Jul 17, 2015, 11:31 AM EDT
Here is a look at Major League Baseball with analysis from Nationals Insider Mark Zuckerman and Nationals writer Chase Hughes:
30. Phillies – Zuckerman: (LW: 30) On pace to lose 110 games. And that pace may get worse if they trade guys away.
29. Marlins – Zuckerman: (LW: 29) Second half will be about identifying who is part of the long-term plan and who isn’t.
28. Brewers – Zuckerman: (LW: 27) Aramis Ramirez would be a nice pickup for a lot of contending clubs.
27. Rockies – Zuckerman: (LW: 28) Four-game winning streak to end the first half, but it’s too little too late.
26. Reds – Zuckerman: (LW: 23) Did a wonderful job hosting the All-Star Game. Now, time to rebuild this club.
25. Padres – Zuckerman: (LW: 25) GM A.J. Preller faces some very tough questions before July 31. Who goes? Who stays?
24. Athletics – Hughes: (LW: 26) The Nats rarely make bad trades, but Billy Burns looks like a future All-Star. He’s hitting .303 with a .739 OPS and 17 steals.
23. Mariners – Hughes: (LW: 22) Not that their offense is great, but starting pitching now looks like a big problem for Seattle outside of Felix Hernandez.
22. Braves – Zuckerman: (LW: 18) Did an admirable job hanging in there for 3 months but now starting to fade.
21. Red Sox – Hughes: (LW: 21) Boston is in a weird spot heading into the traded deadline. They’re in last place, but only six games out of the playoffs. Buy or sell?
20. White Sox – Hughes: (LW: 24) Adam LaRoche is having his worst season since his first year with the Nats, but is still second on the White Sox in OPS.
19. Indians – Hughes: (LW: 20) Right-hander Danny Salazar looks to be back after a sophomore slump last season. He’s got a 3.74 ERA with 116 strikeouts in 98 2/3 innings.
18. Rangers – Hughes: (LW: 19) Ross Detwiler was released by the Rangers this week after refusing to play in the minors. We’ll see if he lands elsewhere.
17. Diamondbacks – Zuckerman: (LW: 16) Have done well to climb back toward the .500 mark. Where do they go from here?
16. Blue Jays – Hughes: (LW: 12) Toronto should be look to add some starting pitching before the deadline. They are within striking distance of first place.
15. Tigers – Hughes: (LW: 14) Detroit may have to start thinking about the wild card, as they are nine games out of the division but just 3 1/2 out of a playoff spot.
14. Orioles – Hughes: (LW: 11) Have to wonder if Dan Duquette will go out and get a pitcher like he did with Andrew Miller last season.
13. Rays – Hughes: (LW: 17) Everyone is fawning over Chris Archer, and rightfully so. But Jake Odirizzi (2.30 ERA, 13 GS) has been a nice surprise as well.
12. Giants – Zuckerman: (LW: 15) Defending champs are getting healthier, which makes them a threat in second half.
11. Mets – Zuckerman: (LW: 13) Will they get a bat to help supplement that dynamite pitching staff? The time has come.
10. Twins – Hughes: (LW: 10) The second half should be fun for Minnesota fans, who haven’t felt the heat of a pennant race in five years.
9. Astros – Hughes: (LW: 4) The Astros have only had one player (Jed Lowrie) over the age of the 30 make a plate appearance for them this season.
8. Cubs – Zuckerman: (LW: 7) First half went very well. Now we find out how the kids handle the pressure of a pennant race.
7. Yankees – Hughes: (LW: 9) As close as the AL East is at this point, I see the Yankees adding pieces at the deadline and running away with it.
6. Angels – Hughes: (LW: 8) L.A.A. has won 11 of their last 14 games in a stretch that also saw their GM resign.
5. Nationals – Zuckerman: (LW: 6) They’ve made do with half their lineup injured. Now it’s time to get healthy and get consistent.
4. Dodgers – Zuckerman: (LW: 5) Best 1-2 pitching punch in baseball. Will they try to bolster that duo with another acquisition?
3. Royals – Hughes: (LW: 2) Kansas City’s bullpen continues to be a force. They led the majors in relievers’ ERA at 2.18 in the first half.
2. Pirates – Zuckerman: (LW: 3) What a way to close out the first half, taking 3 of 4 from the Cards, back-to-back come-from-behind walk-offs.
1. Cardinals – Zuckerman: (LW: 1) All of a sudden, they don’t look invincible. But they hang onto the No. 1 spot for now.
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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