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Around the NL East: Help on the way for first-place Mets

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Around the NL East: Help on the way for first-place Mets

ATLANTA BRAVES

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. 

MIAMI MARLINS 

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.

PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES 

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. 

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Soto, Harper homer in Nats' win over Padres

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USA TODAY Sports Images

Soto, Harper homer in Nats' win over Padres

WASHINGTON -- Juan Soto, the youngest player in the majors at 19, hit a three-run homer in his first career start as the Washington Nationals defeated the San Diego Padres 10-2 on Monday.

Mark Reynolds had two solo home runs for the Nationals, who snapped a three-game losing streak. Bryce Harper had a homer and an RBI double.

Soto's drive highlighted a five-run second inning for Washington. The promising outfielder, who played for three minor league teams this season, hit the first pitch from Robbie Erlin (1-3) over the Nationals bullpen in left-center field. Soto also singled.

Soto's homer traveled an estimated 442 feet at Nationals Park. He earned a standing ovation from the crowd and the teenager responded by taking a curtain call. Per Baseball-Reference.com, Soto became the first teenager to hit a home run in a major league game since Harper on Sept. 30, 2012.

Called up to Washington on Sunday, Soto became the first 19-year-old to make his major league debut since Dodgers pitcher Julio Urias in 2016. He entered that game in the eighth inning as a pinch-hitter and struck out.

Washington's starting left fielder began the season at Class A Hagerstown. He hit a combined .362 with 14 homers and 52 RBIs in his three minor league stops.

Gio Gonzalez (5-2) allowed two runs and two hits in seven innings.

San Diego's Franmil Reyes, playing in his seventh career game, also hit his first career home run.

Trea Turner hit a pair of RBI doubles for Washington. Reynolds had three hits.

Erlin surrendered six runs and seven hits over four innings in his third start of the season. San Diego had won three in a row.

Reyes connected for a two-run homer in the fourth inning, but the Padres' lineup generated little else against Gonzalez, who allowed one run over six innings in a no-decision at San Diego on May 9.

2018 MLB POWER RANKINGS AND OTHER NATS NEWS:

- Rankings Update: Where does your team fall?
- Cause For Concern?: How worried should Nats fans be?
- Very Persuasive: How Rizzo convinced Reynolds to come to D.C.

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Juan Soto crushes a homer in the first at-bat of his first-ever start

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@MLB

Juan Soto crushes a homer in the first at-bat of his first-ever start

Juan Soto, the highly-regarded 19-year-old Nationals' prospect, got his first major league start of his career tonight. 

How did it go, you ask? Surely it would take Soto - who was in Single-A less than two weeks ago - some time to adjust? 

What were you doing at 19??

2018 MLB POWER RANKINGS AND OTHER NATS NEWS:

- Rankings Update: Where does your team fall?
- Cause For Concern?: How worried should Nats fans be?
- Very Persuasive: How Rizzo convinced Reynolds to come to D.C.