The Mets, Marlins, and Nationals are all three games behind the division-leading Philadelphia Phillies, while the Braves are 2.5 back.

Either this speaks to how good the division is compared to what many thought, or it speaks to how many flaws the Phillies truly have and how average the division is.

Prior to the season, the Phillies were projected to win the East by a majority of the baseball world. The prediction seemed rather accurate when you consider how much success the Phillies have had the past two years, as they have made the World Series in both seasons and won in 2008.

The problems that I and many other NL East followers saw were a less than stellar bullpen with little to no depth and a rotation with more back end types than front end. Injuries have been the biggest problem for the Phillies, but as of late it has surprisingly been their bats that have gone cold rather than their bullpen blowing late leads.

It is only a matter of time until the Phillies get it together at the dish, but with Brad Lidge, Jimmy Rollins, and Ryan Madson on the shelf, it is time for one of the other NL East teams to make a move on the Phillies.

The Braves are in prime position to do so.

With a series against the Marlins coming to a close and Tim Hudson on the mound against Ricky Nolasco, followed by a six-game home stand vs. both Pennsylvania teams, the Pirates and the Phillies, the Braves have a big seven games ahead of them.

With a 13-6 record at home, including six walk-off victories, the Braves have shown that winning in Turner Field is going to be tough for any visitor to do. The Braves put together a good series against the Pirates last week, and with Derek Lowe, Kris Medlen, and Kenshin Kawakami going, it sets the Braves up perfectly against the Phillies with both Tommy Hanson and Hudson getting starts against the division’s top team.

The NL East is all jumbled up right now, and each team must recognize the importance of surpassing the Phillies while they are still rather injured. The Braves still boast the most consistent rotation in the division, making it easy to give them the best shot to hang around until later in the season of the rest of the 24-win NL East teams.

Atlanta has been playing great as of late, and the trend must continue through June, a notoriously rough month for the Braves season after season, if they wish to make the playoffs for the first time since 2005.

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