Tag Archives: Jacob deGrom

Phillies open final series before MLB All-Star break

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Jacob deGrom takes the mound vs the Phillies on Friday night

The Philadelphia Phillies (45-42) pay a visit to Citi Field in Queens to take on the host New York Mets (39-48) on Friday night. This weekend’s three-game set between the two NL East Division rivals will be the final series before Major League Baseball takes a four-day break for next week’s All-Star Game.

Both teams enter this series cold. The Phillies have dropped four of their last six games, losing two of three to both the Marlins and Braves. The Mets have dropped eight of their last 10 games.
These two teams began the season with what appeared to be legitimate division title possibilities. In fact, in late April the Mets were in first place and the Phillies on their tails in second.
A losing 13-15 was followed by a rough 10-18 June month for New York. The Phillies bolted past them, and actually controlled the division lead for all but seven games through late May. However, both teams were not only passed, but are getting left in the dust by the defending division champion Braves. And now the Washington Nationals have also passed them both.
The Mets season appears to already be over. There are just too many teams to climb over to get into playoff position, and they have struggled with too many injuries and too much inconsistency. The losing campaign could yet cost manager Mickey Callaway his job.
For the Phillies, there is a near desperation to win this series and remain in the NL Wildcard playoff hunt. They now sit a half-game off that pace. If they can duplicate what happened just 10 days ago, when the Phillies swept out the Mets in a four-game series at Citizens Bank Park, it would be a major shot in the arm heading into the break.

FRIDAY STARTING LINEUPS

PHILLIES

  1. Scott Kingery CF
  2. Jean Segura SS
  3. Bryce Harper RF
  4. Rhys Hoskins 1B
  5. J.T. Realmuto C
  6. Jay Bruce LF
  7. Cesar Hernandez 2B
  8. Maikel Franco 3B
  9. Vince Velasquez P

METS

  1. Jeff McNeil RF
  2. Pete Alonso 1B
  3. Robinson Cano 2B
  4. Michael Conforto CF
  5. Todd Frazier 3B
  6. Dominic Smith LF
  7. Wilson Ramos C
  8. Amed Rosario SS
  9. Jacob deGrom P

SHIBE VINTAGE SPORTS STARTING PITCHING MATCHUP

PHILLIES – Vince Velasquez: 2-5, 4.73 ERA, 1.422 WHIP, 50 hits over 51.1 IP across 19 games (9 starts), 60/23 K:BB. Back on April 24 he allowed 3 hits over 5 shutout innings with 6 strikeouts to earn his first win of the season. Over nine career starts vs the Mets, Velasquez is 2-4, 4.04 ERA, 38 hits over 42.1 IP with a 43/17 K:BB. In three starts since returning to the rotation he has allowed 11 hits over 11.2 IP with a 15/2 K:BB, with the Phillies losing all three starts.
METS – Jacob deGrom: 4-7, 3.32 ERA, 1.107 WHIP, 92 hits over 103 IP across 17 starts with a 128/22 K:BB. This will be deGrom’s first outing against the Phillies this season after winning last year’s National League Cy Young Award. He has dominated the Phillies over 14 starts during his career: 7-1, 2.20 ERA, 69 hits over 86 IP with a 91/18 K:BB. The last time the Phillies beat him was back on September 5, 2017.

