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NL East Rundown: Week 15

NL East

Week 15 is over and the All-Star break is upon us. Atlanta enters the break in first place with Washington and Philadelphia only 6.0 and 6.5 games back respectively. New York has a lot of catching up to do if they want to make the postseason. Miami is in the process of trying to get the most out of their young players and see how much longer the rebuild will take. Now without further ado, here is this week’s NL East Rundown. For those that missed last week, click here.

Power Rankings

1) Atlanta Braves (54-37) (4-3 in the past week) (Last week ranked 1)

NL East
Image courtesy of The Washington Post.

Atlanta has a six-game lead in the NL East heading into the All-Star break. They took two of three from both the Phillies and Marlins.

Dallas Keuchel who the Braves are expecting to put them over the top, went 1-1 this week. In his two starts this week, he went 14.1/3 innings, gave up four runs, struck out five, and only walked two. He lost to the Phillies on Tuesday, but was able to defeat the Marlins on Sunday. Once Keuchel returns to form, he will be the X factor for the Braves, as they look to expand their division lead.

2) Washington Nationals (47-42) (5-1 in the past week) (Last week ranked 3)

For the second straight week, Washington has gone 5-1. They swept the Marlins and took two of three from the Kansas City Royals.

Washington enters the All-Star break in the first Wild Card spot and have half a game lead over the Chicago Cubs and Phillies who are tied for the second wildcard spot. Washington was almost dead in the water as they were 19-31 on May 23rd. Since then they have gone 28-11.

A big reason for Washington’s turnaround has been their pitching staff. Max Scherzer and Patrick Corbin threw back to back seven-inning shutouts with 11 strikeout’s a piece on Saturday and Sunday. The Nats won both of those games over the struggling Royals.

3) Philadelphia Phillies (47-43) (3-3 in the past week) (Last week ranked 2)

Philly lost two of three to the Braves before they took two of three from the Mets. They enter the break tied with the Cubs for the second wildcard spot and only half a game behind the Nat’s for the first spot.

It has been a tough week for Jake Arrieta. He hit Todd Frazier with a pitch which Frazier did not take too kindly. Frazier was ejected after letting Arrieta and the umpires know how he felt. After the game, Arrieta responded to the exchange with Frazier and had this to say.

If that wasn’t bad enough, the next day Arrieta told his manager Gabe Kapler that he has bone spurs in his right elbow. Over the break, Arrieta will be checked to see if he needs to have surgery or if he can wait till after the season ends. Arrieta is an important piece in the rotation and brings a veteran presence that the team will need for the stretch run.

4) New York Mets (40-50) (3-3 in the past week) (Last week ranked 4)

The Mets split a two-game series with their in-town rival, the New York Yankees and then lost two of three to the Phillies.

The Mets front office held a meeting to discuss the team’s current turmoil. The meeting did not go well as reports came out GM Brodie Van Wagenen threw a chair.

Despite this, the All-Star break comes at the perfect time for the Mets. Now the team can rest and mentally prepare for the second half. The Mets still have time to turn their season around as they are only seven games out of the wildcard spot. But they will need to stop beating themselves if this is to happen.

5) Miami Marlins (33-55) (1-5 in the past week) (Last week ranked 5)

NL East
Image courtesy of Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

Miami went 1-5 this week as they were swept by the Nats and lost two of three to the Braves. Miami was able to see how their young pitchers fared against two of the better teams in the NL.

Jordan Yamamoto, who the team acquired in the Christian Yelich trade, continued to make the best of his opportunity. On Friday against the Braves, Yamamoto went six shutout innings. He only gave up two hits, walked three, and struck out seven. Despite having a fastball that is in the low 90’s, Yamamoto is able to fool opposing hitters with his off-speed pitches. On the season Yamamoto is 3-0, with an ERA of 1.24 and 30 strikeouts in five starts.

Yamamoto as well as teammates Sandy Alcantara, and Zac Gallen are all 23 and showcase the young pitching talent the team possesses. If all three continue to trend upwards, Miami will have an impressive pitching staff for years to come.

NL East Player of the week

Jay Bruce, Philadelphia Phillies-

NL East
Image courtesy of The Philadelphia Inquirer.

The Phillies slugger hit .261 this week with three home runs and nine RBIs. Bruce made his return to City Field and was held relatively quiet in the first two games. But on Sunday Bruce exploded as he went 3-4 with two home runs and four RBIs as the Phillies went on to win 8-3. Bruce finished the series 5-13, with three home runs and seven RBIs.

On the season Bruce is hitting .212., with 16 home runs and 32 RBIs. Bruce will be leaned on in the stretch run to provide power at the plate as well as his veteran leadership.

Honorable mention- Freddie Freeman, Max Scherzer

Injuries

Atlanta Braves- Anthony Swarzak was placed on the 10 day IL on June 30 with right shoulder inflammation.

Miami Marlins- Garett Cooper left the game early on June 6th. He is day to day with leg cramps.

New York Mets- J.D. Davis is day to day with an illness. He was not in the lineup on July 3rd as well as July 5-6.

Philadelphia Phillies- Juan Nicasio was placed on the 10 day IL on July 4 with a left groin strain.

Washington Nationals- Anthony Rendon pulled out of the All-Star game. Said he is battling a left hamstring and left quad tightness.

Trade Rumors

NL East Headlines

Anthony Rendon contract talks continue- Mike Rizzo and super-agent Scott Boras met Saturday during Washington’s game against the Royals. The two discussed a contract extension between Rendon and the team. Rendon is the best position player in the 2019 free agent class. Losing him the year after Bryce Harper left would be a huge blow to the franchise.

Odubel Herrera suspended 85 games- Odubel Herrera was suspended by the MLB for 85 games following his domestic abuse case. The charges were dropped in court, but the league still passed down their verdict. Rob Manfred, the commissioner of baseball had this to say.

The suspension will carry over to the beginning of next season.

 

Feature Image From Bleacher Report

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