Tag Archives: Caleb Smith

Nationals still hanging around in the NL East race as June arrives

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Too early to count the Nationals out of the 2019 NL East race

The Philadelphia Phillies (37-28) are coming off a successful week in which they took two of three games from both the Padres in San Diego and the Cincinnati Reds at Citizens Bank Park.

That allowed the Phillies to remain alone on top of the standings in the National League East Division for another week. They have led the division for all but seven days thus far over the first 11 weeks of the 2019 regular season.
Each of the top four clubs in the division have now played 65 games, and we are now just a little more than two weeks away from the season’s halfway mark. The Atlanta Braves sit just one game out, with the New York Mets at five back, and the Washington Nationals seven behind.
It was yet another tough week for the Phillies on the injury front. It was announced at the start of last week that left fielder Andrew McCutchen would miss the rest of the season with a torn ACL. He will have surgery as soon as the swelling goes down, and should be ready for spring training next year.
Also, right-hander Seranthony Dominguez came down with elbow trouble that could require Tommy John surgery, knocking him out for the year as well. He becomes the eighth key Phillies reliever on the Injured List.
As always, my NL East Beat report reveals how each of those Phillies divisional rivals fared over the course of the past week: games scores, pivotal performers, key injuries, and other important updates on each team are included.

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
    Philadelphia Phillies 37 28 .569
    Atlanta Braves 36 29 .554 1.0
    New York Mets 32 33 .492 5.0
    Washington Nationals 30 35 .462 7.0
    Miami Marlins 23 40 .365 13.0

    ATLANTA BRAVES (4 – 2)

    Summary: Atlanta dropped their first two games last week at Pittsburgh before storming back to take four in a row. That included the series finale with those Pirates and then a weekend sweep of the Miami Marlins.
    Since falling four games behind the Phillies almost exactly one month ago, the Braves have fought back and continue to pressure the front-runners. The Braves have been lurking within two games of the lead for the entire month of June.
    Key injuries: Center fielder Ender Inciarte remains out with a lumbar strain and is reported to be weeks away from resuming baseball activities. Reliever Darren O’Day has a right forearm strain. He is throwing, but not off a mound, and is at least weeks away.
    Upcoming: The Braves will enjoy home cooking during a 10-game home stand that begins on Monday night. The Pittsburgh Pirates are in Atlanta for a four-game series, followed in by the Phillies for a big series this coming weekend. The home stand ends with three against another division rival, the New York Mets, to open next week.

    MIAMI MARLINS (2 – 4)

    Summary: The Marlins opened last week with two straight wins in Milwaukee. That gave Miami victories in four straight, seven of nine, and 13 of their previous 18 games. However, the club reverted to losing form by dropping the final four of the week, including a sweep in Atlanta.
    Key injuries: One of baseball’s healthiest teams over the first two months has begun to finally load up the Injured List. Their top starting pitcher, Caleb Smith, went on with left hip inflammation this past week. He joins their most successful hitter, first baseman Neil Walker, six others (mostly fringe players) on the IL.
    Upcoming: The Fish are continuing a home stand this week. The will host the Saint Louis Cardinals before an off-day on Thursday, and then welcome in the Pittsburgh Pirates to South Florida over the weekend.

    NEW YORK METS (4 – 2)

    Summary: The Mets kept pace in the division last week by taking two of three from both the San Francisco Giants and Colorado Rockies. They have now won four of their last five games, outscoring the opposition by a 26-12 cumulative margin.
    Key injuries: Robinson Cano continues to be a huge trade bust. He remains on the IL with quad tightness, and has been largely ineffective when available. Outfielder Brandon Nimmo could return soon, on an advanced rehab assignment after suffering whiplash and a bulging cervical disc. None of the other five players on the IL are due back any time soon.
    Upcoming: It will be an Interleague ‘Subway Series’ to open the week, as the Mets travel for two games at Yankee Stadium. Following a rare Wednesday off-day, the Saint Louis Cardinals come to Citi Field for a four-game long weekend set.

    WASHINGTON NATIONALS (4 – 2)

    Summary: After a horrendous start to their season, the Washington Nationals have begun to right their ship. The Nats swept a two-game series at home against the AL’s Chicago White Sox to open last week, then split a four-gamer with the Padres out in San Diego.
    Key injuries: Their 5th starter, Jeremy Hellickson, has been shut down from throwing after suffering a right shoulder strain. First baseman Ryan Zimmerman remains out battling plantar fasciitis. He is with the team on their current road trip, hitting and fielding grounders. His activation will be based on when he can run again.
    Upcoming: For the second straight week the Nationals will open with a pair of Interleague games against the Chicago White Sox, this time around out in the Windy City. Following an off-day on Wednesday they return home a huge 11-game home stand that could either get them back in the race or bury them. It starts with a four-game long weekend set against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Then next week they welcome in the Phillies for four and the Braves for three games.

