NL East Report

Atlanta Braves: (73-54; Leader)

The Braves were swept by the Colorado Rockies, and look to rebound this week against the Florida Marlins. Saturday’s matchup features two 14-game winners in Tim Hudson and Ricky Nolasco. Sunday’s game features two 11-game winners in Derek Lowe and Josh Johnson.

Philadelphia Phillies: (70-57; -3)

As bad as the Braves had it, the Phillies were worse. They were swept in four games, at home, to Roy Oswalt’s old buddies in Houston. Ironically, Oswalt didn’t start any of the games. Oswalt will start tonight, though, as the Phillies travel to San Diego. Ouch. The Padres send out Latos, Garland, and Richard. There’s a chance that they could be looking at  a 7-game losing streak, unless the Phillsters turn it around.

Florida Marlins: (64-62; -8.5)

The Marlins were the only NL East team to win their series, but you knew that already. They will play the Braves for three.

Washington Nationals: (54-74; -19.5)

On the field, they were swept by the Cubs before taking last night’s game from the Cardinals. They finish their four-game series against St. Louis this weekend.

Off the field: They welcome Bryce Harper to the team, they welcome Jordan Zimmermann back to the team, and they prepare Stephen Strasburg for Tommy John surgery. BTW, speaking of Harper, have you seen the kids in the Little League World Series wearing Harper’s war paint. Awesome.

Strasburg will miss the rest of the season, and likely 2011 as well. If they were to rush his rehab, he actually could play in 2011, but that would  be a really dangerous idea. We won’t likely see him until 2012.

In an ironic story, Stras was replaced in the rotation by Zimmermann, who underwent TJ Surgery last year. Strasburg is the second consecutive Nationals 1st round pick to have his rookie year shortened by TJ Surgery.

But there are bright sides to this for the Nationals.

1. The Nationals retain control of him for two more years than they normally would have.

2. Before you yell “Mark Prior,” the problem was in Strasburg’s elbow, not his shoulder, as was the case with Prior. Elbow problems are easier to fix than shoulder ones.

3. Better to get TJ surgery out of the way when you’re young. Case in point: Josh Johnson. Ties in with…

4. Pitchers seem to come back from Tommy John Surgery stronger than before. Look at the cases of Josh Johnson, Joakin Soria, Rafael Soriano, Billy Wagner, Chris Carpenter, Octavio Dotel, Jaime Garcia, and half the Blue Jay rotation.

5. In 2012, many National prospects will be hitting the major league (Danny Espinosa), in AAA (Bryce Harper), or getting better on the Major League level (Ramos and Zimmermann). Add to that the Nationals being in-line for a top-5 pick, and probably next year too, and you could have a division contender in 2012.

However, without Strasburg, the Nationals segment of this column will be rather dull.

No Weekly Stat this week, but I’ll leave you with a trivia question:

Who was the last Met to win the team Triple-Crown (led the Mets in HR, AVG., and RBI) and in what season?