PHILLIES NUGGETS PREGAME NOTES

  • The Mets have competed well this year at Citi Field, with a 22-17 home mark. They are just 17-31 on the road.
  • Phillies have won seven of the 10 games between the two teams this season. They are trying to win their first season series over the Mets since 2011. New York has won the season series the last seven straight years.
  • Bryce Harper has hit deGrom well over his career, batting .323 with two homers and seven walks.
  • Where the third-place Phillies will have only catcher J.T. Realmuto representing them at next Tuesday’s MLB All-Star Game, the Mets have three NL All-Stars: Alonso, McNeil, and deGrom. The Alonso-McNeil combo are the first pair of teammates in MLB history to be named to the All-Star team within a year of their big-league debut.
  • McNeil leads all of baseball with his .349 batting average. Alonso leads all MLB rookies in nearly every major offensive category.
  • Frazier spent most of the season’s first month on the IL, but has been hitting .293 with 25 runs, six doubles, a triple, nine home runs, 27 RBI, 20 walks and a .903 OPS over his last 45 games since May 16.
  • Rosario is batting .339 with 10 runs, four doubles, a home run, six RBI, two walks, four steals and an .814 OPS over his last 16 games.
  • Phillies announced prior to the game that righty reliever Yacksel Rios has re-joined the club, with lefty Austin Davis being optioned back to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Prior to yesterday’s game in Atlanta the club placed reliever Juan Nicasio on the IL.

TICKET IQ PROGRAMMING INFORMATION


Slumping Phillies visit struggling Mets prior to MLB All-Star break

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Phillies visit Citi Field just prior to the 2019 All-Star break

It was just 10 days ago that the Philadelphia Phillies (45-42) season was on life support. Seven straight defeats and losses in nine of their previous 10 games had dropped the club to just a game over the .500 mark.

Turned out the temporary cure at that time was arriving at Citizens Bank Park in the form of the New York Mets, a club perhaps struggling even more than the Phillies.
Now here we are, a week and a half later, and the Phillies season appears to once again have relapsed. Since that visit to South Philly by the Mets, the Phillies have dropped two of three games to both the last-place Miami Marlins and first-place Atlanta Braves.
The Phillies are not only looking up at the Braves in the NL East standings, they are also now trailing behind the Washington Nationals by a game in the loss column. This marks the first time all season that the Phillies have fallen below second place in the division. In fact, they have now also slipped out of even an NL Wildcard playoff slot.
Could the Mets once again prove to be just what the Phillies need to feel a bit rejuvenated heading into next week’s four-day MLB All-Star Game break? As this weekend before that Mid-Summer Classic break begins, the Phillies will visit Flushing, Queens for three games at Citi Field.
The Mets slipped to fourth place in the division back on June 19 and have been stuck there ever since. They are coming off a split in their two-game Subway Series match-up with the New York Yankees and had the day off on Independence Day. Losers of eight of their last 10, the Mets have not won three games in a row since mid-May.

NEW YORK METS

TOP LINEUP THREATS

Michael Conforto: 26-year-old right fielder slashing .247/.361/.477 with 16 homers, 32 extra-base hits, 43 RBIs, 47 runs.
Jeff McNeil: 27-year-old left fielder slashing .349/.411/.516 with 7 homers, 31 extra-base hits, 35 RBIs, 38 runs.
Amed Rosario: 23-year-old shortstop with 9 homers, 42 RBIs, 36 runs.
Todd Frazier: 33-year-old third baseman with 11 homers, 34 RBIs, 27 runs over just 236 plate appearances.
Wilson Ramos: 31-year-old catcher slashing .275/.348/.414 with 9 homers and 41 RBIs played with Phillies in late 2018.

SPOTLIGHT PLAYER

Pete Alonso: 24-year-old rookie first baseman slashing .278/.372/.623 with 28 homers, 50 extra-base hits, 64 RBIs, 55 runs. The Tampa, Florida native was the Mets second round choice at 64th overall in the 2016 MLB Draft out of the University of Florida.
Phillies pitchers have proven to be among the few who have been able to keep Alonso under control. The 6’3″, 240 pounder has slashed just .229/.357/.286 with no home runs and two doubles in the 10 games (9 starts) in which he has played between the two teams this season.
In a recent poll of five MLB scouts, three chose Alonso as having a better long-term career outlook than Yankees young slugging phenom Aaron Judge. “Right now, I’d take Alonso,” one scout told Matthew Cerone of SNY. “Like most of the league’s power hitters, they both use the popular ferris wheel swing, inside out style, but Alonso tends to square up better and often faster.
The Phillies offense has to face three tough pitchers this weekend. Continuing to find a way to keep Alonso under control will prove a major challenge, but one that will be vital to picking up more wins against the struggling Mets.

