Tag Archives: Pete Alonso

As MLB All-Star break arrives, Braves in charge, Nats hot, Phils not in NL East race

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The Braves have taken charge of the NL East at the All-Star break

The Philadelphia Phillies (47-43) have arrived at the MLB All-Star break in third place in the National League East Division standings. They trail the Atlanta Braves by 6.5 games and are a half-game behind the Washington Nationals, but still control the second NL Wildcard playoff berth.

The Phillies captured a weekend series over the New York Mets at Citi Field by winning two of the three games, capped off by a rousing 8-3 victory in Sunday’s series finale. That followed on the heels of a series defeat after they dropped two of three to the first-place Atlanta Braves to open last week.
Now nearly three and a half months into the six-month long MLB regular season, the Phillies appear to be approaching a cross-roads. They led the division for all but seven days up until June 12, then were passed for second place by the Nats just this past week.
While the club has struggled to produce runs on a consistent basis over the traditional first-half of the season, their real problem has been on the mound. Phillies pitchers rank at or near the bottom of most important statistical categories. While the bullpen appears to finally be getting healthy, the starting rotation has become a complete mess.
The ability of general manager Matt Klentak to find a pair of more stable, veteran, productive starting pitchers prior to the trade deadline at the end of this month will likely prove pivotal to any hope of reaching the postseason.

If Klentak is unable to procure those new starters, even a bit of improvement from the offense is unlikely to keep them in contention through the dog days of August and the crucible of a September stretch run.

The 2019 MLB All-Star Game will take place at Progressive Field in Cleveland, Ohio on Tuesday night. The lone Phillies representative will be J.T. Realmuto, who was selected as a back-up catcher for the National League.
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 54 37 .593
    Washington Nationals 47 42 .528 6.0
    Philadelphia Phillies 47 43 .522 6.5
    New York Mets 40 50 .444 13.5
    Miami Marlins 33 55 .375 19.5

    ATLANTA BRAVES (4 – 2)

    Summary: The first-place Braves continued to win series as the month of July opened, beating the Phillies and Marlins in two of three games each last week.
    While it was nothing special, it demonstrated exactly the kind of consistent, winning performance that the Phillies had been producing over the season’s first two months.
    Upcoming: Atlanta will head out on the road following the All-Star break, visiting San Diego and Milwaukee for three games each.
    Player of the First HalfMike Soroka, SP
    NL All-Star repsFreddie Freeman 1B, Ronald Acuna Jr.OF, Mike Soroka SP

    MIAMI MARLINS (1 – 5)

    Summary: For a second straight week, Don Mattingly‘s Fish dropped five of six games, this time to the division’s top two ball clubs. The Washington Nationals swept the Marlins in D.C. to open the week, and then the Braves won two of three in Atlanta over the weekend.
    After a stretch of strong play from mid-May through mid-June, the Marlins have begun to collapse. They are just 3-9 over their last dozen contests, and their overall .375 winning percentage is the worst in the entire National League. However, their 8-7 mark against the Phillies is proving to be a major factor in the division race.
    Upcoming: The Marlins will be at home coming out of the break, hosting the New York Mets for three games over the weekend. The San Diego Padres then come to South Florida to open next week.
    Player of the First HalfGarrett Cooper, OF/1B
    NL All-Star repsSandy Alcantara P

    NEW YORK METS (2 – 3)

    Summary: A losing week has dropped the Mets to 10 games below the .500 mark on the season, with the second-worst record in the NL behind only the Marlins.
    They began last week with a two-game split of a Subway Series match-up with the New York Yankees. Then the Phillies came to Citi Field and took two of three over this past weekend. The Mets are seven games behind the Phillies for the second NL Wildcard, but would have to climb over nine other teams to get there as well.
    Upcoming: New York will come out of the break and head out on the road to begin a nine-game trip that will start in Miami over the weekend. The road trip will then take them to Minnesota for two with the AL Central-leading Twins and out to San Francisco for three with the Giants.
    Player of the First HalfPete Alonso, 1B
    NL All-Star repsPete Alonso 1B, Jeff McNeil 3B/OF

    WASHINGTON NATIONALS (5 – 1)

