Chopcast: Braves running away with NL East
ATLANTA -- Two convincing sweeps. One substantial division lead.
Following a dominant seven-day stretch of Braves baseball -- the team's best effort since its 12-1 start -- the NL East is the least competitive division in baseball at the moment. The Braves are the only team with a winning record.
The second-place Nationals are not only four games below .500, but they are just 4-9 since the All-Star break and showing few signs of playoff-bound life. The third-place Phillies are in even worse shape, losing nine of their past 10 games. The Mets' and Marlins' respective records speak for themselves.
In the meantime, the Braves put together their winningest month (15-11) since April behind the efforts of an ever-improving pitching staff, Chris Johnson (NL batting leader), Brian McCann and Andrelton Simmons (2.7 combined July WAR), among others. So, is the NL East race over? And if so, which potential playoff matchups best suit the Braves? Our Braves writers -- Zach Dillard, Cory McCartney and Jay Clemons -- discuss that and more on the latest Chopcast. Here are the highlights:
-- What has been the most impressive aspect of the Braves recent seven-game winning streak? Is this the best the team has looked in 2013?
-- Is Julio Teheran the team's future No. 1 starter? If the Braves make a playoff appearance, what game should he start? How would Fredi Gonzalez construct his a playoff rotation?
-- Which prospective playoff opponent (Dodgers, Cardinals, Reds, Pirates, Diamondbacks) should the Braves hope to land? Is the No. 1 seed in the National League feasible?