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MLB News Update: National League East as of August 14, 2013

1. Atlanta Braves (73-47) 2. Washington Nationals (58-60) 3. New York Mets (54-63) 4. Philadelphia Phillies (53-66)

As of August 14, 2013

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The Atlanta Braves are cruising in the National League East.

With about a month and a half remaining in the baseball season it’s pretty much all wrapped up for the Braves. They’re the only team over .500 in the division and have a 14 game lead over the second place Washington Nationals. They lost Tim Hudson for the rest of the season but they got Brandon Beachy back and the right hander has gotten better with each start. He was roughed up real bad in his initial outing, and then allowed three earned runs in 6 1/3 innings in his second start, before shutting out the Marlins through eight innings and allowing just three hits. He'll get the ball again on Wednesday night as Atlanta looks to take two of three from the Philadelphia Phillies. Kris Medlen put up a great effort in Tuesday night’s win to improve his record to 10-10 on the season. Chris Johnson chipped in his ninth home run of the year. The Braves are now 26 games over .500 on the year and if they haven’t already they’ll look to really clinch the division this weekend when they host the Nationals.

MLB News Update: National League East as of August 14, 2013

Kevin Liles-USA TODAY Sports

Washington is on a four game winning streak but they’re still just 58-60 on the year. They’re 8.5 games behind the Cincinnati Reds for the final Wild Card spot but they don’t have any head-to-head meetings remaining with them this season. Stephen Strasburg threw the first complete game shutout of his career against the Phillies on Sunday but is just 6-9 on the season. They need to find a way to take these next two games against the Giants and then sweep the Braves over the weekend if they want to stay alive in this division race. Still, it’s unlikely they’ve got much hope for the post season this year and after the expectations coming into the season you wonder if Davey Johnson’s job is in jeopardy. Jayson Werth continues to be the bright spot in a lineup that has severely underachieved all year long. Considering how well Bryce Harper started it’s pretty amazing that he’s batting just .262 on the year. He’s got 17 home runs but just 40 RBI’s on the year, something that’s pretty difficult to do. Add in all the injuries he’s suffered this year and you wonder if this kid’s body is going to be able to hold up over the course of his career.

The New York Mets took two of three from the Arizona Diamondbacks over the weekend but now they’ve run into the hottest team in baseball in Los Angeles. The best news from the weekend was Zack Wheeler turned in another strong performance and did so without walking a batter. His control has been his biggest problem thus far and so it was nice to see him challenging hitters with a fast ball, getting ahead in counts, and not giving in. Jenrry Mejia turned in another strong start on Monday night but was victimized by poor play in the field from Daniel Murphy in the seventh inning. Murphy couldn’t handle a tricky ground ball to his right to start the inning and then misplayed a line drive at him. It ended up costing Mejia the win despite tossing six more strong innings. Matt Harvey struggled on Tuesday night as he allowed four earned runs and the Mets fell to 54-63 on the year. They’ll look to steal one game in this series with Dillon Gee on the mound on Wednesday night before they head to San Diego for four this weekend.

Philadelphia announced that they resigned Chase Utley to a two year contract extension but they better hope that he’s able to stay on the field along with the rest of the aging, high priced veterans. Between Utley, Cliff Lee, Roy Halladay, and Ryan Howard they’ve got a lot of money tied up in guys who are getting older and have trouble staying in the lineup. They’re now 13 games under .500 and in fourth place in the National League East which can’t make anyone in the organization happy given the expectations heading into the year. Cody Asche has hit two home runs since being called up but he’s batting just .209 over his first 43 at bats. If he can prove something over the final month and a half and give them a young bat that can play third base it would help out a lot heading into next year. Philadelphia will start a 10 game home stand against the Dodgers, Rockies, and Diamondbacks after finishing up their series with the Braves on Wednesday.

In Miami the Marlins keep witnessing dominant performances from 21 year old Jose Fernandez. The electric right hander is three games over .500 on a team that is 28 games under. He’s given up just seven earned runs in his last six starts and has 149 strike outs in 139 2/3 innings pitched this year. Christian Yelich had three hits in yesterday’s game against the Kansas City Royals to bring his average up to .299 through 87 at bats. The results haven’t been as good for Jake Marisnick who has just 13 hits in 70 at bats in his first 20 games in the big leagues. Miami returns home to start a 10 game home stand against the Giants, Dodgers, and Rockies after Wednesday afternoon’s game with the Royals. 

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