Week 9 has come and gone and the Phillies lead in the NL East is down to one game. Philly has lost four straight while Atlanta has won their last two to make this a tight division race. Washington has won seven of their last 10 but are still 7.5 games behind. The Mets are only five back despite losing six of their last 10, while Miami is just around for the ride. Now without further ado, here is this week’s NL East rundown. For those that missed last week’s issue, click here.
1) Philadelphia Phillies (33-26) (2-4 in the past week) (Last week ranked 1)
The Phillies ended the week on a four-game losing streak. They took two of three against the Cardinals, but were then swept by the Los Angeles Dodgers. Philly had the second best record in the NL behind only the Dodgers heading into the series. The early season sweep shows the distance between the two clubs.
On Sunday afternoon the Phillies executed a trade with the Seattle Mariners for Jay Bruce. The Mariners received minor leaguer Jake Scheiner in the trade. Seattle is also paying about $18 million of Bruce’s contract. Bruce provides power off the bench and can platoon at first base with Rhys Hoskins.
2) Atlanta Braves (32-27) (3-3 in the past week) (Last week ranked 2)
Atlanta started the week winning the rubber-match against the Cardinals before they were swept by the Nationals. Austin Riley was the bright spot in that series as he went 5/8 and homered in both games. The homer during Wednesday’s game was a grand slam, the first of his career.
Atlanta then salvaged the week by taking two of three from the Detroit Tigers. The 21-year-old Mike Soroka continues to dominate for the Braves as he went 6 and 2/3 innings on Saturday. He gave up three runs on seven hits. He struck out five and walked none. Soroka improved to 6-1 with a 1.41 ERA
3) New York Mets (28-31) (2-5 in the past week) (Last week ranked 3)
The Mets have continued to struggle as injuries plague this team. Thankfully Robinson Cano should return soon which will be a huge boost for the offense. Manager Mickey Callaway is on the hot seat as his team lost three of four to the Dodgers and two of three to the Diamondbacks.
Edwin Diaz’s ninth-inning collapse against the Dodgers on Thursday emphasized the team’s current predicament. The Mets led 8-5 heading into the bottom of the ninth as Diaz took over but, unfortunately, he was not on his game. He gave up four runs including two home runs as the Dodgers walked off the Mets 9-8.
New York is only five games behind the Phillies for first in the NL East, but will need to vastly improve if they plan to catch up.
4) Washington Nationals (26-33) (4-2 in the past week) (Last week ranked 4)
Washington has won three straight series as they attempt to climb out of their hole. They started the week off with a loss to the Marlins, but then swept the Braves in a two-game series. Washington then finished the week taking two of three from the Reds.
Max Scherzer threw a gem and finally received some run support on Sunday. He went eight innings, giving up one run on three hits, walked one, and struck out 15.
The only pitchers in @MLB history with more 15+ K games than Max Scherzer:
Randy Johnson (HoF)
Nolan Ryan (HoF)
Pedro Martinez (HoF)
Sandy Koufax (HoF) pic.twitter.com/PRKeZLSKZG
— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) June 2, 2019
This was Scherzer’s sixth career 15+ strikeout game.
Scherzer threw 120 pitches and ended his outing on a three-pitch strikeout to slugger Joey Votto. This was a step in the right direction as the Nats needed to start winning games in which Scherzer pitched if they wanted to catch the Phillies.
5) Miami Marlins (20-36) (Sunday’s game ended late) (4-2 in the past week) (Last week ranked 5)
The Marlins started the week by defeating the Nationals to prevent a sweep. They then went to take two of three from the San Fransisco Giants and are currently tied with the San Diego Padres one game apiece. The rubber match ended late.
Jose Urena is on a hot streak as he has won his last three starts. He beat Washington and San Francisco this week as he improved to 4-6 with a 4.14 ERA. Miami will monitor Urena’s trade value going forward.
NL East Player of the week
Austin Riley, Atlanta Braves- The 22-year-old rookie phenom had another phenomenal week as he hit .368, with three home runs, and an OPS of 1.271. He hit his first career grand slam against the Nationals in a 14-4 loss. He homered in both games that series and has eight bombs in 17 games this season.
Riley showcases a glimpse of the young talent in the Braves farm system. He is making the most of his opportunity and showing why he should stay in the majors.
Honorable Mention: Max Scherzer, Jose Urena, Jorge Alfaro.
Miami Marlins- Placed Neil Walker on the 10 day IL with a strained right quad.
New York Mets: Robinson Cano took batting practice, fielded grounders and was seen running. He is attempting a return for early June.
Philadelphia Phillies: Zach Eflin was placed on the 10 day IL on May 31st with back tightness.
Philadelphia Phillies: The Phillies traded for Jay Bruce on Sunday afternoon. The veteran slugger is hitting .212, with 14 home runs and 28 RBI.
Feature Image From Bleacher Report
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