SCHEDULED STARTING PITCHERS

FRIDAY – Jacob deGrom (31/RH): 4-7, 3.32 ERA, 1.107 WHIP, 92 hits over 103 IP across 17 starts with a 128/22 K:BB. After winning the 2018 NL Cy Young Award, deGrom struggled a bit in the early going. But over his last eight starts, deGrom has allowed as many as three earned runs just once, and has a 2.65 ERA and .235 batting average against. This will be his first start of the year against the Phillies.
SATURDAY – Noah Syndergaard (26/RH): 5-4, 4.56 ERA, 1.242 WHIP, 98 hits over 100.2 IP across 16 starts with a 98/27 K:BB. After spending two weeks on the IL in late June, “Thor” returned to the Mets rotation last week. Just seven of his 16 outings have resulted in Quality Start efforts. The Phillies got to him for five earned runs on nine hits back on April 15 at Citizens Bank Park.
SUNDAY – Zack Wheeler (29/RH): 6-5, 4.42 ERA, 1.246 WHIP, 110 hits over 114 IP across 18 starts with a 123/32 K:BB. Wheeler, set to become a free agent after this season, has been the subject of trade speculation for over a year now. If the Mets don’t spurt back into the race in the next couple of weeks, he is likely to be dealt. He is making the price go up of late, as over his last three starts the righty has allowed just 12 hits and four earned runs over 19.1 IP with a 20/4 K:BB. Wheeler has already made three starts against the Phillies on April 17 and 23, and June 27. The Mets lost the first and last, but on April 23 he tossed a gem, striking out 11 over seven shutout frames.

THE SKIPPER

Mickey Callaway: There was intense speculation that Callaway could be canned after the Phillies swept his club at the start of last week. But the second-year skipper has survived to this point.
The 44-year-old native of Memphis, Tennessee has a 116-133 record at the helm of the Mets. He was recently involved in a high-profile altercation with a member of the New York media and has come under much negative scrutiny in the press over the last two weeks.
Just a week ago, Callaway even seemed to throw in the towel on his team’s 2019 chances. His club sat 6.5 out of a Wildcard berth with seven teams standing between them and the second NL Wildcard slot at the time. “We’re in a tough spot. It’s gonna take a miracle,” The Mets manager told WFAN’s Mike Francesa. ‘I’ve seen miracles before … We’re down in the win-loss column. That’s the bottom line.

THE BALLPARK

Citi Field is located in the Flushing Meadows-Corona Park area of New York City in the borough of Queens. It was built adjacent to the former Shea Stadium, which had been home to the Mets since 1964, and opened to replace that old ballpark for the 2009 season.
There is a normal seating capacity of 41,922 and can fit up to 45,000 when taking standing room into account. The dimensions are 335 and 330 down the left and right field lines. Left-center is a close 358 feet, it is then 385 to deep-left center and 408 to straightaway center field. The deep-right center field fence is 398 feet away, and right-center is at 375 feet.
As homage to a tradition from Shea Stadium, the Home Run Apple, a giant apple which has a Mets logo on the front that lights up, rises from its housing in the center field batter’s eye whenever a Mets player hits a home run.
There is a Mets Hall of Fame & Museum located adjacent to the Jackie Robinson Rotunda at the front entrance to the ball park on the first base side. The museum includes plaques honoring inductees to the team’s Hall of Fame, replicas of the two World Series trophies won by the organziation, and other memorabilia.
An extreme pitcher’s park in it’s first few years, changes to the fences for the 2012 season were made to allow the park to play much more fairly. However, Citi Field still ranks just 22nd in all of Major League Baseball in the ESPN Park Factor rankings for runs scored.

Mets are a mess under manager Mickey Callaway as they open series with Phillies

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Mets skipper Mickey Callaway is under serious fire in New York

The Philadelphia Phillies (39-38) and New York Mets (37-41) both entered the 2019 season with high hopes. Each team was considered by most evaluators to be a genuine contender for a division crown and a postseason berth. Neither has seen their season play out as they would have hoped to this point.

