The Atlanta Braves are in first place in the NL East for the first time this season. Philadelphia, New York and Miami all had losing weeks while Washington played .500 ball. Here is this week’s NL East rundown. For those that missed last week’s issue, click here.
1) Atlanta Braves (42-30) (6-1 in the past week) (Last week ranked 2)
Atlanta has won 12 of their last 15 and are now atop the NL East. They swept the Pittsburgh Pirates and took two of three from the Phillies.
On Sunday, they beat the rival Phillies 15-1 behind Ronald Acuna Jr. who went 4-5 with two RBIs, and scored four runs. Mike Foltynewicz was impressive as he only gave up one run through six innings. He gave up only four hits, walked five, and struck out six as he improved to 2-5 on the year. Foltynewicz is heading in the right direction after a rough start to the season.
Atlanta has a tough week ahead as they have match-ups with their divisional foes Washington and the New York Mets. Another winning week can help the Braves separate from the pack.
2) Philadelphia Phillies (39-32) (2-4 in the past week) (Last week ranked 1)
The Phillies had a rocky week as they lost two of three to both the Arizona Diamondbacks and Atlanta.
They have a pinnacle match up with Washington that starts Monday. Philly cannot afford to lose this series as they will fall even farther behind the Braves who are heating up. Philly has lost 10 of their last 16 and have a chance against an underachieving Washington team to rebound against.
Monday’s matchup will showcase Jake Arrieta against Patrick Corbin. Arrieta is 6-5 with a 4.31 ERA and 70 strikeouts. Washington is hitting .268 against the Cy Young winner so he will need to bring his best in order to give his team a fighting chance.
3) New York Mets (34-37) (2-4 in the past week) (Last week ranked 3)
New York has lost 10 of their last 17 and to make matters worst, just placed Syndergaard on the IL. He injured his hamstring in Saturday’s game.
Peter Alonzo has picked up the slack as he hit his 23rd home run. The Mets’ rookie slugger has provided a breath of fresh air as the rest of the offense has started to go down with injuries.
The Mets need ace Jacob deGrom to return to his Cy Young form while Syndergaard is on the IL. deGrom has slowly started to return to form as he has a 2.29 ERA with 25 strikeouts in the month of June. deGrom will be called on to bail out the offense once again until more starters can return from the IL.
4) Washington Nationals (33-38) (3-3 in the past week) (Last week ranked 4)
Washington split both of their series with the Chicago White Sox and Arizona. Washington will need to put together another run and cannot afford to play .500 the rest of the season. They put themselves in too big of a hole to continue .500 play.
This week Washington has crucial match-ups against the Phillies and Braves. Winning both of these series is a great way to get back in the playoff race and get the team closer to being above .500.
Bryce Harper returns to D.C. on Monday for a four-game series. He will have another matchup against Max Scherzer and that will be a must-see showdown.
5) Miami Marlins (25-44) (2-4 in the past week) (Last week ranked 5)
Miami lost two of three to both the St. Louis Cardinals and the Pirates. Despite another losing week, Miami was shown some glimpses of hope.
Jordan Yamamoto made his MLB debut on Wednesday and was lights out. He threw seven shutout innings, giving up only three hits, walked two, and struck out five. The 23-year-old was given a chance due to Jose Urena landing on the IL. Yamamoto was one of the prospects the Marlins received in the Christian Yelich trade.
NL East Player of the week
Matt Adams, Washington- This week Adams hit .333 with three home runs and eight RBI’s. On Sunday he hit a three-run homer and a grand slam against the Diamondback as the Nats won 15-5. Adams has provided a boost at first base while Zimmerman has been on the IL.
Washington has been able to platoon Adams with Howie Kendrick at first to keep Adams fresh. He has also provided power off the bench that has been beneficial.
Honorable Mentions- Ronald Acuna Jr, Jordan Yamamoto.
Atlanta Braves- Placed Kevin Gausman on the 10 day IL with plantar fasciitis in his right foot.
Miami Marlins- Placed Martin Prado on the 10 day IL with right hamstring tightness.
New York Mets- Robinson Cano returned Sunday after missing time with left quad soreness.
Noah Syndergaard was placed on the 10 day IL with a strained right hamstring.
Philadelphia Phillies- Pat Neshek threw a bullpen session on June 14. He has been out since May 25th with a right shoulder strain.
Washington Nationals- Ryan Zimmerman hopes to begin running soon. He has been out since April 28th with plantar fasciitis.
NL East Headlines
Sean Newcomb hit in the head by a ball- Atlanta Braves starter Sean Newcomb was hit in the back of the head by a 102 mph ball hit off of the bat by J.T. Realmuto on Saturday. Newcomb left the game and was evaluated but it has been reported he probably won’t be spending any time on the IL. Newcomb had this to say about the incident. “I’ve had some [high school] football hits that were harder than that,”. “I’ve had a few concussions. Right away, when it hit me in the head and I was down on the ground, I popped up, and I knew I was alright. I knew it wasn’t too, too bad.”
NL East rookies on a tear- The NL East has a couple of stud rookies on their hands. Peter Alonzo of the Mets, Austin Riley of the Braves, and Victor Robles of the Nationals are prime examples.
Alonzo hit his 23rd home run of the year and is hitting .263 with an OPS of .958. He is the reason the Mets are still hanging around .500 despite the injuries to the offense.
Riley has 11 homers in only 121 at-bats. He is hitting .298 with an OPS of .964 and has the Braves in first place.
Robles is hitting .234 with nine homers and has an OPS of .705. Despite his low offensive numbers, he has provided a boost to the defense and has the range and speed to make catches most can’t.
All three are must-watch players and will be battling it out for the foreseeable future.
Feature Image From Bleacher Report
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