NL East Update: The one where baseballs best gather in Phoenix for 82nd Edition of MLB All-Star Game

Congratulations to Roy Halladay who will start for the National League in today’s 2011 MLB All-Star Game.

Some can argue that Jair Jurrjens deserved it but with several starters in the NL having great seasons, there really wasn’t a wrong choice. Plus, each pitcher generally throws just one inning anyway. This is still “Halladay’s Time”, meaning we are in the midst of his prime where someone younger like Jurrjens may have to wait a few years for his.

Chop-N-Change gives us the Atlanta Braves Mid-Season Report.

The Braves are right where most people thought they would be, a few games out of first place with a firm grasp on the NL Wild Card. Its how they got to this point that has everyone scratching their heads. If I had told you Dan Uggla and Jason Heyward would be more of a liability than a strength and that Craig Kimbrel would be one of the more dominant closers in the league, would you have believed me?…Probably not. It will be interesting to see if those two can bounce back after a disappointing first half.

Gaby Sanchez of the Florida Marlins has made a name for himself in a league thats loaded with talented first basemen.

Good for Sanchez, who basically carried this team when they were actually winning ballgames early in the year. With Hanley Ramirez having an off year and no other true offensive threat in the lineup, Sanchez has batted .293 with 15 home runs and 50 RBI. Its been great to watch him develop basically coming from nowhere to emerging as an All-Star just a couple short years later.

Mike Pelfrey of the New York Mets gets the feeling one of his teammates will be traded by the trading deadline at the end of July.

I think Pelfrey is correct in his assumption and I think it may be one of the names that have not been talked about much like a Tim Byrdak or a Francisco Rodriquez, meaning I think Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran will stay. It is yet to be seen if the Mets will be considered contenders by the trading deadline, but one would think GM Sandy Alderson is definitely fielding some offers already.

Pitching has carried the Washington Nationals to a .500 record at the All-Star break, but when will the hitting start to turn it around?

The Nationals rotation has a lot to be happy about, as they have exceeded all expectations. The bullpen has also been fantastic with the unstoppable tag-team in the 8th and 9th with All-Star Tyler Clippard handing the ball off to Drew Storen. But the offense has me shaking my head and very concerned. Its great that Danny Espinosa has been having the year he’s put together, but the Nationals cannot afford to have him be their most productive offensive player when he should actually be their third or fourth most productive. I know Ryan Zimmerman missed sometime with an injury and has only appeared in 34 games but I had hoped he would bring a little more positive energy and spark the lineup when he returned. Also, what else is there to say about Jayson Werth’s dismal performance? Its one of the biggest mysteries in baseball and sadly there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight for this season at least.