The Phillies situation is well known by now to the frustrated and nearly mutinous fan base. The Phillies were 33-22 and riding high in first place in the division on May 29. They have gone just 6-16 since that time, and just three and a half weeks later are on a seven-game losing streak and have fallen out of even an NL Wildcard spot.

For the Mets, injuries and inconsistencies, their usual two bugaboos, have ganged up to derail what was their own promising start to the 2019 season. On April 24, nearly a month into the season, they were in first place following a 9-0 white-washing of the Phillies. But they went 13-15 in May, and are now 9-12 in June to this point.
The Mets have now lost star pitcher Noah Syndergaard to the IL for at least a couple of weeks. With Jacob deGrom not scheduled to pitch in this series, the Phillies hitters should feel fortunate to be missing their two best starters. However, as inconsistent as they have been performing of late, anyone appears capable of shutting down the Phillies bats.
Following this series, the Phillies will head out on the road for nine games within the division, three each in Miami, Atlanta, and New York. To say they are desperate at this point would be an understatement. The Phillies really need to win this series with the Mets in order to head out on the road feeling better about themselves and their chances of turning things around.

Our division rivals from New York are in town for four games at Citizens Bank Park.

Here’s the Ballpark Buzz: https://atmlb.com/2ZMDoqe 

View image on Twitter

NEW YORK METS

TOP LINEUP THREATS

Pete Alonso: 24-year-old rookie first baseman is slashing .276/.366/.642 with 27 homers, 46 extra-base hits and 61 RBIs
Jeff McNeil: 27-year old Phillies killer is settling in as the starting LF and is slashing .342/.407/.494 with 25 extra-base hits
Michael Conforto: 26-year-old right fielder slashing .256/.374/.496 with 15 homers and 38 RBIs
Amed Rosario: 23-year-old shortstop has 26 extra-base hits and leads the club with nine steals
Wilson Ramos: 31-year-old catcher slashing .271/.347/.413 is second on the club with 40 RBIs, third with 34 runs scored
Dominic Smith: 24-year-old is slashing .320/.421/.515 in just 114 plate appearances backing up first base and left field
J.D. Davis: 26-year-old utility player hitting .272 with eight homers, 17 extra-base hits and 22 RBIs in just 202 plate apps

SPOTLIGHT PLAYER

Robinson Cano: The 36-year-old former superstar has not been anything like what the Mets hoped when they swung a big off-season trade with the Seattle Mariners, taking on Cano’s massive contract that still owes him $96 million more over the next four years.
An 8x American League All-Star who has two Gold Gloves and five Silver Sluggers in his trophy case mostly from his play with the Yankees in the prior decade, Cano won a World Series with the Bronx Bombers, helping defeat the Phillies back in the 2009 Fall Classic.
Cano is slashing just .228/.276/371 in 210 plate appearances. He has produced just four homers and 20 extra-base hits, scoring 18 runs and driving in 16, for the $24 million that the Mets are paying him this year. He seems to wake up against the Phillies, however. Cano has gone 7-15 (.467) in six games between the two NL East rivals this year.

SCHEDULED STARTING PITCHERS

MONDAY – Steven Matz: 5-5, 4.28 ERA, 1.371 WHIP, 75 hits over 73.2 IP across 14 starts with a 74/26 K:BB
TUESDAY – Walker Lockett: 25-year-old RH making just his second start this season, fourth of his career. Was traded twice this past off-season, from San Diego to Cleveland, and then the Tribe to the Mets in January.
WEDNESDAY – Jason Vargas: 3-3, 3.75 ERA, 1.333 WHIP, 54 hits over 60 IP across 13 appearances (12 starts) with a 47/26 K:BB