    Summary: The Nationals are white-hot after appearing to be on the verge of getting buried just a month ago. Since May 23, when they were 19-31 and sitting in fourth place, 10 games behind the first-place Phillies, Washington has gone 28-11 to overtake the Phils in the standings.
    This past week, the Nationals stayed hot by sweeping the Marlins at home to open the week. Then they took two of three over the weekend from the visiting Kansas City Royals.
    Upcoming: The Nats also come out of the break and head out on the road. It all starts with a visit to Citizens Bank Park this coming weekend to take on the Phillies in a showdown for second place in the NL East. The trip doesn’t take them geographically very far at all. Next week they will drive to Baltimore for a pair with the Orioles at Camden Yards. Then it’s down south for a huge four-game set next weekend in Atlanta.
    Player of the First HalfAnthony Rendon, 3B
    NL All-Star repsAnthony Rendon 3B, Max Scherzer P

    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.

    National League East Report 4/22-28

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    The Washington Nationals have struggled somewhat thus far

    This past week began with the Philadelphia Phillies (16-12) at three games above the .500 mark in first place in the National League East Division standings. They held a one game lead over both the Atlanta Braves and New York Mets, with the Washington Nationals just 1.5 behind but also just a game out in the loss column.

    The week began in disheartening fashion for the Phillies. They dropped their first two games on Monday and Tuesday by a combined 14-1 to the Mets. However, the Fightin’ Phils lived up to that nickname, roaring back to take four of the last five games.
    That stretch lifted them four games over the .500 mark and raised their lead in the division to 1.5 over the Mets, though it remains just a game in the loss column. Atlanta has fallen 2.5 and Washington is now 3 games behind the Phillies, both 2 games out in that all-important loss column.
    The Phillies will meet the Detroit Tigers on Tuesday and Wednesday of the current week in what is already their second inter-league series of the season. With a win on Tuesday night, the Phillies would equal their best record in the early weeks of the 2019 season by going to five games above that .500 mark. They were at 7-2 back on April 8.

    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 17 13 .567
      Atlanta Braves 15 15 .500 2.0
      New York Mets 15 15 .500 2.0
      Washington Nationals 12 17 .414 4.5
      Miami Marlins 9 21 .300 8.0

      ATLANTA BRAVES (2 – 4)

      Summary: The Braves began the week by dropping two of three tight games at Great American Ballpark to the host Cincinnati Reds. Then they came back home to Atlanta and surrendered 24 runs in losing two of three to the visiting Colorado Rockies. They salvaged something by scoring three times in the bottom of the 8th to rally to an 8-7 victory on Sunday.
      Offensively the Braves continue to be led by veteran first baseman Freddie Freeman and budding young superstar outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr. Freeman has a .324/.448/.539 slash line. His five homers and 18 RBIs are both tied for second on the club. Acuna, last year’s NL Rookie of the Year, is slashing .289/.410/.526 and leads the club with six homers. He also has 18 RBIs on the year.
      Third baseman Josh Donaldson has begun to heat up, slashing .327/.453/.712 over the last 15 games. He also has five homers and leads the Braves with 13 extra-base hits. Veteran outfielder Nick Markakis is slashing .333/.407/.490 with 11 extra-base hits and 18 RBIs. Shortstop Dansby Swanson has a dozen extra-base hits and his 22 RBIs lead the team.
      The Braves two-headed catching combo has produced well for the club. Righty-hitting Tyler Flowers is slashing .367/.426/.592 with three homers in 54 plate appearances. The lefty-hitting Brian McCann is hitting .270 with a .364 OBP and has driven in eight runs over 44 plate appearances.
      For all the good that the offense has produced, the pitching has been letting the Braves down thus far. A bright spot has been 25-year-old lefty Max Fried. The southpaw is 3-1 with a 2.30 ERA and 1.085 WHIP, allowing 27 hits over 31.1 innings while striking out 26 and walking seven.
      Righty reliever Luke Jackson has been strong out of the bullpen for manager Brian Snitker. The 27-year-old has allowed 11 hits over 14 innings across 13 appearances with a 15/6 K:BB ratio.
      Key injuries: That bullpen has lost four key members to the Injured List. Lefties Johnny Venters and Jesse Biddle and right-handers Darren O’Day and Arodys Vizcaino. The latter is done for the season following should surgery.
      Upcoming: Manny Machado and the San Diego Padres come to Atlanta for a four-game series beginning Monday night. The Braves will then hit the road for a 10-game road trip, one of two of that length that they will see this season. It begins next weekend with a visit to Miami for three games, then continues out west to visit the Dodgers and Diamondbacks next week.

