1st- Philadelphia Phillies- 31-22
2nd- Atlanta Braves- 30-24, 1.5 games back
3rd- New York Mets- 26-26, 4.5 games back
4th- Washington Nationals- 22-31, 9 games back
5th- Miami Marlins- 16-34, 13.5 games back
The Phillies began one of the hardest parts of their schedule by splitting a four game series on the road with the Cubs. J.T. Realmuto hit his sixth home run of the season in the tenth inning to give the Phillies the win in the opening game of the series, erasing a disastrous second inning of work from Seranthony Dominguez in which he gave up three runs, and his defense allowed a little league home run. The Phils dropped the next two games of the series behind poor starts from Jerad Eickhoff (4 IP, 5 ER) and Cole Irvin (4.2 IP, 7 ER). But they earned the split in the final game of the series, overcoming a shaky Aaron Nola start and an almost total collapse from the bullpen that turned a 7-0 game into a 9-7 win. Realmuto homered again, sending one 456 feet and out of Wrigley Field.
The Phillies then took a huge two out of three games from the Brewers in Milwaukee. The first win featured a much needed bounceback game from the bullpen. After starter Jerad Eickhoff went three innings while allowing four runs, Gabe Kapler employed a quick hook and went to the bullpen. He was rewarded with six innings of shutout ball with only three hits and 10 strikeouts. Newly minted reliever Vince Velasquez was one of five relievers that combined for the performance. Velasquez threw two innings and struck out 4. The second game featured a vintage Jake Arrieta performance (8 IP, 2 ER) and four home runs from Rhys Hoskins, Cesar Hernandez, J.T. Realmuto, and Andrew McCutchen.
Upcoming games- Three at home against the Cardinals, and then a West Coast road trip kicks off with three against the Dodgers.
The Braves continued their recent hot streak by taking three games out of four in San Francisco against the lowly Giants. The biggest win came in the third game of the series, a 9-2 blowout that saw the Braves hit three home runs. Rookie Austin Riley continues his historic start to his career. Through 11 games since his call up, Riley has 5 home runs and 13 RBIs.
Atlanta was then able to take two of three from the Cardinals in St. Louis. The most impressive win came Sunday night, a game in which the Braves trailed the Cardinals 3-0 entering the ninth inning. Cardinals reliever Jordan Hicks failed to record an out and was charged with three runs on three hits, surrendering the lead. Then in the tenth, after Austin Riley was intentionally walked to load the bases, catcher Brian McCann worked a walk which send home what proved to be the winning run.
Upcoming games- Two at home against Washington, followed by three more at home against the Tigers.
Well, the Mets defied conventional logic by climbing back from getting swept by the Marlins by sweeping the Nationals in four games, thus saving manager Mickey Calloway’s job for the time being. Jacob deGrom had a strong start in the third win of the series, going six innings while allowing one run and striking out 8. deGrom returning to 2018 form will be key for the Mets if they want to right the ship and overcome their incredible rash of injuries. Yoenis Cespedes hasn’t even played but is now out for the year with an ankle injury. Due to their starting outfield all being hurt, the Mets outfield currently consists of Rajai Davis, Carlos Gomez, and of course, Aaron Altherr. Altherr hit the hardest home run of his career in his first at bat with New York because why not.
New York then won two of three against the Tigers, giving them a 6-1 record on the past homestand, thus righting the ship at least for now. Only time will tell if they truly rebounded from what looked like rock bottom.
Upcoming games- Seven game West Coast road trip that opens with four in L.A. against the Dodgers and finishes with three in Arizona.
The Nationals started the season as NL East favorites and currently sit nine games under .500. They were swept by the Mets in four games in New York. Their bullpen, long the Achilles heel of this ballclub, is now on pace to be historically inept. They were able to at least win three straight against the Marlins at home to put some distance between themselves and the tanking Marlins, but their chances this season are fading fast. They sit nine games behind first place and seven games back of the wild card after 53 games played.
Upcoming games- One more at home with Miami to wrap up a four game series, then two in Atlanta followed by three in Cincinnati.
The Marlins swept back-to-back three game series for the first time since 2012. They achieved this by sweeping the Tigers in Detroit after sweeping the Mets at home. They end the week having lost three straight to the Nationals with one more game to go in the series.
Upcoming games- One more against the Nats, followed by three at home against the Giants and then three in San Diego.