Atlanta Braves (35-26; Leader)
The Braves had an interesting four-game series with the Arizona Diamondbacks, winning the two highest scoring ones, and losing the two lowest scoring. In fact, Aaron Heilman got the win in relief for the D-Backs on Wednesday. The Braves will face the first-place Minnesota Twins, with tonight’s pitching matchup being Tim Hudson vs. Francisco Liriano.
Philadelphia Phillies (31-27; -2.5)
Philadelphia split their rain-shortened two-game series with the Marlins. In a rematch of the perfect game (the Halladay one), Josh Johnson won this pitchers duel. The Phillies will face the Boston Red Sox this weekend, and here’s the bigger treat, they get to face Tim Wakefield again.
Washington Nationals (30-31; -5)
Stephen Strasburg. Stephen Strasburg. Stephen Strasburg. Does anything else matter in Washington? They also drafted phenom Bryce Harper first overall in the draft. The Nationals swept the Pirates, and will face the Cleveland Indians. In fact, TBS bumped the coverage of the Phillies-Red Sox game this Sunday to show the Strasburg-Indians start.
Florida Marlins (29-31; -5.5)
In all the talk about top-prospects, the Marlins Mike Stanton picked up three hits in his first game, including one in his first at-bat. The Marlins split with the Phillies, and will face the cross-state Rays, and their pitching probables of James Shields, Matt Garza, and Jeff Niemann.
Weekly Stat: Even though it’s a tiny sample size, Stephen Strasburg got batters to swing at 40.4% of pitches outside the strike zone.
How does that stack up against other notable pitchers in the division?
Johan Santana has a 27.8% this year (27.0% career). Mike Pelfrey has 25.5% this year (23.0% career).
Roy Halladay has 29.8 this year (27.1% career). Cole Hamels 2010 27.5% (28.4%)
Tommy Hanson 2010 29.0% (26.8%). Tim Hudson 27.9% (23.6%).
Josh Johnson 2010 28.4% (24.1%). Ricky Nolasco 29.8% (27.3 %)