      MIAMI MARLINS (2 – 4)

      Summary: The Marlins are the least consequential and yet in some ways the most pivotal team in the division. They are going to finish in last place, barring some sort of major miracle that would need to include any of the other four teams suffering a series of major lengthy injuries.
      However, the Fish have already done some damage, taking two of three from the Nationals last weekend. They have losing records against the Phillies (2-5), Mets (0-3) and Braves (1-2) to this point. If the Marlins can find a way to win frequently against any of those teams it would be a major crippling blow.
      This past week, Miami started solidly enough, capturing two of the first three games. They split a quick two-game trip to Cleveland and won the opener against the Phillies. But then the Phils roared back to sweep the final three of their four-game series this weekend.
      The Marlins have gotten a strong start to the year from catcher Jorge Alfaro, who is slashing .297/.342/.500 and leading the club with five home runs. Veteran left fielder Curtis Granderson leads the team with 11 RBIs and eight extra-base hits.
      And that’s about it for the Miami offense, which has pretty much been putrid on every day of the week other than Saturdays. For some odd reason the Marlins become competitive on that day. They were 4-0 over the first four Saturdays of the season including division wins over the Braves, Phillies and Nationals. The Phils finally put an end to that streak this weekend, but only after watching the Marlins roar back from a 10-1 deficit to make it a 10-9 game at one point.
      The Miami staff has received a strong season thus far from lefty starter Caleb Smith, who is 2-0 with a 2.17 ERA and 0.828 WHIP over his first five starts. He has allowed just 17 hits over 29 innings with a 37/7 K:BB ratio, and has tossed a pair of gems against the Phillies.
      The Marlins bullpen has received mostly strong work from a trio of right-handers in Tayron Guerrero, Nick Anderson and Tyler Kinley. Those three have combined to allow just 27 hits over 38.1 innings with a 57/21 K:BB ratio. Veteran closer Sergio Romo has four saves and was perfect in his last three opportunities.
      Key injuries: Veteran infielder Neil Walker pinch-hit in the final two games against the Phillies this past weekend. He has been battling hamstring tightness but remains available. The Marlins have otherwise been one of the healthiest teams in baseball over the first five weeks of the season.
      Upcoming: The Marlins are home in Marlins Park this week, hosting the Cleveland Indians for a pair on Tuesday and Wednesday after visiting Cleveland last week. Then they welcome in the division-rival Atlanta Braves for a three-game set next weekend.

      NEW YORK METS (3 – 3)

      Summary: The Mets pulled away from the Milwaukee Brewers late on Sunday to salvage the final game of their weekend series and get back above the .500 mark, staying within a game of the Phillies in the standings.
      New York opened the week by taking two of the three from the Phils but then dropped two of three to the Brew Crew. They are in the midst of a 10-game home stand that continues with four this week against the Cincinnati Reds.
      The Mets offense continues to be led by the National League’s leading Rookie of the Year candidate, first baseman Pete Alonso. The 24-year-old is slashing .306/.398/684 and leads the club with nine homers, 24 RBIs, 19 extra-base hits, and 20 runs scored.
      Right fielder Michael Conforto is second on the team with six home runs and 13 extra-base hits. Catcher Wilson Ramos and shortstop Amed Rosario are each second on the club with 16 RBIs. Left fielder Jeff McNeil is hitting .355 with a .434 OBP and nine extra-base hits.
      On the mound, Steven Matz and Zack Wheeler have been the surprise leaders of the rotation. The performances of the Noah Syndergaard and Jake deGrom ace duo have been puzzling. Those two have combined to surrender 66 hits over 60 innings including 10 home runs, and they have walked 10 batters apiece.
      Closer Edwin Diaz remains perhaps the best in the game. He has eight saves over a dozen appearances with a 20/2 K:BB ratio over 10.2 innings. Right-hander Seth Lugo has also been solid, but the rest of the Mets bullpen has been a mess.
      Key injuries: Second baseman Robinson Cano was hit on the hand by a pitch from newly signed Milwaukee pitcher Gio Gonzalez on Sunday and had to leave the game early. Initial x-rays reportedly came back negative but he will undergo an MRI today before the club decides how to proceed.
      Infielder Jed Lowrie remains out with a knee injury and hopes to return over the next week or two. Lefty reliever Justin Wilson had soreness in his pitching elbow and an MRI came back clean. He could return later this week. There remains no timetable on outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, who could return later this season but could also miss the year entirely.
      Upcoming: After hosing the Cincinnati Reds for four games at Citi Field to open the week, the Mets go on the road for a two-city trip that starts with three games next weekend in Milwaukee against the Brewers and then continues out in San Diego to start next week.

