June bug Nats beginning to prove major pests in NL East

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Anthony Rendon has led a Nationals charge back into the race

The Philadelphia Phillies begin the month of July in a far different position than they started out the month of June.

When the calendar made the flip from May to June, the Phillies were on top of the National League East Division standings. Their 33-24 record had the club three full games ahead of the Atlanta Braves to that point.
The month of June was not kind to the Phillies, as the club stumbled to an 11-16 mark. Now, the Phillies begin July in second place, staring up at the Braves through a five-game deficit in the loss column.
The Phillies went 5-2 over this past week, though it was a bit of a mixed bag of results. It began with an uplifting four-game sweep of the New York Mets at Citizens Bank Park. But this past weekend saw the Marlins capture two of three in Miami to take some wind out of the Phillies sails.
This week’s upcoming games will lead into a four-day break for the MLB All-Star Game.
As always, my NL East Beat report reveals how each of the Phillies divisional rivals fared over the course of the past week with a presentation of the standings, last week’s results, and the upcoming schedules for each club.

NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST DIVISION STANDINGS

EAST DIVISION

    <th aria-label="Win-Loss %" class=" poptip hide_non_quals center" data-filter="1" data-name="Win-Loss %" data-stat="win_loss_perc" data-tip="Win-Loss Percentage
    W / (W + L)
    For players, leaders need one decision for every ten team games.
    For managers, minimum to qualify for leading is 320 games.” scope=”col” style=”background-color: #dadcde; border-color: rgb(116, 118, 120) rgb(170, 170, 170); border-image: initial; border-style: solid; border-width: 1px; float: none !important; margin: 0px; opacity: initial; padding: 0px 12.375px; text-align: center;”>W-L%

    <th aria-label="Games Back" class=" poptip sort_default_asc center" data-stat="games_back" data-tip="Games Back of Division/League Leader
    Computed as games over .500 of leader (W-L) minus games over .500 of team divided by two.
    Typically computed at the end of play for a particular day.
    Blank for 1st game of DH.” scope=”col” style=”background-color: #dadcde; border-color: rgb(116, 118, 120) rgb(116, 118, 120) rgb(116, 118, 120) rgb(170, 170, 170); border-image: initial; border-style: solid; border-width: 1px; float: none !important; margin: 0px; opacity: initial; padding: 0px 12.375px; text-align: center;”>GB

    East Division
    Team W L
    Atlanta Braves 50 35 .588
    Philadelphia Phillies 44 40 .524 5.5
    Washington Nationals 42 41 .506 7.0
    New York Mets 38 47 .447 12.0
    Miami Marlins 32 50 .390 16.5

    ATLANTA BRAVES (4 – 3)

    Summary: Atlanta split a four-game set at Wrigley Field with the NL Central-leading Chicago Cubs, then moved on to Citi Field where they took two of three from the struggling New York Mets.
    While the Phillies were stumbling through their losing June, the Braves went 20-8 to put themselves firmly in control. Now this young and talented ball club will to capture a second straight NL East crown.
    Upcoming: Following Monday’s off-day, the Braves return home from a 10-game road trip on which they went 6-4 to welcome in the Phillies for a huge three-game series at SunTrust Park. Then over the coming weekend they will receive a visit from the Miami Marlins.

    MIAMI MARLINS (1 – 5)

    Summary: The Marlins went 2-4 this past week, with both wins coming against the Phillies at Marlins Park over this past weekend. They had begun the week getting swept in a three-gamer by the visiting Washington Nationals.
    The Marlins competed tough by going 13-14 during the month of June, aided greatly by their 5-1 mark against the Phillies over the past two weekends. Still at 18 games below the .500 mark, with an extremely difficult schedule into early August, the Fish are likely about to get cleaned, scaled, and fried.
    Upcoming: After Monday’s off-day, the Marlins will be paying visits to a pair of division rivals, Washington and Atlanta, for a three-game series with each this week.

    NEW YORK METS (1 – 6)

    Summary: This was a devastating week for the Mets, who built a seven-game losing streak before finally snapping it in Sunday’s series finale with the Braves. They began the week getting swept by the previously ice-cold Phillies, then continued the skid by dropping the first two games to Atlanta at home.
    The month of June was even worse for New York than it was for the Phillies, if you can believe that. The Mets went just 10-18 during the month, plummeting from just a game below the .500 mark and five back in the division race to their current 12 games out.
    Upcoming: Following Monday’s off-day in the schedule it will be two at Citi Field with the New York Yankees in the continuation of this year’s Subway Series. The two local rivals split a day-night doubleheader at Yankee Stadium just three weeks ago. Then the Mets will welcome in the Phillies for three over the coming weekend.

    WASHINGTON NATIONALS (5 – 1)

    Summary: If the Braves are looking back in the standings with concern at anyone these days, it is probably more at the surging Nationals than the slumping Phillies. The Nats began the month of June nine games below .500 and a distant nine off the NL East lead.
    But then it all began to finally click. The Nationals went 18-8 during the month of June to push above the .500 mark. They still trail in the division by seven games, but are within a single game in the loss column of the Phillies and Rockies for the final NL Wildcard berth.
    This past week they swept the Marlins in Miami, then captured two of three Inter-league games at Detroit against the Tigers.
    Upcoming: The Nationals will be home all week following Monday’s off-day. They will try to keep it rolling with three games each against the Marlins and Kansas City Royals.

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