Matt Veasey's NL East beat

Matt Veasey’s NL East Beat: Week of 6/3-6/9/19



Fan holds a foam tomahawk, waiting to root on the next Braves rally. Atlanta is hanging on the Phillies tail in the 2019 NL East Division 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

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.

 

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