May 22, 2015, 10:33 AM EST
Here is a look at Major League Baseball with analysis from Nationals Insider Mark Zuckerman and Nationals writer Chase Hughes:
30. Marlins – Zuckerman: (LW: 18) Name one reason why anyone should trust Loria/Samson on anything. You can’t.
29. Brewers – Zuckerman: (LW: 30) Starting rotation (4.80 ERA, 1.374 WHIP) is killing them.
28. Rockies – Zuckerman: (LW: 28) The “Trade or Don’t Trade Tulo” story jumped the shark way too long ago.
27. Athletics – Hughes: (LW: 24) It’s strange to see a current Athletics team be so good at hitting and so bad at pitching, especially in that park.
26. Phillies – Zuckerman: (LW: 29) Props to them for recent 6-game win streak. But that doesn’t change who they are in big picture.
25. Indians – Hughes: (LW: 27) Cleveland started slow last year and recovered to post an 85-77 record. I’m not sure they have enough pitching to pull themselves out of the hole they’ve dug themselves this year.
24. Rangers – Hughes: (LW: 26) How bad does Elvis Andrus’ contract look right now? He’s making $15 million with a .582 OPS.
23. Blue Jays – Hughes: (LW: 17) Has to be tough for Toronto fans to watch the Blue Jays get so close to making the playoffs last year, yet play so poorly through the first quarter of 2015.
22. Diamondbacks – Zuckerman: (LW: 23) Bullpen is a nightmare: Only 4 saves recorded through one-quarter of the season!
21. Pirates – Zuckerman: (LW: 15) They’ve been a 2nd-half team the last two seasons, but they need to show something soon if they want to be in the race again.
20. Reds – Zuckerman: (LW: 13) Billy Hamilton’s .261 OBP is 3rd-worst in the NL. That’s not going to cut it.
19. Orioles – Hughes: (LW: 20) Last week I pointed out how well Tim Lincecum was pitching for the Giants. How about Ubaldo Jimenez for the O’s? They’re both pitching like they did five years ago.
18. Mariners – Hughes: (LW: 21) I thought Dustin Ackley (picked 2nd overall after Strasburg in 2009) had turned a corner last year and would have a huge 2015 season. I was wrong.
17. Braves – Zuckerman: (LW: 22) Shelby Miller looks like a brilliant acquisition by John Hart.
16. Red Sox – Hughes: (LW: 19) As much as people have been complaining about their pitching, the Red Sox aren’t score either. They’re 12th in the AL in runs.
15. White Sox – Zuckerman: (LW: 25) Chicago is starting to heat up, yet Jeff Samardzija and Chris Sale still post ERAs above 4.00. This team has a few extra gears to find this season.
14. Padres – Zuckerman: (LW: 11) San Diego hoping Wil Myers’ latest wrist injury isn’t a serious one.
13. Rays – Hughes: (LW: 10) The Yankees have been so bad lately that Tampa may take this division and run with it for the foreseeable future.
12. Yankees – Hughes: (LW: 5) New York was already losing, then Jacoby Ellsbury went down which won’t make matters any easier.
11. Angels – Hughes: (LW: 14) The Astros have been a fun surprise this season, but the Angels are closing in fast in the AL West.
10. Giants – Zuckerman: (LW: 16) There was every reason to believe they were doomed this year, but defending champs have proven us wrong.
9. Twins – Hughes: (LW: 12) Maybe it’s too early to get carried away, but not enough people are talking about the Twins this year. Perhaps they’re overshadowed by the Tigers and Royals in the AL Central.
8. Cubs – Zuckerman: (LW: 8) The kids, as everyone expected, appear to be legit. And there are more on the way.
7. Mets – Zuckerman: (LW: 7) They need to get back on track after 10-15 stretch, but they’re good enough to be in the race all season.
6. Tigers – Hughes: (LW: 4) Anibal Sanchez was one of the more consistent starters in baseball with a 3.47 ERA in six straight seasons before this year, but so far he’s been terrible. Wonder what’s going on there.
5. Nationals – Zuckerman: (LW: 9) To go from 7-13 in their first 20 games to 17-4 in their next 21 is nothing short of remarkable.
4. Astros – Hughes: (LW: 6) Houston leads the majors in home runs, but has the worst team average in the AL. All or nothing, baby!
3. Dodgers – Zuckerman: (LW: 2) Leading NL in OBP, SLG, OPS, HR, BB. And that’s playing half their games in the best pitcher’s park in baseball.
2. Royals – Hughes: (LW: 3) The Royals could be the best team in baseball, despite not having an elite rotation. I’d go get another arm if I were them.
1. Cardinals – Zuckerman: (LW: 1) Off to their best 40-game start since 1941. They look like the complete package.
FINAL NL EAST STANDINGS
ON THE RADIO
As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2015 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: 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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