NL East division leaders play for the first spot

The East division of the National League is once again the weekest in MLB, but unlike previous seasons, the five teams are separated by just a few points. Washington is still in command with 38 victories, but the gap separating them from runner ups Atlanta has been greatly diminished. The Braves made the most of this series and won the first two games to leapfrog the Nationals at the top of the division, but their success was short-lived.
The hosts put up a good fight in the third match and managed to shut down Atlanta, but they were also limited to just three runs. Scoring has been quite difficult for Washington lately and tonight their sluggers will need to step up their game, if they are to defeat Ervin Santana. Under normal circumstances, the visitors would be favorites to win the series with this pitcher on the mound, but Santana is mired in a three games losing streak.
It would be unfair for him to blame his teammates for lack of support, because even though Atlanta scored fewer runs, it was Ervin who suffered a complete meltdown. He allowed 10 runs in the last two games and on both occasions left the manager no choice but to retire him early. A similar performance against the Nationals will cause him to lose his fifth decision and his team will probably get tied up with Miami for the third place.
Philadelphia and the New York Mets sit in the last place with 34 victories, but they could easily close the gap separating them from the leading pack. Dropping points against division rivals is always a problem, but in the south far Eastern division, any mistake could prove catastrophic. Tanner Roark has a positive record, having won six decisions and losing four, but his numbers could’ve been much better.
He has a 2.85 ERA which is significantly better than the one posted by his teammates, but in the absence of enough runs of support, Tanner had to settle for just six wins. As long as he can limit the visitors to less than three runs today, he is entitled to hope for another victory, even if Washington doesn’t improve its offensive overnight. As far as punters are concerned, this final match of the series has a clear favorite, with the Nationals having the better starting pitcher and also momentum on their side.