    Defending NL East champion Braves stay right on Phillies heels in mid-May

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    Ronald Acuna Jr and the Braves are defending NL East champs

    One week ago today, the Philadelphia Phillies (27-19) were seven games over the .500 mark in first place in the National League East Division standings. They led the second place Atlanta Braves by three games, and were four up in the loss column over both Atlanta and the New York Mets.

    Following a week in which they went 4-3, the Phillies are now eight over that .500 mark. But the Braves also fared well, cutting into that lead. Atlanta now trails by 2.5 games, three in the loss column. Meanwhile, the Mets have fallen six back in the loss column, with the Washington Nationals even further in the rear view mirror at eight games out.
    After dropping three of four games to the Milwaukee Brewers, the Phillies rebounded to sweep out the Colorado Rockies in three games over the weekend at Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies are now 4-3 during what was a tough 23-game stretch of their schedule.
    Now comes the most difficult part of that rough stretch, with 13 of the next 16 games on the road. It all starts with a seven-game road trip this week. Four games at Wrigley Field against the NL Central Division-leading Chicago Cubs followed by a three-game series next weekend with the Brewers at Miller Park.
    During this series against the Cubs, fans of the Phillies will experience a first. On Wednesday night, Chicago will send lefty Cole Hamels to the mound. It will mark the first-ever career start for Hamels against the team for whom he broke into the big-leagues, won 114 games over 10 seasons, and captured both the World Series and NLCS MVP awards during the 2008 postseason championship run.
    As always, my NL East Beat report reveals how each of the Phillies divisional rivals fared over the course of the past week: games scores, pivotal performers, key injuries, and other important updates on each team are included.

    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
      Philadelphia Phillies 27 19 .587
      Atlanta Braves 25 22 .532 2.5
      New York Mets 20 25 .444 6.5
      Washington Nationals 19 27 .413 8.0
      Miami Marlins 13 31 .295 13.0


      ATLANTA BRAVES (4 – 2)

      Summary: The Braves lost their first and last games this past week, but took four in a row in between. They captured two of three from the Brewers over the weekend, the same club that had just left Philly after winning three of four.
      Veteran first baseman Freddie Freeman paces the Braves offense, slashing .318/.408/.581 with a team-high 11 home runs and 24 extra-base hits. Ronald Acuna Jr. last year’s NL Rookie of the Year, is slashing .281/.372/.480 and is second on the club with nine long balls. He and Freeman are tied with shortstop Dansby Swanson for the team lead with 29 RBIs apiece.
      The Braves offensive attack has been very similar to the Phillies. Double-digits one game, struggling to score in the next. Atlanta has scored two more runs, but has also played one more game. But their attack has been more dynamic, with an OPS at .783 ranking 3rd in the National League. Compare that to the Phillies .739 mark, which is ranked just 8th of the 15 teams.
      Rookie right-hander Mike Soroka has been excellent in the rotation: 4-1, 0.98 ERA, 1.009 WHIP, 23 hits allowed over 36.2 IP with a 34/14 K:BB. The 21-year-old has a streak of four consecutive Quality Starts going on at the moment. 25-year-old lefty Max Fried is 6-2 with a 2.86 ERA, 1.132 WHIP and a 46/11 K:BB while allowing 46 hits over 50.1 innings.
      Key injuries: Starting center fielder Ender Inciarte is on the 10-day IL with back spasms. He could return this coming weekend, and will be evaluated later in the week. Righty reliever Darren O’Day has resumed throwing after suffering forearm tightness, but has no timetable.
      Upcoming: The Braves also go on the road for seven games this week. They begin with four at beautiful AT&T Park against the host San Francisco Giants, who at 20-25 are in last place in the NL West Division. Atlanta then travels to Saint Louis to take on the slumping Cardinals, losers of 13 of their last 17, for three games next weekend.

      MIAMI MARLINS (3 – 2)

      Summary: The Marlins enjoyed their first winning week of the season thanks to a sweep this weekend of the visiting New York Mets at Marlins Park. Still, the Fish are buried in last place in the NL East standings. Their 13-31 record is the worst in all of Major League Baseball.
      Former Phillies catcher Jorge Alfaro has just one home run in his last 13 games, yet his half-dozen long balls continues to lead the Marlins. Alfaro is also on top of the Miami leader board with 13 RBIs. Veteran first baseman Neil Walker has 10 extra-base hits, second on the club, and his .293/.374/.431 slash line make him the closest thing the Marlins have to a consistent threat.
      Lefty starter Caleb Smith continues to turn in an All-Star caliber campaign. The 27-year-old southpaw is 3-1 with a 2.25 ERA and 0.917 WHIP. He has allowed just 30 hits over 48 innings across eight starts with a 64/14 K:BB ratio. Smith struck out eight and allowed just four hits in his most recent outing vs Tampa Bay last Sunday. But lasting just 5.1 innings in that start snapped a six-game official Quality Start streak.
      Key injuries: Alfaro suffered a left calf strain in Saturday’s game and was held out of the Sunday lineup. He is considered day-to-day. Righty reliever Drew Steckinrider suffered flexor strain in his right forearm. He hopes to rest it and return after the MLB All-Star Game break in mid-July.
      Upcoming: Following an off-day on Monday, the Marlins will travel to Detroit for a three-game Interleague series with the host Tigers at Comerica Park. Then it will be a four-game wraparound series with the Washington Nationals from Friday through next Monday at Nationals Park.