THE SKIPPER

To say that Mickey Callaway is under fire might be an understatement. Callaway is now in his second season at the helm with the Mets and has a cumulative 114-126 record to date.
In his playing days, Callaway was a right-handed pitcher who appeared in parts of five big-league seasons, making 20 starts and 20 relief appearances spread across three organizations between 199-2004.
Callaway recently had what can only be described as a full meltdown during an incident involving a New York reporter. Per Brian Fonseca of NJ.com, Callaway allegedly cursed out the reporter, Tim Healey of Newsday, and had him removed from the locker room following his postgame press conference on Sunday after Healey questioned his use of the bullpen:
“Callaway, wearing a black shirt, emerged from his office and walked past a reporter, who told him “see you tomorrow, Mickey.”
Callaway, still on edge from the loss, turned around and yell “Don’t be a smarta–, motherf—–.”
He later returned and engaged the reporter about the comment, which was not made maliciously, and Callaway raised his voice while he hurled expletives, telling a team public relations official to remove the reporter.
“Get the f—– out of here,” Callaway said. “We don’t need that s— here.”

SERIES WEATHER REPORT

Monday will be a partly cloudy, warm and humid evening with temps mid-80’s and light winds and only a low chance or rain. Tuesday and Wednesday are more of the same, except a bit more sun and a little less humid. All-in-all it will be good typical summer-time baseball weather. Report from The Weather Channel forecast.

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: 3/28 – 3/31

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    Freddie Freeman and Atlanta start defence of their NL East crown

    I’ll be providing a weekly update scheduled to release every Monday during the regular season, highlighting the happenings within the National League East Division.

    The Philadelphia Phillies swept the defending division champion Atlanta Braves in the 2019 season-opening series for both teams over this past week at Citizens Bank Park.
    I will be presenting those game and series results, but also will be letting you know how each of the Phillies division rivals fared in the prior week of play while supplying important updates for each club.
    The NL East beat reports will also include top producers for each team in the division, interesting statistics, the upcoming schedules, and the ramifications on both the divisional and National League Wildcard playoff races as the season unfolds.
    ATLANTA BRAVES

    Last week: 0-3
    The defending NL East Division champion Braves came to Citizens Bank Park with a number of questions regarding their pitching staff. Those questions found few answers as the Phillies pounded the staff for eight homers en route to scoring 23 runs over three Atlanta losses.
    By far the biggest offensive producer for the Braves was veteran first baseman Freddie Freeman. He slashed an unreal .600/.692/.800 with two doubles and two RBI. 22-year-old second baseman Ozzie Albies had three hits and two walks. Shortstop Dansby Swanson had Atlanta’s lone home run and scored three times.
    On the mound, starter Julio Teheran went five solid innings on Opening Day, allowing three runs on four hits. He struck out seven and walked two. He surrendered a home run to Andrew McCutchen on his first pitch of the season, but left with Atlanta trailing just 3-1.
    The Phillies whooped up on the Atlanta bullpen, thrashing eight relievers for 13 earned runs and 10 hits including five homers over 11.1 innings.
    Key injuries: Starting pitchers Mike Foltynewicz (elbow) and Kevin Gausman (shoulder) and lefty reliever A.J. Minter (shoulder) each began the year on the IL. The Braves hope to get all three back soon.
    Upcoming: The Braves host both the Marlins and Chicago Cubs for three games each this week at SunTrust Park.
    MIAMI MARLINS