      WASHINGTON NATIONALS (2 – 4)

      Summary: The Nationals dropped two of three to the Rockies at Coors Field to open the week, then returned home and again lost two of three games, this time to the visiting San Diego Padres.
      A big factor this past week for the Nationals was the loss of third baseman Anthony Rendon to an injury that lingered. He was hit on the elbow by a pitch last weekend, sat out a few games, and then tried to return on Friday. After playing that night, the elbow flared up again.
      Bottom line, the club’s top hitter missed most of the action this past week. Rendon has slashed .356/.442/.740 over his first 86 plate appearances. His six homers are tied for the club lead, his 18 RBIs are second, and he leads the Nats with 16 extra-base hits and 21 runs scored.
      The two young outfielders who the club has hoped would step up and ease the transition away from Bryce Harper have been a mixed bag to this point. 20-year-old left fielder Juan Soto, last year’s runner-up to Acuna in the NL Rookie of the Year voting, is hitting .255 with a .376 OBP and is tied for the club lead with six homers while leading the Nats with 22 RBIs.
      22-year-old center fielder Victor Robles is hitting just .265 with four homers and 11 RBIs, though he does have a dozen extra-base hits. He is second on the club in that category and with his 19 runs scored behind only Rendon.
      Howie Kendrick has filled in well as a back-up at both third and second bases. The 35-year-old, 14-year veteran is slashing .333/.421/.667 with four homers, seven extra-base hits and 13 RBIs over 57 plate appearances. The Nationals have called up one of their top prospects, shortstop Carter Kieboom, to try and bridge the gap with the injuries to Turner and Rendon.
      On the mound, the club’s big free agent signings have been a split decision. Lefty Patrick Corbin has been the club’s most consistently strong starting pitcher. He is 2-0 with a 2.48 ERA and 0.918 WHIP, allowing 24 hits over 32.2 innings with a 39/6 K:BB across his first five starts.
      However, Anibal Sanchez (0-3) has allowed 32 hits and walked 16 over his first five starts and 27 innings with the club. His rotation spot could be in jeopardy if he doesn’t straighten out and get better results quickly. Manager Dave Martinez has a number of options waiting for a shot, including Erick Fedde and Joe Ross.
      Veterans workhorses Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg have been dominant at times, but both have also struggled on a couple of occasions as well. Combining with Corbin, they give the Nationals a top three in the rotation that, assuming health, should keep them in the race all year.
      In the bullpen, closer Sean Doolittle has been strong. That’s about it. The rest of the pen group has largely been a mess. Fedde was called up from the minors to help out there, but he could end up in the rotation at some point.
      Key injuries: Getting Rendon straightened out quickly would be a huge plus for a lineup that is already missing star shortstop Trea Turner. However, Rendon may yet require an IL stint. Turner is out still after breaking a finger on a bunt attempt against the Phillies a few weeks ago. He is expected to be out anywhere from four to six more weeks.
      Veteran first baseman Ryan Zimmerman was just placed on the Injured List, presenting the lineup with another setback. He is suffering from plantar fasciatis. Relievers Trevor Rosenthal and Koda Glover are also on the IL with no return ETA.
      Upcoming: The Nats open a four-game home set with the Saint Louis Cardinals at Nationals Park on Monday night. They will then embark on a 10-game road trip beginning with a visit to Citizens Bank Park for next weekend. That tough trip will continue next week with visits to the Brewers and Dodgers.