      NEW YORK METS (1 – 5)

      Summary: It all began so well for the Metropolitans. After winning their first game of the week, they had fought back to the .500 mark and were in second place. But then, disaster struck. A losing streak that has now reached five games, with the last three against the Marlins, the worst team in baseball.
      The Mets were shutout by Miami over the final two games and have now gone scoreless in 19 straight innings. Their offensive attack has generated more than four runs just five times over the last 18 games. To put that into perspective, the Phillies mercurial offense has done it twice as much over their own most recent 18 contests.
      First baseman Pete Alonso, who began the season on fire and was the leading NL Rookie of the Year candidate over the first five weeks, has fallen flat. The 24-year-old is slashing just .167/.239/.452 over his last dozen games.
      Their big off-season trade acquisition, veteran second baseman Robinson Cano, is slashing just .196/.237/.268 over his last 14 games. The now 36-year-old Cano is owed $96 million over the next four seasons – after this one is finished. Ouch.
      On the mound, starters Noah SyndergaardJacob deGrom and Steven Matz have all enjoyed solid seasons, as has new closer Edwin Diaz. But the overall staff ERA and BAA are both just 12th of the 15 National League ball clubs.
      Key injuries: Starting right fielder Michael Conforto suffered a concussion and will be out until at least the weekend. Veteran Jason Vargas, who has pitched poorly out of the fifth starter role, suffered left hamstring tightness. He is beginning a minor league rehab assignment. Outfielder Yoenis Cespedes and infielder Jed Lowrie both continue out with no timetable. Lefty reliever Luis Avilan has soreness in his left elbow and hopes to try throwing again soon.
      Upcoming: Mickey Callaway is just 97-110 over parts of two seasons. He had best start getting it turned around during a seven-game homestand this week, or could find himself at the top of the managerial on-the-chopping-block lists. The Mets host the Nationals for four, then welcome in the Tigers for a three-game Interleague weekend series.

      WASHINGTON NATIONALS (3 – 3)

      Summary: Continuing an extremely disappointing and injury-riddled start to their season, the Nationals only tread water with a .500 week that kept them eight games below that break-even mark on the season. Washington has now fallen a full eight games back in the standings.
      22-year-old center fielder Victor Robles has been a bit of a disappointment. Robles is tied for the team lead with eight homers, leads the club with eight steals, and is second with 30 runs scored and 16 extra-base hits. But he is also slashing at just the .241/.297/.451 mark.
      Their other young phenom outfielder, 20-year-old Juan Soto, is hitting just .246 on the season. Last year’s NL Rookie of the Year runner-up does lead the Nats with 27 RBIs, however.
      In a dozen games since returning from a stay on the Injured List, third baseman Anthony Rendon has slashed .289/.373/.556 with 10 runs scored, eight RBIs, and eight extra-base hits. He continues to be the most consistent Nationals offensive threat. He also remains unsigned beyond this season, a situation that could become more interesting should the team stay out of the race, he stay healthy, and the season drag along with him remaining unsigned.
      Shortstop Trea Turner missed 40 games after breaking his finger on a poor bunt attempt against the Phillies during just the fourth game of the season. He returned this past week, and the speedster’s presence in the lineup should help rejuvenate the Nationals attack. Washington is just ninth in both runs scored and OPS in the NL this season.
      Key injuries: First basemen Matt Adams and Ryan Zimmerman remain out. Adams could begin taking swings this week after missing time with a left shoulder strain. Zimmerman is suffering from plantar fasciitis and hopes to begin running soon. The club’s fourth starter, Anibal Sanchez, was pitching terribly before hitting the IL with a left hamstring strain. He has no timetable. Relievers Trevor RosenthalJustin Miller and Koda Glover are all on the IL. Rosenthal could return soon.
      Upcoming: The Nationals begin a key 10-game stretch within the division on Monday. They visit Citi Field to take on the Mets in four games to open the week. Then it’s back home for four with the Miami Marlins in a wraparound series from Friday-Monday. Next Tuesday and Wednesday they will visit Atlanta.

