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NL East Rundown: Week 18

NL East

Week 18 has come to a close and the NL playoff race is still a jumbled mess. Atlanta has kept their lead in the NL East, while Washington and Philly are currently struggling. The Mets, on the other hand, are red hot while the Marlins are continuing to check the progress of their young players. 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 (66-47) (4-3 in the past week) (Last week ranked 1)

NL East
Image courtesy of The Athletic

Atlanta took two of three against Washington before they split a four-game series with the Cincinnati Reds.

The Braves have not slowed down despite the injuries to Dansby Swanson and Nick Markakis. Adam Duvall was called up and has picked up the slack. So far in nine games played since being called up, he is hitting .400 with five home runs, and eight RBI’s. Duvall hit two homers against the Nationals as he helped his team win a crucial match up. He has provided a spark the team needed after the injuries and does not look like he is slowing down anytime soon.

2) Washington Nationals (58-53 ) (2-4 in the past week) (Last week ranked 2)

Washington lost two of three to both the Braves and Arizona Diamondbacks.

Stephen Strasburg and Patrick Corbin had rough outings against the Diamondbacks. Strasburg gave up nine runs as he only lasted 4.2/3 innings. Arizona hit four home runs off of him. Corbin gave up five runs in 5.1/3 innings to his former team. With Max Scherzer out, Strasburg and Corbin need to step up and neither did that.

Washington has a crucial week as they face the surging Giants and Mets. They have no room for error with the NL wildcard race being so close. This week will show what the Nationals are capable of.

3) Philadelphia Phillies (58-53) (3-3 in the past week) (Last week ranked 3)

Image courtesy of Phillies Nation.

The Phillies took two of three from the San Fransisco Giants before losing two of three to the Chicago White Sox.

Mikael Franco was demoted to Triple-A, while Scott Kingery will take over at third. Franco has struggled as of late, and is hitting .231, with 15 home runs and 47 RBI’s on the season. He jumped out to a hot start to the season but has come back to earth. Hopefully, Franco can rebound in the minors and come back for the stretch run rejuvenated.

4) New York Mets (55-56) (5-1 in the past week) (Last week ranked 4)

The Mets swept the Chicago White Sox in a three-game series and then took two of three from the Pittsburgh Pirates.

New York has been red hot since the All-Star break and have won nine of their last ten. On July 12, the team was 11 games under .500. Now they are one game under and are only three games behind the second wildcard. While winning the division is a long shot at this point, snagging a wild card spot is no longer a dream. The Mets have offense has rebounded and Jacob deGrom leads the pitching staff. New York has a key series against the Nationals this coming week, which will show where the team stands in the playoff race.

5) Miami Marlins (42-67) (2-4 in the past week) (Last week ranked 5)

Miami won the series finale against Arizona, then lost two of three to the Minnesota Twins, and then were swept in a two-game series by the Tampa Bay Rays.

The team is calling up Isan Diaz and Lewis Brinson, both of whom were acquired in the Christian Yelich trade. Diaz is hitting .305 with a whopping 26 home runs, and 70 RBI’s at Triple A. Starling Castro will move over to third base to make room for the 23-year-old at second.

Brinson struggled in the majors, but has proven that he deserves another shot after dominating at Triple A. He hit .270 with 16 home runs, 56 RBI’s and 16 stolen bases. Miami is hoping that Brinson will prove himself this time around.

NL East Player of the week

NL East
Image courtesy of numberFire.

Jeff McNeil, New York Mets-

This week McNeil hit .300, with two homers, three RBI’s and scored six runs. McNeil has played a huge part in the Mets turn around. He leads the NL in batting average with .334 and is only in his second season.

Honorable mention- Juan Soto, Ronald Acuna Jr., Adam Duvall.

Injuries

Atlanta Braves- Dansby Swanson has been on the 10 day IL since July 27 with a right heel contusion. He was taking batting practice, throwing, and completing other baseball activities as of Saturday. On Friday he felt soreness in his heel when he was running.

Miami Marlins- Neil Walker left the game early on Saturday after he jammed his right index finger. He was not in the starting lineup on Sunday.

New York Mets- Robinson Cano left the game early on Sunday with a left hamstring strain.

Philadelphia Phillies- Adam Morgan was placed on the 10 day IL Friday, retroactive to Thursday. He suffered a flexor strain in his left arm.

Washington Nationals-  Roenis Elias was placed on the 10 day IL Sunday, retroactive to Saturday. He suffered a right hamstring strain.

Trade Rumors

The NL East was busy at the deadline. Atlanta and Washington both made a flurry of trades for relief help. Atlanta traded for Shane Greene, Mark Melancon, and Chris Martin. Washington was able to land Hunter Strickland, Daniel Hudson, and Roenis Elias. The next two months will test who improved their bullpen more.

The New York Mets traded Jason Vargas to the Phillies and then acquired Marcus Stroman from the Toronto Blue Jays. The Phillies landed Corey Dickinson from the Pittsburgh Pirates, and the Marlins sent out closer Sergio Romo to the Minnesota Twins. Miami continues to restock their farm system while everyone else is going for it.

 

 

Feature Image From Bleacher Report

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