Fresh off a sweep of the Mets, the Braves head to D.C. this week just two games back of the Nationals. They've managed to avoid long dry spells, but haven't exactly gone on a sustained run of winning, either. So if they want to make a legitimate push, taking care of business on the road against an NL East rival would be a good start.
But it appears the Braves will have to do that without their best hitter, as Freddie Freeman is a likely candidate for the disabled list with a right wrist injury. The 25-year-old first baseman, who has fared well against the Nats over the years, did not travel to Washington after he underwent an MRI on Monday.
We've been talking about Giancarlo Stanton quite a bit in this space over the last few weeks, but the Marlins have another bright spot in their organization who is inching near a return. Phenom pitcher Jose Fernandez continued his minor league rehab assignment Monday at Single-A Jupiter, striking out nine and allowing just four hits over seven innings. It's hard to believe it's been nearly 14 months since the 22-year-old righty dazzled for the Fish before undergoing Tommy John Surgery. His return to the big club won't vault them into contention, but it'll perhaps provide a renewed sense of optimism.
NEW YORK METS
Thanks to a five game losing streak, the Mets have relinquished their first place lead in the division to the Nats. And as usual, the offense has been the issue; New York has scored just six runs during five-game skid. As good as the starting pitching has been for most of the season, it's clear this lineup as currently constructed probably won't be enough to get this club over the hump.
So what will GM Sandy Alderson do? There were rumors earlier in the month that he had conversations with the Brewers about potentially acquiring Aramis Ramirez. But is that the answer? The 36-year-old hasn't had a 20-homer season since 2012, and wouldn't exactly be the middle-of-the-order bat the Mets need. It'll be interesting to see if Alderson changes course and decides to go all-in at the trade deadline rather than leaving the roster mostly untouched to see if the lineup can turn things around on its own.
When you play in the City of Brotherly Love and have the worst record in baseball, it's only natural that folks will start calling for someone to lose their job. That process is already in full swing in Philly, with fans and local media putting manager Ryne Sandberg and GM Ruben Amaro Jr. squarely in the crosshairs for the team's disappointing season.
The Phillies' tale is a cautionary one for teams that want to keep a group of expensive big name veterans together for several years. They did just that with players like Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Jonathan Papelbon and others, and have been stuck with a number of undesirable contracts that other teams don't want to touch in a trade. As a result, you have an aging roster that may not get replenished with young prospects for a long while.