Around the NL East: Braves' rough stretch continues

Around the NL East: Braves' rough stretch continues
August 12, 2014, 12:00 pm
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After coming off a disastrous road trip in which they lost all eight games they played, the Braves briefly staved off more disappointment with a series win against the Nationals over the weekend. But one series win doesn't mean they're all of a sudden out of the woods -- not even close. Atlanta kicked off a four-game set against the NL West-leading Los Angeles Dodgers with a 6-2 loss Monday night, and after that series is complete the Braves will host the Oakland Athletics, the team with the best record in baseball. Ouch.  

Losers of 10 out of their last 12 games, the Braves have now fallen to four games out of first place in the NL East. They're slipping in the standings despite the Nationals' recent up-and-down play, which only further highlights how Atlanta has been unable to take advantage of one of the more mediocre divisions in baseball this season. Things aren't looking a lot better NL Wild Card race either, as five teams are competing for two spots. Needless to say, if they don't get rolling soon, the Braves are in danger is missing out on October baseball altogether. 


It's likely they won't be in contention come September, but it's hard not to admire the resiliency of this Marlins ballclub. It may seem like they're doing it via smoke and mirrors, but they keep hanging around and refusing to let their season go into a tailspin. That's far more than you could have said about this team in recent years. They had yet another winning week, posting a 4-3 mark to stay around .500 on the season and remain 4.5 games out of a wild card spot. Perhaps dreaming of some sort of magical late-season run is a bit unrealistic at this point, but you wonder if the team's play down the stretch will impact what they do in the offseason. 

Which brings us to Giancarlo Stanton, a surefire NL MVP candidate. Latest reports have Miami making a full-faith effort to try to sign him to a long term deal in the offseason, however unlikely as it may seem. The Marlins have been a historically frugal organization, so it's safe to question whether or not they'll offer him the type of money he would command on the open market. If they're unable to sign him, will he become trade bait?


The non-waiver trade deadline may have come and gone without much action for New York, but that doesn't mean the Mets are done just yet. Outfielder Curtis Granderson and lefty starter Jonathan Niese have reportedly cleared waivers, making them eligible to be traded to any team. There's no guarantee that'll happen, but after it seemed like the Mets would sit out the trade period of the season, perhaps there are moves to be made after all. 

As for someone who definitely won't get traded anytime soon, the Mets will head into their upcoming series against the Nationals without rookie starter Jacob deGrom, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list with rotator cuff tendinitis. He's only scheduled to miss a few starts, which is a relief considering the 26-year-old has been New York's best starting pitcher over the last month. He'll be replaced by Rafael Montero, who will be called up from Triple-A Las Vegas to start Tuesday's game against Washington. 


The Phillies' starting rotation is being deconstructed before our very eyes. First, veteran lefty Cliff Lee was shutdown for the remainder of the season because of a Grade 2 flexor pronator strain. It's not expected that he'll undergo surgery, but it's not a great sign given it's the second time he's had to deal with the injury this year. Then, a day after the announcement of Lee's shutdown was made, Philly traded veteran righty Roberto Hernandez (formerly Fausto Carmona) to the Dodgers for cash considerations and two players to be named later. There was even a brief period where it looked like Cole Hamels would be next, as he was claimed by the Cubs on waivers. But the two clubs were unable to work out a deal (Ruben Amaro Jr. still wants a king's ransom for Hamels), so it appears the Phillies will have to wait until the offseason if they want to move their lefty ace.