      Phillies begin to pull away from their NL East rivals in early May

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      Anthony Rendon and the Nationals have been hurting in 2019

      The Philadelphia Phillies (23-16) offense completely disappeared twice over last week’s action. But the club won their other four games, moving out to a four-game lead in the loss column in the National League East Division standings.

      The Phillies were shutout 6-0 at Saint Louis in their first game of the week but came back to win the final two games to outscore the host Cardinals by 16-1 over the final two games to take that series.
      Moving on to an Interleague match-up at Kansas City, the host Royals shut the Phillies down in a 5-1 win in the opener. But again the Phillies roared back, outscoring the Royals by 13-1 to take the final two games.
      As always, my NL East Beat report reveals how each of those Phillies divisional rivals fared over the course of the past week: games scores, pivotal performers, key injuries, and other important updates on each team are included.

      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
        Philadelphia Phillies 23 16 .590
        Atlanta Braves 21 20 .512 3.0
        New York Mets 19 20 .487 4.0
        Washington Nationals 16 24 .400 7.5
        Miami Marlins 10 29 .256 13.0

        ATLANTA BRAVES (3 – 4)

        Summary: Thanks to victories in their final three games of the week, all tight affairs on the road over the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Braves are the lone NL East rival of the Phillies who are over the .500 mark at the present time. The Braves dropped four straight to open the week, getting swept at LA against the Dodgers and dropping the opener of their four-game set in Arizona, before recovering.
        The Atlanta offensive attack has the 4th-highest OPS (.773) in the National League, but their 196 runs scored leaves the club as just middle-of-the-road at 8th-ranked in the league. That OPS drops to just .665, next-to-last in the NL ahead of only the lowly Miami offense with runners in scoring position.
        Veterans Freddie Freeman and Nick Markakis continue to pace the offense as the most consistent hitters. Freeman has a .308/.403/.526 slash and leads the club with 19 extra-base hits. Markakis is batting .299 with a .388 OBP and is tied with Freeman and Ronald Acuna for second on the club with 23 RBIs.
        Shortstop Dansby Swanson leads the Braves with 25 RBIs. Third baseman Josh Donaldson is second with 17 extra-base hits and has a .376 OBP. Brian McCann as the lefty half of a catching platoon is slashing .311/.389/508 over 72 plate appearances.
        Atlanta’s best starting pitcher has been 21-year-old Mike Soroka. In what is technically his rookie season (he threw 25.2 innings last season) Soroka has a 3-1 record with a 1.21 ERA and 1.045 WHIP since his mid-April promotion. Soroka is currently on a streak of three consecutive Quality Start outings.
        27-year-old right-hander Luke Jackson appears to have seized the closer role. Jackson has allowed 17 hits over 20 innings across 18 games with a 24/7 K:BB and four Saves over his last six outings.
        Key injuries: Freeman missed Sunday’s game with an undisclosed illness that is not expected to keep him out very long. Lefty reliever Jesse Biddle is on the IL battling a groin strain and right thigh bruise. He is on a minor league rehab assignment and could return later this week. Righty relievers Darren O’Day and Arodys Vizcaino are also on the IL, with Vizcaino out for the season following mid-April surgery on his right pitching shoulder. No timetable on O’Day, who is out with a strain in his right pitching forearm.
        Upcoming: Following an off-day on Monday the Braves will be at home to host both the Saint Louis Cardinals and Milwaukee Brewers for three games each.

        MIAMI MARLINS (1 – 5)

        Summary: The Fish opened last week with a win over the red-hot Chicago Cubs but then quickly returned to their losing ways. Miami continued to plummet in the standings by dropping their remaining five games to fall 19 games below the .500 mark, 13 games off the NL East pace. Their .256 winning percentage is by far the worst in Major League Baseball.
        Runs scored, OPS, home runs. You name the category and the Marlins are at the bottom of the National League team rankings. Well…they are tied for 10th in stolen bases and have more than twice as many as the non-running Phillies.
        Former Phillies catcher Jorge Alfaro leads the club with five home runs. Veteran Curtis Granderson paces the team with 10 extra-base hits. He and Starlin Castro lead the Marlins with 11 RBIs. Neil Walker has enjoyed a solid season as the primary first baseman, batting .287 with a .379 OBP and nine extra-base hits, second on the club.
        Lefty Caleb Smith continues to enjoy an All-Star caliber campaign, and is easily the shining star on this team thus far in 2019. Smith is 3-0 with a 2.11 ERA and 0.891 WHIP, allowing just 26 hits over 42.2 innings across seven starts. He has a 56/12 K:BB ratio. His last six outings have all been of the Quality Start variety.
        Rookie right-hander Nick Anderson has been overpowering at times out of embattled manager Don Mattingly‘s bullpen. Anderson has a 30/5 K:BB over 16.2 innings, allowing 14 hits. His 4.32 ERA is mostly a product of one poor outing against the Braves.
        The Marlins were expected to finish in the division cellar as the team was clearly pushed into rebuilding mode over the last couple of seasons. However, the club has performed so abysmally that it could result in Mattingly being one of the first managers to lose his job this season.
        Key injuries: The Marlins lost talented righty reliever Drew Steckenrider to a flexor strain in his right elbow. He has been placed on the 60-day IL and his season is in jeopardy. Other than that, the Marlins have been healthy all season.
        Upcoming: Following an off-day on Monday, the Marlins will host their fellow Floridians, the Tampa Bay Rays, in an Interleague two-game series. Another off-day on Thursday will be followed by three at home over next weekend against the division-rival New York Mets.

