Week 20 has come to a close and Washington is starting to separate themselves from the rest of the wildcard teams. Atlanta won eight straight and picked up a game over the Nats to increase the division lead to six games. Philadelphia and New York had up and down weeks while the Marlins played spoiler. Now without further ado, here is this week’s NL East Rundown. For those that missed last week, click here.
1) Atlanta Braves (80-52) (6-0 in the past week) (Last week ranked 1)
Atlanta is riding an eight-game win streak as they swept both the Miami Marlins and the New York Mets.
The Braves picked up Fransisco Cervelli off of waivers and signed him to a major league contract. Cervelli missed most of the season after he suffered the sixth concussion of his career back in May. The Pittsburgh Pirates released Cervelli after he asked to go play for a contender. In 34 games this season, Cervelli is hitting .193. Atlanta was in the need of catching help as Brian McCann was recently placed on the 10 day IL. In his first game with the Braves Cervelli delivered, as he went three for three with three RBI’s on Saturday.
2) Washington Nationals (73-57) (6-1 in the past week) (Last week ranked 2)
Washington took three of four from the Pittsburgh Pirates and then continued to stay hot as they swept the Chicago Cubs.
Max Scherzer finally made his return on Thursday against the Pirates and is working on removing the rust. Scherzer was on a pitch count and only lasted four innings. He gave up one run on four hits, walked one and struck out three.
Mad Max told the media that “I just know I’ve got to continue on the program,”. “I’m not out of the woods. I’ve got to still take care of this, got to do all the treatment, got to do all the strengthening and focus on that so I can build up the intensity in the game, so this is an endurance injury on my back, so they’ve got to treat it as such.”
Scherzer will make his next start against the Baltimore Orioles. He will need to use this chance to increase his stamina, as after that he will face the Atlanta Braves in a pivotal four-game series.
3) Philadelphia Phillies (67-62) (3-2 in the past week) (Last week ranked 3)
The Phillies started off the week by sweeping a two-game series with the Boston Red Sox before losing two of three to the Miami Marlins.
Ace Aaron Nola had an inconsistent week as he won his start against Boston but lost to the Marlins. On Tuesday against Boston, Nola lasted seven innings and only gave up two runs. He gave up four hits, walked one, and struck out seven. On Sunday against the Marlins, Nola went seven innings and gave up three runs. He gave up five hits, walked one, and struck out seven. His line was similar to his game against the Red Sox but lost due to a lack of run support. The Phillies pitching staff is very shaky behind Nola. He has to be close to perfect going down the stretch to give his team a chance of staying in the playoff hunt.
4) New York Mets (67-63) (3-3 in the past week) (Last week ranked 4)
New York swept the first-place Cleveland Indians, but then were brought down to earth as they were swept by Atlanta.
Jacob deGrom made history on Friday by becoming the first player since 1900 to strike out 13 and homer in a game twice in a season. deGrom and the Mets went on to tie the record for most strikeouts in a game with 26. Unfortunately, the Mets still lost to the Braves in 14 innings, 2-1. Atlanta snapped New York’s five-game winning streak.
New York is still in a good position in the wild card despite being swept. They are only two games behind the Cubs for the second wild-card spot and six games behind the Nats who own the top spot. The Mets have a tough week ahead of them as they have a key three-game series with the Phillies. Philadelphia has a half-game lead over the Mets.
5) Miami Marlins (47-82) (2-4 in the past week) (Last week ranked 5)
The Marlins were swept by the Braves but rebounded by taking two of three from the Phillies.
Miami took a huge hit as outfielder Brian Anderson is out for the season after he broke a bone in his left hand due to being hit by a pitch. Anderson was hitting .261 with 20 home runs and 66 RBI’s. Anderson has proved himself as a core piece since making his debut in 2017. According to Connor Byrne of MLB Trade Rumors, “The Marlins will recall outfielder Austin Dean from Triple-A New Orleans to replace Anderson, per Andy Slater of 640 The Hurricane. Dean has racked up a combined 210 PA with the Marlins dating back to last season, though he has limped to a .216/.252/.352 line with six HRs in that span.”
With Miami completely out of playoff contention for the foreseeable future, now is the time for the young guys to prove themselves as crucial parts of the future.
NL East Player of the week
Jacob deGrom, New York Mets- This past week deGrom went seven innings, gave up one run on four hits, walked one, and struck out 13. deGrom also helped himself out at the plate as he hit a solo shot. Unfortunately, he picked up a no-decision. deGrom became the first player since 1900 to strike out 13 and homer in a game twice in a season. This season deGrom is 8-7 with a 2.56 ERA, and 207 strikeouts.
Honorable mention- Starlin Castro, Anthony Rendon
Atlanta Braves- Brian Mccann was placed on the 10 day IL on August 21 with a left knee sprain.
Miami Marlins- Brian Anderson is expected to miss the rest of the season with a fractured left hand.
New York Mets- Robert Gsellman was placed on the 10 day IL on August 17 with a partial right lat strain.
Philadelphia Phillies- Juan Nicasio left the game early on August 24. He is day to day with right shoulder soreness.
Washington Nationals- Sean Doolittle was placed on the 10 day IL on August 18 with right knee tendinitis.
NL East Headlines
Ronald Acuna Jr joins 30-30 club- The 21-year-old phenom on the Braves became the second-youngest player to hit 20 home runs and steal 30 bases in a season. Mike Trout is the only player younger to ever do it. Acuna and Trout are the only players to reach this club before turning 22. Acuna accomplished this feat on Friday night as the Braves went on to beat the Mets 2-1.
Feature Image From Bleacher Report
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