NL East Update: Ryan Madson is down and out

The Phillies were dealt a big blow to their bullpen with the news that Ryan Madson will miss the next 8 weeks with a broken right big toe.

Days after their impressive series win against division rival New York, where they took the last two of three, the only thing that has been getting the Phillies any attention was a 17-year old fan getting tasered in front of 45,000 fans, and now this. As you can see by the picture in the link (which by the way isn’t actually his toe), it can be a pretty gruesome injury, and it doesn’t help that it is the toe that Madson pushes off of from the rubber. You can add Madson to the list that already has Brade Lidge and JC Romero, of Phillie relievers that will miss significant time due to injury. All of a sudden, Jose Contreras may be the biggest X-factor on the Phillie pitching staff as his number will be called much more. Nelson Figueroa will also see significant playing time meaning that Philadelphia will put their trust in two aged castoffs, trying to make one last impact in the major leagues…this is certainly their time to make a final statement.

With a 0-5 record and a 5.47 ERA, one can rightfully assume that maybe Kenshin Kawakami just isn’t that good, but in this article Braves Blast defends the struggling right hander.

Braves Blast couldn’t have said it better. It doesn’t matter who you have out there; any starter that gets 1.25 run support will not win games (except if your name is Roy Halladay of course). You have to feel for Kawakami because the team leader in wins with 4 is Derek Lowe, who has an equally bad ERA of 5.18…funny how cruel baseball can be sometimes. Last season with a 3.86 ERA, Kawakami collected 7 wins and proved that he doesn’t have to be the type of pitcher that blows hitters away to be a quality starter in the league. There comes a point where a pitchers win-loss record is a reflection of his teams hitters, and right now, the Braves hitters are not looking too good.

Marlin Maniac plays a little “buy or sell” on the performances of some Marlin hitters.

It’s always fun reading other people’s thoughts on whether or not they think someone is “for real”. The “Maniac” seems to be right on point with his judgments on these early performances, especially Chris Coughlan, who despite his .188 average will not stay in his slump for too much longer. The most interesting performance to look at is Jorge Cantus power. With 6 home runs and 26 RBI, he is right on pace with the type of numbers he has been putting up since arriving to Florida. The Marlins found their everyday first baseman in University of Miami alum Gaby Sanchez, whose notable performance so far this season has Marlin fans thinking he is the real deal. Sanchez’s numbers at the plate rank a little above the average line of others at the position and also ranks in the top ten for doubles in the NL with 8 two baggers.

With their starters and relievers exceeding expectations, the Mets turn their attention to their weak bench, where their pinch hitters are hitting a weak .178.

With Gary Matthews Jr. and Frank Catalanotto getting a majority of the at bats in pinch hitting situations, it is no surprise to me that the Mets rank in the bottom half of the National League in this category. With Chris Carter, Nick Evans, and several others having a productive season down in Triple AAA, many fans have been wondering why there hasn’t been any talk or speculation about making a move to shake up the Mets bench. Some say Matthews and Catalanotto are not getting a fair shot to prove themselves because they only get one at bat a game maybe every other day, but to be honest, that’s the whole trick with pinch hitting, the good ones don’t let those opportunities slip by because if they can’t do it, there will be someone else who does.

Federal Baseball profiles the Nationals Luis Atilano, the former Braves prospect they got in exchange for Darryl Ward.

You have to like the direction the Nationals are headed with their pitching. Paired up with Strasburg and John Lannan, the Nationals may have a top of the line starting rotation in a few years. If they pick up a few quality free agents here and there who knows where this all will go. Atilano is a strike thrower who has movement on all of his pitches. He has impressed manager Jim Riggleman with his cool, calm, and collected manner not just during spring training, but in his 2 starts he has made for Washington going 6 innings and picking up the win in both games. With Strasburg getting all of the attention from Nationals fans and media, remember to keep your eye on Atilano, who is expected to be right there with him.