        NEW YORK METS (3 – 2)

        Summary: The Mets were the lone Phillies rival to enjoy a winning week by taking three of their last four games. They dropped two of three in San Diego to start the week, then took advantage of the weak Marlins to win their next two at home. Sunday’s series finale with Miami was rained out and will be replayed as part of a doubleheader on August 5 at Citi Field.
        Rookie first baseman Pete Alonso continues to lead the offensive stats board with 12 homers, 21 extra-base hits, 32 RBIs, and 25 runs scored for the Mets. However, Alonso has cooled considerably with just a .190/.255/.405 slash over his last 11 games. That slugging percentage is propped up by three homers in that span, but he has just five other hits.
        Right fielder Michael Conforto went 5-6 with two home runs over the two Marlins victories, raising his slash line to .274/.412/.519 over a team-high 170 plate appearances. Shortstop Amed Rosario leads the Mets with four stolen bases, and his 24 RBIs are second on the club.
        The Mets are just ninth in the NL in both runs scored and OPS as they offense has mostly struggled. The pitching staff has been even worse, ranking 12th in both ERA and BAA.
        Jacob deGrom has really picked up the pace on the mound following a rough three-start stretch in mid-April. The 2018 Cy Young Award winner has gone seven innings in each of his last three outings, allowing a total of 12 hits over the 21 innings with a 21/4 K:BB ratio. He has a 1.29 ERA and .162 batting average against in that span.
        After being nearly unhittable over the first month, closer Edwin Diaz has struggled some over his last five outings. He has surrendered five hits including a pair of home runs in that stretch.
        Key injuries: Righty reliever Jeurys Familia received a cortisone injection in his right shoulder and could return later this week. Lefty starter Steven Matz was diagnosed with nerve damage in his pitching shoulder. Lefty relievers Luis Avilan and Justin Wilson both have left elbow discomfort. All three are on the IL with no timetable. Infielder Jed Lowrie has been out with a sprained knee and could finally return later this week following a minor league rehab. Yoenis Cespedes remains out, possibly for the season, following off-season surgery on both heels.
        Upcoming: Following an off-day on Monday, the Mets will host division rivals Washington and Miami in three-game series at Citi Field this week.

        WASHINGTON NATIONALS (2 – 5)

        Summary: They’ve suffered some key injuries but there is no question, the Nationals are one of the most disappointing stories in all of baseball this season. They were swept in Milwaukee to open last week and then split a four-gamer over the weekend in LA against the host Dodgers.
        The Nationals vaunted pitching ranks just 13th of the 15 National League ball clubs thus far in both ERA and BAA. The offensive attack is just 10th in runs scored and OPS. It’s no wonder this club has now fallen seven below the .500 mark.
        The two-headed Dominican combination of 20-year-old Juan Soto and 22-year-old Victor Robles was supposed to lead the way into the future and help smooth the loss of Bryce Harper to the Phillies in free agency. They are hitting just .243 and .250 respectively, though with six homers they are tied for the club lead. Soto leads the team with 23 RBIs and Robles sets the pace with eight stolen bases.
        Veteran Howie Kendrick has proven to be a godsend, slashing .306/.364/.553 with nine extra-base hits over just 99 plate appearances. He is tied for the team lead with six home runs and his 21 RBIs are second on the club. Third baseman Anthony Rendon missed time with an injury but is still slashing .305/.391/.621 with a team-high 18 extra-base hits.
        Max ScherzerPatrick Corbin, and Stephen Strasburg have mostly been strong in the rotation. But the back-end of Anibal Sanchez and Jeremy Hellickson has been poor for the most part, as has the bullpen.
        Closer Sean Doolittle has been one of the few reliable options for manager Dave Martinez out of the pen. He has a 1.00 ERA and 1.111 WHIP with six Saves, allowing just 15 hits over 18 innings with a 20/5 K:BB.
        Key injuries: Kendrick was held out yesterday with neck stiffness and is considered day-to-day. Ryan Zimmerman continues out on the IL with plantar fasciitis. Trea Turner continues out with a fractured finger suffered more than a month ago. He is back doing baseball activities and should be headed to a minor league rehab assignment soon. He could return to the Nationals lineup within two weeks. Matt Adams is on the IL with a left shoulder strain and has no timetable.
        Upcoming: The Nationals are off on Monday and then host both the New York Mets and Chicago Cubs for three-game sets this coming week.
        Originally published at Phillies Nation as Matt Veasey’s NL East Beat: Week of 5/6-5/12/19

        National League East Report: 4/15 – 4/21

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        Reliever Tayron Guerrero has been a bright spot for Marlins

        The Philadelphia Phillies went just 3-4 over this past week. And yet following a tough week of results for each of the five teams in the National League East Division, the Fightin’ Phils find themselves still on top of the division standings by a full game.

