and start worrying about the rest of the division. All of the focus in this city has been on the fact that the Braves are tied for first in the division despite an anemic offensive performance this weekend in Arizona and that the series against the Nats this week should propel the Braves into first place (although with the Braves' current hitting and the Nats' still-strong pitching, nothing is certain.) However, while the Braves are entering the easy part of their schedule (19 of 25 at home, 12 of which are against the weak NL West,) the other teams in the division are also playing games against the West and they are getting fat on those teams. The Marlins, Phillies, and Mets all played Western opponents last week and went a combined 13-5 while the Braves were going 3-3. In the Braves' defense, they were on the road for those games and it's always easier to play Western teams at home, as the Phillies and Mets did, than it is to travel three time zones and play. Anyway, my point is that the Braves' lead over the rest of the division is narrow, those other teams all played well last week, and the Braves' offense needs to pick up for a bunch of very winnable games in August so the team can get fat against the easy part of the schedule.
A few other thoughts:
1. I'm going to try not to read too much into yesterday's game, since the Braves have never hit Javier Vazquez well, dating back to his days with the Expos. That said, six baserunners all day?
2. Did Marcus Giles give us anything on the entire road trip? Between him and Kelly Johnson slumping, it's no wonder that Andruw hit five homers and came away with a whopping 9 RBI last week.
3. I don't want to jinx him, but Horacio Ramirez has been good in four straight starts and six of his last seven. Again, with all of the pitching injuries, he needs to get some credit for staying healthy and keeping the rotation afloat.
4. How is Tony Clark, with a 1.024 OPS and 15 homers and 51 RBI in 185 at-bats, not playing every day? There isn't even a platoon excuse because he's a switch-hitter.