The Braves' have dropped five out of their last six games, and once again the bullpen continues to be the main culprit. Over the past 14 games, Atlanta relievers have a 7.62 ERA, a stretch that has made their season ERA of 4.90 the highest in baseball. So once again Nats fans, it could always be worse.
Atlanta made a move to bring in veteran righty David Aardsma to try to stabilize the situation. The 33-year-old has plenty of experience, but hasn't pitched in the majors since 2013. We'll see if that's enough to make getting the ball to closer Jason Grilli any easier.
Who has the best record in this division over the last 10 games? That's right, it's the Marlins at 6-4 -- and they're still seven games out of the division lead. In fact, all the NL East teams are actually further back in the wild card chase than the one for the NL East. Ouch.
Anyway, even though Miami is still buried in a mediocre division, it has seen Giancarlo Stanton return to playing like Giancarlo Stanton. The $300 million man is tied with Bryce Harper for the league lead in homers with 19, and is one long ball shy of notching his sixth straight season of 20 or more home runs.
NEW YORK METS
The good news for the Mets? They're back in first place -- albeit by a slim 1/2 game margin. The even better news? It looks like more help is on the way. Catcher Travis d'Arnaud, pitcher Bobby Parnell and second baseman Dilson Herrera are all inching closer to their return to the big club, with their arrival set near the end of New York's next home stand.
And if that's not enough, second year starter Jacob deGrom continues to show that his rookie season was no fluke, as he shared NL-Player of the Week honors with Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw on Monday. The 26-year-old righty is 7-4 with a 2.44 ERA, and is just two wins away from matching last year's total. Interesting times for a club that's not ready to cede the division to the Nats.
The Cole Hamels derby continues, as the AL West-leading Houston Astros are reportedly the latest team to potentially trade for the left ace. The Astros, who have a bevy of minor league prospects, could provide a nice landing spot for Hamels should he waive his no-trade clause. Between the Astros, Cubs, Red sox and Dodgers, it's not like GM Ruben Amaro Jr. will have a shortage of trade partners. But at this point, the Phillies probably just want to get this over with, because this saga has certainly gone for a bit too long.