        The Phillies opened the week by capturing two of three from the division-rival New York Mets. Then over the weekend the club dropped three of four at Coors Field in Denver against the host Colorado Rockies.
        That lost weekend included perhaps the most disheartening defeat this season when the Rockies walked-off Saturday night’s game after the Phillies held a two-out, two-strike lead in the 12th inning.
        The early season schedule has included mostly intra-divisional battles to this point, with 14 of the Phillies first 21 games coming against those NL East rivals. That will continue this coming week as the club visits Citi Field in New York for a three-game set with the host Mets. Then they will return home to Citizens Bank Park for a four-game long weekend series with the Miami Marlins beginning on Thursday night.
        As always, my NL East Beat report reveals how each of those Phillies divisional rivals fared over the course of the past week: games scores, pivotal performers, key injuries, and other important updates on each team are included.

        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
        New York Mets 13 11 .542
        Philadelphia Phillies 13 12 .520 0.5
        Atlanta Braves 12 12 .500 1.0
        Washington Nationals 11 12 .478 1.5
        Miami Marlins 8 17 .320 5.5

        ATLANTA BRAVES (2 – 4)

        Summary: The Braves salvaged what began as a disastrous week by capturing the final two games. They began things by getting swept in a three-game series at home against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
        Atlanta then moved on to Cleveland for a weekend set with the host Indians at Progressive Field. The opener was rained out on Friday night and re-scheduled for a Saturday split doubleheader. The Tribe took the first game by 8-4 and then took a 7-3 lead into the top of the 9th in the nightcap. The Braves pulled off a stunning comeback, scoring five times with two outs in that last chance to rally for an 8-7 victory.
        Third baseman Josh Donaldson, struggling in the early going, led the way to an 11-5 victory in the finale by slamming a pair of home runs. Ronald Acuna slashed .318/.423/.500 and Nick Markakis hit .368 with a .458 OBP, but neither provided much run production last week. Freddie Freeman both knocked in and scored five runs.
        On the mound, Kevin Gausman provided Atlanta with an outstanding start on Wednesday in which he struck out 10 while walking one and allowing just three hits against Arizona. It went to waste as the offense let him down, the Braves eventually losing by 3-2 in 10 innings.
        Atlanta is tied for fourth in the National League with 114 runs scored. Their cumulative .815 OPS is second in the league. The Braves pitching staff has an overall .251 Batting Average Against (BAA) which his just 10th in the NL and their 4.69 ERA is 11th in the league.
        Key injuries: Starting pitcher Mike Foltynewicz, expected to be the ace of the rotation, had to begin the season on the IL with elbow soreness. The righty has now completed three rehab starts in the minors and could be activated this week if all continues well for him. The club has three key relievers on the IL: righties Arodys Vizcaino and Darren O’Day and lefty Johnny Venters. Vizcaino is done for the season following right shoulder surgery. There is no timetable on the other two.
        Upcoming: Following an off-day on Monday the Braves are in Cincinnati for a three-game set with the host Reds. That will be followed by a three-game series with the Colorado Rockies next weekend at the opening of a seven-game home stand.

        MIAMI MARLINS (2 – 4)

