Sep 11, 2015, 11:00 AM EST
Here is a look at Major League Baseball with analysis from Nationals Insider Mark Zuckerman and Nationals writer Chase Hughes:
30. Phillies – Zuckerman: (LW: 29) Rotation’s ERA since the All-Star break: 5.55.
29. Braves – Zuckerman: (LW: 30) Currently featuring nine pitchers with ERAs over 5.00. Good lord.
28. Rockies – Zuckerman: (LW: 26) If nothing else, the Arenado/CarGo home run race will be fun to watch down the stretch.
27. Reds – Zuckerman: (LW: 28) Current rotation features four rookies and one second-year pitcher. And it shows.
26. Athletics – Hughes: (LW: 25) The A’s extended manager Bob Melvin’s contract despite their last-place record and with GM Billy Beane admitting their roster is not good. Will Matt Williams get the same sympathy?
25. Marlins – Zuckerman: (LW: 27) Ichiro’s at 2,927 career MLB hits. Will he get opportunity to reach 3,000 next year?
24. Brewers – Zuckerman: (LW: 24) Lucroy was an MVP candidate last year, but injuries and decreased production have dropped him off map this year.
23. Tigers – Hughes: (LW: 23) Magglio Ordonez was linked to steroids when he played and now his son, prospect Magglio Ordonez, Jr., has been suspended for PEDs.
22. Red Sox – Hughes: (LW: 22) GM Dave Dombrowski has created two new positions in Boston’s front office in hopes of improving their development of pitchers. Interesting approach.
21. White Sox – Hughes: (LW: 20) With his team vastly underachieving this season, owner Jerry Reinsdorf looks ready to make big changes. Can’t blame him.
20. Mariners – Hughes: (LW: 21) It has been another maddening year for Mariners fans. Well, at least they have the Seahawks.
19. Padres – Zuckerman: (LW: 18) Move to Petco should’ve made Kimbrel even better, but ERA, WHIP, FIP, HR/9 all up while K/9 down.
18. Diamondbacks – Zuckerman: (LW: 17) Goldschmidt hitting just .205/.314/.398 over last 23 games, diminishing his MVP hopes.
17. Orioles – Hughes: (LW: 19) This offseason will be fascinating for the O’s, who have taken a step back and have both Matt Wieters and Chris Davis entering free agency.
16. Rays – Hughes: (LW: 15) I gave an update on Xavier Cedeño recently, but he now has a 1.86 ERA through 54 games with the Rays. Yeah, I think the Nats could use that.
15. Indians – Hughes: (LW: 16) Cleveland has to be encouraged by former 8th overall pick Francisco Lindor’s rookie season. He could be a star.
14. Angels – Hughes: (LW: 14) The Angels are only 3 1/2 games out of a playoff spot, but I’m not confident at all in my World Series pick.
13. Nationals – Zuckerman: (LW: 12) Run differentials by innings … 1-5: +45, 6-8: -4, 9-12: +8.
12. Giants – Zuckerman: (LW: 11) Just when you thought they might buck the trend, they remembered it’s an odd-numbered year.
11. Twins – Hughes: (LW: 13) Hard to believe the Twins are second in the AL Central and only 1 1/2 games out of the playoffs. What a story.
10. Rangers – Hughes: (LW: 10) Texas has surprised everybody this season and they’re doing it without Yu Darvish.
9. Astros – Hughes: (LW: 9) Houston held on for so long, but now the Rangers look poised to overtake them.
8. Mets – Zuckerman: (LW: 8) Cespedes in 36 games with NY: .312/.357/.675, 14 homers, 36 RBI. Has had amazing impact.
7. Yankees – Hughes: (LW: 7) The Yankees look well on their way to their 23rd straight winning season and their first playoff appearance since 2012.
6. Dodgers – Zuckerman: (LW: 5) Starting to put it all together: They’ve turned a 1.5-game lead into an 8.5-game lead in 2.5 weeks.
5. Cubs – Zuckerman: (LW: 6) Keeping pressure on the Pirates for home field in the wild card game.
4. Blue Jays – Hughes: (LW: 4) I have a feeling the playoff crowd in Toronto will be incredible, assuming they get there, of course. Could it help Montreal’s cause?
3. Royals – Hughes: (LW: 2) Johnny Cueto has a 4.68 ERA with the Royals and failed to show up to a fan event this week. His Kansas City tenure has not gone well so far.
2. Pirates – Zuckerman: (LW: 3) They’ve gone 12-19 vs. Milwaukee and Cincinnati this year. That makes no sense whatsoever.
1. Cardinals – Zuckerman: (LW: 1) Is MLB’s best pitching staff starting to fade just a bit? ERA over last 10 games: 5.20.
FINAL NL EAST STANDINGS
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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.
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