The third week of the season has come to a close and the division has not disappointed. Four of the five are at .500 or better and do not seem to be slowing down. This week saw some great division matchups, such as the Nationals vs. Philadelphia and New York vs. Atlanta. Without further ado, here is this week’s NL East Rundown. For those that missed last week, click here.
1) New York Mets (9-5) (3-2 in the past week) (Sundays match up ended late) (Last week ranked 2)
After two weeks of being number two, the Mets have surpassed the Phillies. They had a better week against better opponents compared to Philly. New York showcased their talent against the reigning division champs in Atlanta.
Rookie Pete Alonzo has made his presence felt as he is hitting .360 with six home runs and 17 RBI.
Stephen Matz and Zach Wheeler combined for four earn runs and two wins in 12 innings against Braves. This is a promising development as New York may not have to rely on deGrom and Syndergaard as much.
2) Philadelphia Phillies (9-5) ( 3-3 in the past week) (Last week ranked 1)
The Phillies were lucky the Nats bullpen fell apart again or they would have been swept. They then struggled against the lowly Marlins, winning the first game in the 14th inning and then losing 10-3. Rhys Hoskins has continued to rake as he has hit three home runs this past week. His running mate Bryce Harper has started to cool off. Since hitting his three-run home run against former teammate Stephen Strasburg on April 9, he has struggled. This past week Harper hit .158, as he went 3-19 with six walks. It is not a coincidence that the Phillies struggled in the same frame.
Philly has other problems as their pitchers have been ineffective. Ace Aaron Nola has an ERA of 6.46 while Nick Pivetta has an ERA of 9.45. Closer David Robertson has yet to record a save and has an ERA of 5.40. Robertson and Nola need to return to their former selves for the Phillies to flourish.
3) Atlanta Braves (8-6) (3-2 in the past week) (Sundays matchup ended late) (Last week ranked 3)
Atlanta made quick work of a struggling Rockies squad, but have fallen back to earth against the Mets. The Sunday game went late so the Braves can only be graded on the first three games of the matchup.
New York’s pitching seemed to dominate Atlanta’s young hitters. Fortunately, Freddie Freeman and Ronald Acuna Jr. have picked up from last year. They are hitting .365 with an OPS of 1.004 and .300 with an OPS of 1.077 respectively. But the two will need help from the supporting cast, such as Ozzie Albies and Josh Donaldson.
Speaking of Donaldson, he was a bright spot this week as he finally hit his first home run as a Brave in the Saturday win against the Mets. The team is hoping he can return to his 2015 MVP form and overcome his injuries from the past few years. Atlanta’s offense will need to carry the load as their young arms find their footing.
4) Washington Nationals (7-7) (3-3 in the past week) (Last week ranked 4)
Washington’s bullpen kept the team from sweeping both the Phillies and Pittsburgh Pirates this past week. The bullpen has started to show promise as they were able to hold a few leads compared to the first week. Unfortunately, they still have some problems which were seen on Sunday’s loss. Wander Suero immediately gave up a run in the ninth after Max Scherzer only gave up three through eight innings.
Trevor Rosenthal finally recorded an out and his ERA has dropped from infinite to 72.00. That is still a problem as he was expected to be the eighth inning guy. Sean Doolittle has been a bright spot in a disappointing bullpen. Their offense has been able to score runs in bunches and will need to continue this trend until their bullpen can right themselves.
5) Miami Marlins (4-12) (1-5 in the past week) (Last week ranked 5)
The Marlins have continued to struggle as predicted and are on the path towards one of the worst records in the league. This week they were swept by the Cincinnati Reds and lost two of three to the rival Phillies. The lone win this week was a 10-3 dismantling of Philly that saw recently recalled Austin Dean go 4-4 with 5 RBI.
NL East Player of the week
Pete Alonzo- The Mets rookie has thrown his name in consideration for NL Rookie of the Year. He has the Mets tied for first in the division and has shown off some impressive power. This past week Alonzo is hitting .350 with four home runs, nine RBI, and five walks in 20 at-bats.
Honorable Mention- Anthony Rendon, Rhys Hoskins, Austin Dean
New York Mets– Nothing has changed on the status of Yoenis Cespedes and Jed Lowrie. Cespedes is not expected back till after the All-Star break. Lowrie is still rehabbing his injury and does not want to rush his return.
Washington Nationals- Trea Turner is still out with a broken finger and will be for at least 1-2 months. Howie Kendrick returned and has been a huge spark off the bench. He hit his first career pinch-hit home run in his 14-year career. Michael A. Taylor also returned from the IL after he injured himself during spring training. His presence allows the Nationals to have another outfielder to keep there starters fresh.
Craig Kimbrel and Dallas Keuchel have yet to sign with a team. As it has been pointed out in earlier Trade Rumors segments, both make great matches for the Nats, Mets, Phillies and Braves. All four need bullpen help while the Braves and Phillies need another established starter.
Philadelphia Phillies- The Phillies have reached out to the San Fransisco Giants about Madison Bumgarner.
Feature Image From Bleacher Report.
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