        Summary: The Fish have slipped out of the running in the division here in the early going, much as expected. Despite all of the front-runners stumbling, this past week didn’t help them make up any ground. The Marlins began the week by getting swept at home by the Chicago Cubs in a three-game series. The club rebounded to capture two of three over the weekend against the Nationals to wrap a nine-game home stand.
        In five of the games, Miami scored just a total of five runs. That included being shut out three times. In their lone offensive outburst, they scored nine in dumping Washington by 9-3 on Saturday. That seems to be their favorite day of the week, as the Marlins scored 10 against the Phillies the previous Saturday night. The week before that, Miami beat the Braves by 4-2 on Saturday. And on March 30 it was a seven-run burst for a 7-3 Saturday win over Colorado. Moral of the story: don’t play the Marlins on Saturday.
        38-year-old veteran Curtis Granderson is slashing just .155/.261/.328, but is tied for the club lead with three homers and leads the Marlins with seven RBIs. 35-year-old veteran Martin Prado began to see more action this week at both first and third base but failed to produce, slashing just .118/.167/118 over 18 plate appearances.
        The Marlins continued to receive strong pitching from lefty Caleb Smith, who beat Washington with his third straight Quality Start on Friday night. Righty reliever Nick Anderson gave up runs in each of his appearances last week. He also struck out four batters and is up to 20 strikeouts over 9.2 innings. Righty Tayron Guerrero has yet to surrender a run this year over 10 appearances and 9.2 innings.
        Miami is last in the National League in runs scored. Their 60 to date are more than half what the league-leading LA Dodgers have put up and leaves them far behind the other four teams in the NL East. Only one club, the San Francisco Giants, has a lower OPS than Miami’s .606 mark. On the bright side, the Marlins pitching staff is fourth in the league in strikeouts.
        Key injuries: It has been a nice first month of the season for Miami on the injury front as the club continues to remain fairly healthy to this point. They have yet to suffer any significant injuries.
        Upcoming: Following a Monday off-day in the schedule the Marlins head to the road for two in Cleveland and then their four-game series at Citizens Bank Park beginning on Thursday. The Phillies took two of three from Miami in their first meeting last weekend.

        NEW YORK METS (2 – 4)

        Summary: The Mets dropped two of three to the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park to open last week and then did the same in Saint Louis, dropping two of three to the Cardinals over the weekend. Going further back, New York split a four-game set with the Braves and a two-gamer with the Twins. They have not won a series since sweeping the lowly Marlins to open the month of April.
        After eking out an 11th inning victory over the Phillies on an unearned run last Monday, New York dropped four of five the rest of the week. They were blown out once in each series: 14-3 by the Phillies and 10-2 by the Cards. Adding injury to insult, the Mets have lost both Jacob deGrom and Robinson Cano at least for the short-term to injuries.
        Rookie first baseman Pete Alonso continues to pace the New York offensive attack. The 24-year-old is slashing .325/.416/.727 and banged two more home runs last week. His eight homers, 19 RBIs, and 15 extra-base hits all lead the club. His 17 runs scored are second to Michael Conforto, who banged three homers this week to double his own season total. Conforto has a dozen RBIs and is slashing .300/.417/.613 thus far.
        The Mets are tied with the Braves for fourth in the NL in runs scored, just two behind the Phillies who are second in the league. The pitching staff BAA of .273 is the league’s worst, with the Phillies not much better at the .270 mark.
        Noah Syndergaard has struck out 34 over 29 innings but has also allowed 30 hits and 19 earned runs. New closer Edwin Diaz has been a bright spot on the mound. The young righty who came over as part of the Cano deal with Seattle this past off-season has seven Saves to this point with a 14/2 K:BB ratio over his first 7.2 innings pitched.
        Key injuries: Losing deGrom for a lengthy stretch could be disastrous to the Mets chances at keeping up in a division with three other legitimate contenders. However, he engaged in a long-toss session that went well and may not even require an MRI. At last report he anticipates making his next start this coming Friday when his 10-day IL stint is up. This will be a situation to watch for any further developments. Cano was in a soft cast on Monday after being hit by a pitch on Sunday. X-rays were negative and he is day-to-day for now, likely to miss some of the early-week action against the Phillies. Veteran infielder Todd Frazier is expected back for the Phillies series and will likely serve as an infield backup at any position.
        Upcoming: This early-week three-game set with the Phillies is the start of a 10-game home stand at Citi Field for the Mets. The Phillies will be followed in by the Milwaukee Brewers over the weekend and then the Cincinnati Reds to open next week.

        WASHINGTON NATIONALS (3 – 3)

        Summary: The Nats were the lone team from the division to not suffer through a losing week. However, their 3-3 mark of last week is reflective of their overall 10-10 record on this up-and-down season. Washington opened the week by taking two of three from the San Francisco Giants at home, but then dropped two of three at Marlins Park in Miami over the weekend.
        Third baseman Anthony Rendon continues to pace the Washington attack with a .371/.451/.711 slash line, six home runs, and 18 RBIs. However, Rendon missed much of the weekend after being hit by a pitch on his elbow on Saturday. The x-rays came back negative and he hopes to be back in the lineup to open this week. The pending free agent has been by far the club’s most consistent offensive performer to date.
        20-year-old left fielder Juan Soto, runner-up in last season’s NL Rookie of the Year voting, is second to Rendon with 14 RBIs and leads the Nationals with 15 walks. The righty bat of Ryan Zimmerman and lefty stick of Matt Adams have provided the club with 11 and 10 RBIs respectively in what is basically a first base platoon.
        The Nationals .802 OPS is third in the league and tops in the division. They are tied for the lead in the National League with a dozen stolen bases and are tied for third in doubles. However, the club is just ninth in the NL in runs scored.
        On the mound the trio made up of righties Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg and left-hander Patrick Corbin have mostly been strong. They have combined to strike out 116 opposing batters over 89.2 innings while allowing 78 hits. Closer Sean Doolittle and righty setup man Kyle Barraclough have also come through for second-year manager Dave Martinez.
        Key injuries: Starting shortstop Trea Turner remains out of the lineup after breaking a finger while trying to bunt against the Phillies early in the month. He began fielding grounders last week and is still expected to be out another three or four weeks, though the Nationals have no clear timetable on him at this time. Rendon sat out Sunday’s game and is day-to-day for now.
        Upcoming: The Nats are now going where the Phillies just left, opening a three-game series at Coors Field on Monday with the Colorado Rockies. Then they return home to Nationals Park for a seven-game home stand with the San Diego Padres coming in over the weekend. That will be followed by a four-game set with the Saint Louis Cardinals to open next week.

