Braves may lead NL East, but can they sustain extended run of success

After a 4-3 extra-inning win Sunday, the Braves lead the Nationals by 8 ½ games in the National League East. So why does it seem the Nationals have the advantage as the season's second half approaches? It's because the Nationals have a more reliable rotation. The Braves have been white-hot during June, but they are doing it with an offense that averages more than seven ... read more

Examining the market for O's Trey Mancini

Last season at this time, the Orioles were gearing up to trade the likes of Manny Machado, Zack Britton, Kevin Gausman and Jonathan Schoop. This year, the question is whether likely All-Star Trey Mancini is next on the list to be traded as the Orioles continue to stockpile prospects in the second year of a rebuild. "We're not looking to part with Trey,'' Orioles general ... read more

Other teams' pitching issues could help Nats climb back into NL East race

On May 25, the Nationals were a fourth-place team, 21-31 and 10 games out in the National League East. Since then, the Nationals have gone 9-4 to cut the deficit to seven games. They split four games over the weekend in San Diego. It's not easy to pick up ground on four teams in one division. But, it's only June. The NL East looks like ... read more

With draft comes second wave of free agent chatter concerning Kimbrel, Keuchel

A second season of free agent speculation is upon us, but it's probably not going to be prolonged. Starter Dallas Keuchel and closer Craig Kimbrel are hot commodities among contenders now that the draft is here. That's because the Astros with Keuchel and the Red Sox with Kimbrel offered each of them a one-year, $17.9 million qualifying offer last winter. Each player rejected the offer ... read more

Like rebuilding Orioles, Marlins are experiencing growing pains

Last December, about a month before he died, pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre helped his son, Mel Jr., with a decision about his job. Junior couldn't decide among several offers about what pitching-coach job to take for the 2019 season. Senior advised Junior to take the Marlins' offer because he was comfortable with team owner Derek Jeter and manager Don Mattingly, given their connections with the ... read more

On the rebound: Checking out stellar comebacks around the major leagues

Baseball has turned into an all-or-nothing, strikeout-or-hit-a-home run game, but not all players are with the program. Check out the Dodgers' Cody Bellinger. In his previous two seasons, Bellinger has been all or nothing. In 2017, he hit 39 home runs with 146 strikeouts in 480 at-bats. The following season, the numbers were 25, 151 and 557. Now Bellinger, the son of former big league ... read more

Surprise! Unheralded players are making their marks, raising some eyebrows

In 2011, outfielder Dwight Smith Jr. was a first-round draft pick by the Blue Jays. Then, after hitting. .268 in seven minor league seasons for the Blue Jays, he was traded March 8 to Baltimore for international slot money the Orioles weren't going to use anyway. When he arrived in spring training in Sarasota, Fla., he was projected as outfield depth on an Orioles roster ... read more

Nationals' issues negated by other NL East teams with their own problems

The Nationals' first month of the season has been mediocre, but they are lucky none of the other three teams expected be National League East contenders are playing well either. The Mets and Braves can score, but each has pitching issues, the Mets in the rotation and the Braves in the bullpen. And the Nationals' bullpen struggles are documented well, although Erick Fedde and the ... read more