The Braves headed into the All-Star break reeling on multiple fronts. For one, they were swept in a four-game series in Colorado, dropping their record to a season worst five games below .500 at 42-47.
But worst of all, Atlanta lost closer Jason Grilli for the season with a ruptured achilles tendon when he attempted to cover first base on an infield chopper in Saturday's game vs. the Rockies. Not only are the Braves now without their best option in the 'pen, but they'll have one less veteran to move at the trade deadline.
You know the Marlins are snake bitten when Dee Gordon, who was selected to his second All-Star Game, dislocated his thumb just days before being set to play in the Midsummer Classic. Gordon's setback, in addition to Giancarlo Stanton's earlier injury meant that Tuesday's festivities in Cincinnati were without a Marlins player actually playing in the game.
It looks like it'll be up to phenom Jose Fernandez to cheer up Marlins fans once the second half of the season resumes this weekend.
NEW YORK METS
If nothing else, the Mets have proven that they're an imperfect-but-scrappy club that's clearly not going away anytime soon. As play resumes this weekend, they're just two games out of first place in the NL East, so Nationals fans shouldn't be printing out playoff tickets just yet.
As we've mentioned here in previous weeks, the Mets must ask themselves if they're really committed to going big this year for an impact bat at the deadline. So far, it seems they're leaning towards treading the tires on more affordable options. Rumors are swirling that they are currently in a bidding war with the crosstown Yankees for the services of Oakland Athletics left fielder Ben Zobrist. The 34-year-old's production has steadily declined in recent years (he hasn't hit 20 home runs since 2012), but he could still help the run-starved Mets. Would he be enough to put them over the top? Who knows, but he's a relatively low-cost bat that doesn't compromise the team's future prospects.
The Phillies' deliberate attempts to trade veterans is taking so long that even the players are starting to get a little impatient. Closer Jonathan Papelbon has reportedly reiterated his desire to be moved to a contending team before the deadline. It's hard to blame the 34-year-old veteran for how he feels; he's on the worst team in baseball and won't get many more chances in his career to compete for championship. You almost wonder if guys like Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Cole Hamels and others are thinking the same thing.