        Marlins offense explodes off Zach Eflin in 10-3 drubbing of Phillies

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        Lefty Caleb Smith shut the Phillies down as the Marlins bats went off

        The division-rival Miami Marlins (4-11) dumped the Philadelphia Phillies (8-5) by a 10-3 score on Saturday night at Marlins Park in South Florida.

        The Marlins came in having lost nine of their previous 10 games. But the hosts got on the board early against Eflin, scoring twice in the bottom of the 2nd inning, nearly getting even more.
        With one out, Miguel Rojas laced a one-hop double off the wall and Austin Dean singled to center to make it 1-0. Lewis Brinson then ripped a double down the left field line. Dean was waved home as the relay came from Andrew McCutchen to Jean Segura, who double-clutched and threw home to J.T. Realmuto. As Dean slid into the plate, Realmuto dropped the ball, and it was a 2-0 lead for the hosts.
        Then in the bottom of the 3rd inning the hosts really got rude with their guests from the City of Brotherly Love. Brian Anderson started it off by crushing a solo homer over the wall in dead-center field to make it 3-0. Neil Walker followed by blasting one way out over the wall in left-center and it was quickly a 4-0 lead.
        Eflin nearly got out with just that damage, which was enough as it was. He allowed a one-out single to former Phillies catcher Jorge Alfaro, but then promptly picked him off for the second out of the frame. However, the Fish then got a bloop and a blast to make it 6-0. The bloop was a single to center by Rojas. The blast was a deep homer to left by Dean.

        That would be all of the damage against Eflin, who produced a miserable effort after opening the season with a pair of strong outings. Eflin surrendered 10 hits and gave up six runs over his four innings pitched, striking out four. The vast majority of the hits off him were hard-hit balls, including the trio of home runs blasts.
        In the bottom of the 5th inning the Marlins put another one on the board, this time off Phillies reliever Juan Nicasio. It began with a hot-shot base hit by Castro, a hard grounder that Cesar Hernandez could not handle. Alfaro then singled to right with Bryce Harper bobbling the ball to allow Castro to roll around to third base. He would then score on a sac fly by Rojas and it was 7-0.
        Meanwhile, the lefty Smith was cruising on the mound for Miami. He gave up just one hit on the night, a clean one-out double by Andrew McCutchen in the top of the 3rd inning. Smith was pulled after six shutout innings and 99 pitches.
        Nick Anderson followed Smith to the bump and set the Phillies down in order in the top of the 7th, striking out two of the three batters he faced. Tayron Guerrero struck out a pair in the top of the 8th while walking one. He was reached by Scott Kingery for a pinch-double, just the second hit of the game for the Phillies.
        In the top of the 9th, the Phillies finally broke through. Rhys Hoskins led off with a double. He would score on a one-out single to right by Odubel Herrera to get the club on the board. After Cesar Hernandez hit into a force out, Kingery rapped his second double in as many innings. When Nick Williams followed with a pinch-double, both runners scored to get us to the 10-3 final score.

        SHIBE VINTAGE SPORTS STARTING PITCHING PERFORMANCE

        Covered all of the ugliness in the game story. Eflin simply didn’t have it tonight. The Phillies starting pitchers as a group have now surrendered 74 hits over their first 69.2 innings, including 15 home runs. That is not good.
        On the other side of the coin, the Marlins starter, well…see below.

        PHILLIES NUGGETS PLAYER OF THE GAME

        Marlins starting pitcher Caleb Smith was brilliant on the night: 99 pitches, 64 of them for strikes. He allowed just one hit over six shutout frames to earn his first victory (1-0) on the season. The lefty has allowed just nine hits over his first 17 innings across three 2019 starts.

        NEXT GAME

        • 1:10 pm EDT at Marlins Park in South Florida
        • TV: NBC Sports Philadelphia
        • Radio: SportsRadio WIP 94.1 FM, WTTM 1680 (Spanish)