matter of time before the Braves’ inconsistent play caught up with them. We mentioned in this space over the last few weeks that if Atlanta did not take advantage of a mediocre division, that at least one the teams chasing them would eventually close the gap. That finally happened this…

  17. Instant Analysis: Nats 4, Phillies 2

    Jun 5, 2014, 6:44 PM EDT

    Photo by USA Today

    GAME IN A NUTSHELL: The Nationals completed a three-game sweep of the struggling Philadelphia Phillies on Thursday afternoon with another impressive showing from their offense. Now healthy, the Nationals are starting to torment opposing pitchers and that continued in their 4-2 win over the Phillies. Ryan Zimmerman knocked in an RBI in the bottom of the first…

  18. Game 58: Phillies at Nats

    Jun 5, 2014, 12:04 PM EDT

    Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER

    The Nationals have put together a nice little run here as of late, winning four of their last five games and scoring a bunch of runs in the process. Tonight they send Doug Fister (3-1, 3.34) to the mound for his sixth start of the season as they look for the sweep against Philly. Having pitched…

  19. Five-game upswing bodes well in bigger picture

    Jun 5, 2014, 1:28 AM EDT

    AP

    It’s only five games. That qualifier needs to be made. Five days from now, the storyline could be completely reversed. But over these last five games — four of them wins, including Wednesday night’s 8-4 victory over the Phillies — the Nationals haven’t merely looked like a team having a nice week. After two months…

  20. Instant analysis: Nats 8, Phillies 4

    Jun 4, 2014, 11:56 PM EDT

    USA Today Sports Images

    GAME IN A NUTSHELL: The Nationals have been waiting for weeks to go on a sustained run, a stretch where they’re firing on all cylinders, at the plate and on the mound. It may be too early to declare this the run they’ve been seeking, but they’re certainly on the right track. With yet another…

  21. Game 57: Phillies at Nats

    Jun 4, 2014, 3:25 PM EDT

    Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER

    And so we officially move beyond Ryan Zimmerman Left Field Debut Day and into Ryan Zimmerman Regular Left Fielder Month. After last night’s successful return following 7 1/2 weeks on the DL, Zim is right back out there again, batting fifth and again starting in left field. Will he actually be tested defensively tonight? We…

  22. Zimmermann back on track with 8 scoreless innings

    Jun 4, 2014, 10:00 AM EDT

    AP

    Not that ever doubted himself, but given his recent struggles, Jordan Zimmermann understood the importance of his dominant start last night against the Phillies. “It was big,” the right-hander admitted after tossing eight scoreless innings in the Nationals’ 7-0 blowout win. “May was a pretty rough month for me. Hopefully June has better things to…

  23. Instant analysis: Nats 7, Phillies 0

    Jun 3, 2014, 9:48 PM EDT

    USA Today Sports Images

    GAME IN A NUTSHELL: The familiar sight of Ryan Zimmerman taking the field for the Nationals for the first time in 7 1/2 weeks surely was comforting to his teammates, manager and the crowd of 25,291. The unfamiliar sight of him taking his position not at third base, but in left field for the first…

  24. Game 56: Phillies at Nats

    Jun 3, 2014, 3:24 PM EDT

    Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER

    I think it’s safe to say plenty of people — myself included — predicted Ryan Zimmerman would one day play something other than third base for the Nationals. I think it’s also safe to say very few people — if any — prior to about two weeks ago would have predicted Zimmerman’s first start at…

  25. Around the NL East: Phillies slipping

    Jun 3, 2014, 1:17 PM EDT

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    Photo by USA Today

    ATLANTA BRAVES  The Braves had another up-and-down week, but it ended on the upswing as they completed a three-game sweep of the hard-charging Marlins in Miami. The series win helped give Atlanta some breathing room in the standings, as they head into Tuesday’s action with a 2.5 game lead over the Fish. But once again,…

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
WASHINGTON 55 43 --
ATLANTA 54 46 2.0
MIAMI 47 52 8.5
NEW YORK 47 53 9.0
PHILADELPHIA 43 57 13.0
Through Tuesday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
WED: Nats at Rockies, 3:10 p.m.
THU: OFF
FRI: Nats at Reds, 7:10 p.m.
SAT: Nats at Reds, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Nats at Reds, 1:10 p.m.
MON: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
TUE: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 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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