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N. L. East: Nationals Crashing

The defending N. L. East champs, the Washington Nationals are fading fast. After losing to the Miami Marlins for the second straight night, the Nats are now only a half game up on the third place Philadelphia Phillies. What went wrong in Washington?

It likely started last year when they lost a heartbreaker in Game Seven of their National League Division Series to the St. Louis Cardinals. It is often very difficult to recover from such a crushing postseason loss. It is understandable, especially in baseball where going back to the beginning is a 162 game grind. It must seem like a long way to get back to the postseason. The Nationals just have not resembled last year’s team. Steven Strasburg is not anywhere close to the dominant pitcher he was before Tommy John surgery. Third baseman Ryan Zimmerman is no longer the gold glove at the hot corner he once was. Bryce Harper is hitting only .265 with 29 RBIs. Can you say “sophomore slump? Jordan Zimmerman is 12-4 and Gio González is 7-3. After that, it really drops off.

The Phillies can move into second place with a win over the ChicagoWhite Sox on Sunday if the Marlins win over the Nate again. A few weeks ago, it looked like the Phillies would be a “seller” at the trade deadline. It will be an interesting couple of weeks to see what will happen if they are into second place. They still would have virtually no chance at the wild card and are still 7.5 games behind the Atlanta Braves. The Braves have run into some injury problems though. They’re entire starting outfield of Jason Hayward, B. J. Upton, and Justin Upton has come up limping since last Thursday. The All Star Break could not be coming at a better time for the Braves.

The New York Mets will be worth watching the rest of the way to see how well Zach Wheeler, Matt Harvey and Dillon Gee pitch the rest of the way. The Mets have the makings of a dominant rotation in the near future. Hopefully, they can stay healthy and not run into the problems the Nate are having with Strasburg.

it will also be interesting to see why the Marlins do at the deadline. They have been a team more than willing to dump a star player to get him off the payroll. Will they do it again with Giancarlo Stanton and Ricky Nolasco.

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