Unsurprisingly the Atlanta Braves fully surpassed the Washington Nationals as the frontrunners in the National League East.
Atlanta has gotten healthy and appears, whereas Washington continues to struggle to find offense and is continually on the mend.
Unlike the week prior, the NL East was above .500 due to the Miami Marlins performing quite well. While it should be no sign of a turnaround, Miami’s offense has some liftoff.
While we don’t want to get ahead of ourselves and giving unneeded significance to a series in June, the Nationals and Philadelphia Phillies series at the end of this week is one to watch. Washington is on their worst stretch of games since the start of the season. Two of their top seven arms are on the DL, and they need some breaks to go their way. Philadelphia has been off-and-on for a month, and a series win over the Nats could give them the justification they need to battle for the NL East crown.
Last 10: 6-4
Upcoming Series: @ Toronto Blue Jays (2), vs. Baltimore Orioles (3)
It should not be that noteworthy that the Braves jumped out to a lead in the East after their schedule this past week. Playing two of the bottom teams in the National League, the New York Mets and the San Diego Padres, Atlanta took care of business going 5-1 on the week.
Understanding it is against bottom half competition, their pitching was superb by some key starters in their rotation. Of course Mike Soroka finally came back from rehab with 6.1 innings of one-hit baseball, along with a brief break by Julio Tehran. Occupying the No. 5 spot in the rotation, Soroka will significantly bolster the bridge to Tehran, who struck out 11 Padres on Sunday.
For position players, Freddie Freeman hit three home runs this week despite seeing a 10-game hitting streak come to a close. They also still are waiting for their star left fielder Robert Acuna Jr. to get back. He was sent to the 10-day DL back on May 28.
A relatively easy June continues for the Braves with only Toronto and Baltimore on deck this week.
Last 10: 4-6
Upcoming Series: vs. New York Yankees (2), vs. Baltimore Orioles (3), vs. Philadelphia Phillies (3)
The best news for the Nationals after getting swept by the Blue Jays is honestly their young phenom Juan Soto. Hitting .312 in 77 at-bats, the outfield call-up has far exceeded expectations.
Almost singlehandedly, Soto gave them their lone victory of the week by hitting two dingers in Yankee Stadium. He brought home four of their five runs in a one-run win.
By all means he has earned his starting spot with the top club, alongside the now healthy Adam Eaton and Bryce Harper. However, where does Michael A. Taylor fit in? Tough decisions to be had in the Nats clubhouse.
An eight-game home stand is severely needed for a squad that had dropped six of their last eight and is now 3.5 games back in the division. Not to mention they are still without Stephen Strasburg, Jeremy Hellickson, and Brandon Kintzler.
Don’t worry the All-Star break, which will be in their home yard, is right around the corner.
Last 10: 5-5
Upcoming Series: vs. St. Louis Cardinals (3), @ Washington Nationals (3)
Two series wins over the Colorado Rockies and in Milwaukee was a good pick-me-up for the young Philadelphia squad.
Unlike the week prior, there are finally some runners getting on base. None more than Rhys Hoskins who had eight hits (three of them long balls), and four walks in the past six games. They’ve even got some lively play from shortstop Scott Kingery, batting .333 in the past week.
Still their starters have to give them more consistency to give them a chance in the NL East. That includes Jake Arrieta (5-5) who consistently cannot make it to the sixth inning. He’s given up a combined 13 runs in only 14.2 innings pitched in his last three starts.
A chance for them to really pull their worth and possibly leapfrog the Nationals this week.
New York Mets
Last 10: 3-7
Upcoming Series: @ Colorado Rockies (4), vs. Los Angeles Dodgers (3)
All of the New York Mets ‘stars’ are still on the disabled list. All two of them.
Noah Syndergaard and Yoenis Cespedes were anticipated to come back this past week, but neither got the nod from Mickey Callaway.
With a solid uptick in production by Jose Reyes, who still has a .165 average on the year, there is some hope with the production from their infield.
Last 10: 6-4
Upcoming Series: @ San Francisco Giants (3), @ Colorado Rockies (3)
Twice this week Miami had a chance to get their first sweep over an opponent this year. Sure one team was the Baltimore Orioles, but the other was the San Francisco Giants.
It wasn’t necessarily because of dominant pitching either. Their lineup pieced together some timely hits, including three triples from center fielder Lewis Brinson and three home runs by J.T. Realmuto.
Speaking of pitching though, closer Kyle Barraclough saw four appearances without allowing a run, garnering three saves. If his team can get him more opportunities he could be up there with Kenley Jansen and Sean Dolittle as one of the top closers in the NL.
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