NL East Report: Nationals and Braves In First Place Showdown This Weekend

The NL East Report is published every Friday and takes a look at the other teams in the division. The reports covers the latest news and notes, injuries and transactions, divisional records versus the Mets, and updated NL East Standings.

News And Notes

Atlanta Braves: On Monday, May 21, Drew Sutton was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates for cash. They also signed Ian Thomas and Lance Zawadzki. The Braves own the division’s best run differential, by a decent margin, at plus-32. The Nationals are plus-19, second best. The Braves have scored 4.87 runs per game, second-best in the National League and up from 3.96 last season. Martin Prado is on a hot streak for Atlanta. In his last 16 games, Prado has hit .429 with eight doubles, a triple, a home run, nine runs scored and five RBIs. With just 11 more RBIs, Chipper Jones will reach 1,596 and tie Hall of Famer George Brett for the all-time lead among third basemen.

Miami Marlins: Mike Dunn was optioned to Triple-A New Orleans and is expected to callup Daniel Jennings. The left-hander has an 0.95 ERA with 17 strikeouts and five walks in 19 innings for New Orleans. Jennings has made two appearances with the Marlins this season, throwing 1 2/3 scoreless innings. Hanley Ramirez (141 homers, 225 steals) is one of just two players since 2006 to record 140-or-more home runs and steal more than 140 bases. Matt Kemp is the other. Ramirez has caught fire at home lately, carrying a seven-game home hitting streak into tonight’s game. In the month of May, the Marlins have drawn a National League leading 84 walks, ahead of the Diamondbacks (77), Braves (77), Giants (76) and Mets (75).

Philadelphia Phillies: The Phillies lead the majors in May with a .286 batting average and are third in total bases, with an average of 15.6 per game. Their .783 OPS is also third in the bigs. Second baseman Chase Utley, who hasn’t played a game this season because of chronic tendinitis in his knees, took some ground balls before Thursday’s game. There still is no timetable for his return. Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said Utley won’t move beyond batting practice and pregame activities until he’s ready to play in a game. After missing three games for the birth of his first child, shortstop Jimmy Rollins led off for the Phillies on Thursday. He went 2-for-6 with a strikeout in the victory and is 94 hits away from 2,000.

Washington Nationals: Shortstop Ian Desmond has hit eight home runs this season, tying his total from 2011. He’s only two away from his career high of 10 long balls, which he clubbed in 2010. The eight homers lead all NL shortstops. The Nationals face off against the Braves for the first time this season in a battle for first place. The Nationals are up one game, so they will have to win the three-game series in order to leave Atlanta in first place by themselves.

NL East Standings






Vs. Division

Vs. Mets

This Week

Washington Nationals







Atlanta Braves*








Miami Marlins








New York Mets







Philadelphia Phillies








This Week shows the divisional record week to date, and is since the last NL East Report.

* Team is currently in line for a wild card spot.

Injury Report

Newer or updated injuries are at the beginning of each team’s injury report.

Atlanta Braves: Chipper Jones (left calf contusion) is day to day. Brian McCann (flu) is day to day. Jonny Venters (calf bruise) is day to day. Robert Fish (left elbow tendinitis) was put on the disabled list on April 2, retroactive to March 26. It is still unsure when he’ll return. Peter Moylan (recovering from right shoulder surgery last season) is currently rehabbing, and is expected to return sometime in May or June. Arodys Vizcaino (elbow reconstruction surgery) had Tommy John Surgery on March 20, and will be out the remainder of the season.

Miami Marlins: Austin Kearns (right hamstring strain) was placed on the disabled list on May 24. Emilio Bonafacio (left thumb) is expected to have surgery on May 25. Jose Ceda (ligament tear in right elbow) had Tommy John Surgery on April 12, and will be out the remainder of the season.

New York Mets: Miguel Batista (strained lower back) was placed on the disabled list on May 20. Jason Bay (rib fracture) is expected to start DHing in rehab games on May 27. Ruben Tejada (right quad strain) took part in running drills on May 24. Josh Thole (concussion) is expected to catch for the first time on May 25. Chris Young (torn right anterior capsule) makes his next rehab start on May 25.  Pedro Beato (right shoulder stiffness) pitched for Class A on May 22. Mike Pelfrey (partial tear of ulnar collateral ligament) is currently on the disabled list, as of April 24, and had Tommy John Surgery on it to end his season.

Philadelphia Phillies: Justin De Fratas (sprained right elbow) is scheduled to resume a throwing program on May 25. Lance Nix (calf) was able to walk but not run as of May 19. Chase Utley (left knee) ran and fielded grounders on May 17. Michael Martinez (right foot fracture) is taking live batting practice as of May 16. Ryan Howard (recovering from Achilles surgery) is fielding, throwing, and hitting as of May 16. Vance Worley (right elbow inflammation, bone chips in elbow) was placed on the disabled list on May 16, retroactive to May 12. Jim Thome (strained lower back) is taking live batting practice as of May 16. Michael Stutes (mild rotator cuff strain) was shut down for 2-3 weeks as of May 11. David Herndon (right elbow inflammation) was placed on the disabled list on May 1, retroactive to April 30.

Washington Nationals: Stephen Strasburg (arm tightness) is not expected to miss a start. Mike Morse (right lat strain) is expected to start extended spring training on May 25. Brad Lidge (abdominal wall strain) threw a bullpen session on May 23. Ryan Mattheus (Plantar fascia strain in left foot) was placed on the disabled list on May 22, retroactive to May 21. Mark DeRosa (left oblique strain) started baseball activities on May 17. Drew Storen (bone chips in right elbow) made 100 throws from flat ground on May 16. Sandy Leon (sprained right ankle) was placed on the disabled list on May 15. Wilson Ramos (torn ACL) was placed on the disabled list on May 13, and was transferred to the 60-day disabled list on May 15. He is out for the season. Jayson Werth (broken left wrist) was placed on the disabled after undergoing surgery. He is expected to be out at least 10-12 weeks. Christopher Marrero (torn next hamstring, shoulder) is having lingering hamstring and shoulder issues. Cole Kimball (recovering from right shoulder surgery) had surgery in July of 2011, and won’t return until July at the earliest.

Upcoming Weekend Schedule

Now, let’s take a look at the upcoming series for these teams:

Atlanta Braves VS Washington Nationals

Miami Marlins VS San Francisco Giants

New York Mets VS San Diego Padres

Philadelphia Phillies @ St. Louis Cardinals

Washington Nationals @ Atlanta Braves