Jul 9, 2015, 4:00 PM EDT
Here is a look at Major League Baseball with analysis from Nationals Insider Mark Zuckerman and Nationals writer Chase Hughes:
30. Phillies – Hughes: (LW: 30) Chase Utley just lost his job and got thrown under the bus by his GM along the way. What once was a great team continues to fall from grace.
29. Marlins – Hughes: (LW: 28) Dan Haren is pitching well at the age of 34. He’s got a 3.11 ERA over his last 10 starts.
28. Rockies – Hughes: (LW: 27) Troy Tulowitzki has been healthy this year and batting .318, yet he didn’t make the first All-Star cut and is part of the final vote.
27. Brewers – Hughes: (LW: 29) Milwaukee is 12-4 in their last 16 games. They have no chance in their division, but could salvage their season.
26. Athletics – Zuckerman: (LW: 26) Getting to be about that time for Billy Beane to do something dramatic.
25. Padres – Hughes: (LW: 23) Justin Upton, Craig Kimbrel and others are reportedly available for trade. Either one would be a huge boost for a contender.
24. White Sox – Zuckerman: (LW: 25) Chris Sale: Brilliant. Jeff Samardzija: Not so brilliant, but getting better.
23. Reds – Hughes: (LW: 22) Cincinnati is 5-0 against the Nats and 33-44 vs. everyone else.
22. Mariners – Zuckerman: (LW: 21) Nelson Cruz has been fantastic … yet this remains the least-productive lineup in the AL.
21. Red Sox – Zuckerman: (LW: 24) You want to write them off, but somehow they’re only 5 games back in AL East.
20. Indians – Zuckerman: (LW: 19) Corey Kluber’s last 11 starts: 2.57 ERA, 102 Ks, 15 BBs … and a 4-4 record. Run support, anybody?
19. Rangers – Zuckerman: (LW: 15) 1 1/2 years into his 7-year deal, Shin-Soo Choo has hit .237/.329/.383 with Texas.
18. Braves – Hughes: (LW: 18) Atlanta has hung around .500 all year, but their schedule after the All-Star break is brutal. They’ll see the Cubs and Dodgers at home before playing the Cardinals and Orioles on the road.
17. Rays – Zuckerman: (LW: 11) Have lost 10 of 11, three of them on walk-offs. Ouch.
16. Diamondbacks – Hughes: (LW: 20) Arizona is four games out of an NL Wild Card spot with the All-Star break approaching. They should be buyers ahead of the trade deadline.
15. Giants – Hughes: (LW: 9) The Giants have been incredibly streaky this year, but getting Hunter Pence back should make a big difference moving forward.
14. Tigers – Zuckerman: (LW: 16) Miguel Cabrera’s injury is a killer for this underachieving club.
13. Mets – Hughes: (LW: 17) Not sure why the Mets haven’t traded for some offense yet. Their best opportunity to catch the Nats is now with all their injuries.
12. Blue Jays – Zuckerman: (LW: 12) Run differential says they should be 51-36, which would be best record in AL.
11. Orioles – Zuckerman: (LW: 8) Just when you think it’s coming together, they drop 6 of 7.
10. Twins – Zuckerman: (LW: 14) Miguel Sano’s first week in the bigs: .455/.571/.682. No big deal.
9. Yankees – Zuckerman: (LW: 10) Getting just enough offensively to overcome other issues.
8. Angels – Zuckerman: (LW: 13) Here they come, finally starting to look like last year’s 98-win club.
7. Cubs – Hughes: (LW: 7) The Cubs’ pitching staff is sneaky good. They rank fifth in team ERA at 3.36 and seventh in rotation ERA at 3.15.
6. Nationals – Hughes: (LW: 6) What happens with Denard Span’s injury will be very interesting. They’ve proven they can win without some of their players, but right now he’s indispensable.
5. Dodgers – Hughes: (LW: 5) Have to love how Clayton Kershaw responded to not making the All-Star game. He pitched his 10th career shutout and added 11 strikeouts on Wednesday night.
4. Astros – Zuckerman: (LW: 2) Angels suddenly lurking right behind them. Houston: We may have a problem soon.
3. Pirates – Hughes: (LW: 4) Andrew McCuthen through his first 41 games this season: .253/.347/.440. And through his last 41: .352/.449/.559.
2. Royals – Zuckerman: (LW: 3) Flying high, but now they’ve got to overcome the loss of their best player, Alex Gordon.
1. Cardinals – Hughes: (LW: 1) St. Louis has lost six of their last 10, but they will have Matt Holliday back in the lineup within a few days.
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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