Sep 4, 2015, 1:24 PM EDT
Here is a look at Major League Baseball with analysis from Nationals Insider Mark Zuckerman and Nationals writer Chase Hughes:
30. Braves – Hughes: (LW: 25) The Braves are in an absolute freefall, but with 13 combined games against the Nats and Mets, they can be big-time spoilers.
29. Phillies – Hughes: (LW: 30) Interim manager Pete Mackanin is 27-33 this year with the Phillies. Compared to Ryne Sandberg’s 26-48, that’s not bad at all.
28. Reds – Hughes: (LW: 28) Speaking of managers, it looks like Bryan Price will get the axe after this season. He was hired the same year as Matt Williams.
27. Marlins – Hughes: (LW: 29) Giancarlo Stanton began a minor league rehab assignment, but had a setback in his rehab. It has been that kind of year for the Fish.
26. Rockies – Hughes: (LW: 27) Carlos Gonzalez has homered twice in consecutive games to set a career-high of 35 on the season. He has 25 in his last 50 games alone!
25. Athletics – Zuckerman: (LW: 24) Best team in the AL late last summer. Worst team in the AL late this summer.
24. Brewers – Hughes: (LW: 26) Whoever gets the Brewers’ GM job will have a decent starting point with that lineup. That division, though. Yikes.
23. Tigers – Zuckerman: (LW: 21) They still have one of the most-productive lineups in baseball, but the pitching staff has been a mess.
22. Red Sox – Zuckerman: (LW: 23) Have played surprisingly well for interim manager Torey Luvullo under difficult circumstances.
21. Mariners – Zuckerman: (LW: 22) Didn’t come close to living up to the expectation, and Jack Zrduriencik paid the price for it.
20. White Sox – Zuckerman: (LW: 19) Rank last or next-to-last in AL in runs, homers, walks, OBP, slugging, OPS. Not good.
19. Orioles – Zuckerman: (LW: 16) Losers of 12 of their last 14, the bottom has fallen out in Baltimore. Who goes this offseason?
18. Padres – Hughes: (LW: 18) Justin Upton has 24 homers, 73 RBI, an .808 OPS and is on pace to set a career-high in steals. He will get paid handsomely this offseason.
17. Diamondbacks – Hughes: (LW: 17) Goldschmidt vs. Harper for the NL MVP won’t be as heated as Trout vs. Miggy, but it could end up a pretty interesting debate.
16. Indians – Zuckerman: (LW: 20) The loss of executive Mark Shapiro to Toronto is a big deal for Cleveland.
15. Rays – Zuckerman: (LW: 15) Kevin Kiermaier is becoming a human highlight reel.
14. Angels – Zuckerman: (LW: 12) A one-time powerhouse is slowly slip-sliding away.
13. Twins – Zuckerman: (LW: 14) Give them credit: When it looked like they might fade away, they’ve hung in there.
12. Nationals – Hughes: (LW: 13) Their offense is exploding with Harper and Zimmerman leading the way. Their rotation now has to follow suit, especially next week against the Mets.
11. Giants – Hughes: (LW: 10) Tim Lincecum is done for the season and possibly as a San Francisco Giant. What a run if it is indeed over.
10. Rangers – Zuckerman: (LW: 11) Have won 15 of 20, trying to orchestrate a dramatic turnaround of their season.
9. Astros – Zuckerman: (LW: 7) It’s crunch time for this young team, which now must hold off Texas’ late charge.
8. Mets – Hughes: (LW: 6) The Mets want to avoid the media fiasco that was Stephen Strasburg’s shutdown, but now it looks like they could be in a public battle over Matt Harvey with Scott Boras.
7. Yankees – Zuckerman: (LW: 9) They have 7 games left vs. the Blue Jays. They’re 4-8 against them so far.
6. Cubs – Hughes: (LW: 4) The Cubs have lost six of their last eight. They have time to recover with their lead in the playoff race, but they are cooling off at a bad time.
5. Dodgers – Hughes: (LW: 8) The Dodgers just got a big boost for the final month in top infield prospect Cory Seager.
4. Blue Jays – Zuckerman: (LW: 5) They’re 26-6 since July 29. A remarkable infusion of excitement in Toronto.
3. Pirates – Hughes: (LW: 3) A.J. Burnett’s career looked like it was in jeopardy earlier this season, but it looks like he’s going to give it one last ride pretty soon here.
2. Royals – Zuckerman: (LW: 2) Yordano Ventura’s last 5 starts: 4-0, 1.13, 43 strikeouts. KC might have its young ace back.
1. Cardinals – Hughes: (LW: 1) The Cardinals nearly got swept for the first time this season by the Nats. But, of course, they rallied twice in comeback wins.
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.
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