    Last week: 2-2
    The Fish, universally picked to finish in the cellar of this talented division, opened their season with a four-game split against the Colorado Rockies of the NL West. After dropping the first two games to the Rox, the Marlins battled back to take the last two by 7-3 and 3-0 scores.
    Former Phillies catcher Jorge Alfaro, dealt away as part of the deal to acquire J.T. Realmuto, homered on Opening Day for the Marlins. Shortstop JT Riddle banged a pair of homers during the series. 38-year-old, 16-year big-league veteran outfielder Curtis Granderson played the middle two games of the set, producing a pair of hits including a home run while driving in three runs.
    23-year-old Sandy Alcantara, obtained as part of the Miami rebuilding program in the Marcell Ozuna deal with Saint Louis in December 2017, went eight strong innings on Sunday. The right-hander allowed just four hits while walking no one and striking out six batters. Second-year starter Trevor Richards gave Miami six strong innings in one of the losses. New closer Sergio Romo was clobbered on Friday but rebounded with strong efforts on the weekend, including nailing down his first Save on Sunday.
    Key injuries: Starting pitcher Jose Urena was nailed on the knee by a comebacker on Opening Day. He is expected to make his next start this week against the Mets.
    Upcoming: The Marlins stay at home to start the week with three in South Florida against the division-rival Mets before heading up to Atlanta for a three-game set next weekend against the Braves.
    NEW YORK METS

    Last week: 2-1
    The Mets took the first two games of their season-opening intra-divisional series at Washington. Then they rallied from down 5-2 to tie the Nationals in Sunday’s series finale, only to get walked-off by a Trea Turner home run.
    Robinson Cano drilled a home run among four hits in his NL debut series. Rookie phenom first baseman Pete Alonso had six hits in his big-league debut including three doubles with three RBI. Super-utility man Jeff McNeil started twice in left field and once at third base, contributing four hits including a double and triple. Wilson Ramos, who briefly caught for the Phillies last season, had four hits while scoring three times and driving in three runs.
    On the hill the Mets received a strong Opening Day outing from Jacob deGrom, who allowed five hits while walking one and striking out 10 batters over six innings to gain a victory. Noah Syndergaard struck out seven and walked no one over six innings but was touched for four earned runs and seven hits in his first start. New closer Edwin Diaz registered his first two Saves for New York, striking out one batter over 1.1 perfect frames.
    Key injuries: Veteran outfielder Yoenis Cespedes (heel surgery) remains on the IL with no timetable for his return. It is possible that the 34-year-old could miss the entire season after appearing in just 38 games a year ago. Infielders Jed Lowrie (knee) and Todd Frazier (oblique) and catcher Travis d’Arnaud (elbow) each have no firm timetable but could all return at some point later in April.
    Upcoming: The Mets will be in Miami to open the week, then head home to the Big Apple for their home opener on Thursday against Washington. Following an off-day on Friday those same two clubs will battle twice more next weekend.
    WASHINGTON NATIONALS

    Last week: 1-2
    The Nats are considered the favorites by many to win their fifth NL East crown in eight years in what is expected to be a four-team battle royale. They began their season by dropping two of three to the Mets at home, avoiding a sweep thanks to that Turner walk-off bomb in Sunday’s finale.
    Turner produced five hits during the series including a pair of homers. He scored four times, drove in four runs, and also stole four bases. Still considered a rookie, Victor Robles produced five hits including three doubles and a home run, scoring three times. Anthony Rendon and Adam Eaton each had four hits and a pair of runs scored.
    On the mound, three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer, who finished runner-up for those honors a year ago, was brilliant in his season debut. The 34-year-old, 12-year veteran allowed two hits and walked three while striking out a dozen over eight innings on Opening Day. Unfortunately he lost when the club got shut down by deGrom, last year’s Cy Young winner. Both veteran Stephen Strasburg and newcomer Patrick Corbin provided six innings in their respective outings. The Nationals bullpen was roughed up by the Mets, allowing 16 hits and 10 earned runs over 7.1 innings.
    Key injuries: Veteran utility man Howie Kendrick (hamstring) and young outfielder Michael Taylor (knee) are each working their way back. Taylor seems ahead of Kendrick, but no firm timetable on either.
    Upcoming: If you’ve been living in a cave without access to media over the last few days you may not be aware that Bryce Harper is returning to where it all began. The Nationals host the Phillies on Tuesday and Wednesday, with Scherzer getting the nod for the Nats in the opener. It should be quite a scene. Washington then ends the week traveling up to New York for the home-opening series for the Mets.
    Originally published at Phillies Nation as Matt Veasey’s NL East beat