1st- Philadelphia Phillies- 33-26
2nd- Atlanta Braves- 32-27, 1 game back
3rd- New York Mets- 28-31, 5 games back
4th- Washington Nationals- 26-33, 7 games back
5th- Miami Marlins- 21-36, 11 games back
This week was eventful, to say the least. On the field, the Phillies were able to take two out of three from the Cardinals at home. Bryce Harper came alive in the series and looks to be beginning to heat up. Harper went 8 for 12 against St. Louis with 7 RBIs, 5 doubles, and one home run. The Phils then ventured out onto their West Coast road trip and suffered a sweep at the hands of the Los Angeles Dodgers, their first time being swept on the season.
The Dodgers pitching outclassed that of the Phillies this series, with the exception of Nick Pivetta’s excellent start on Sunday (6 IP, 3 hits, 9 K’s, 82 pitches) in which Pivetta was lifted for a pinch hitter with runners on first and second with no outs in a then 0-0 game. Dodger starters Kenta Maeda, Clayton Kershaw, and Rich Hill combined for 20 innings pitched and just 3 runs allowed. Conversely, the Phillies pitching staff as a whole gave up 8 home runs over the three games. On the season, the Phillies have been out-homered by their opponents 92-67.
But the biggest news from this week came off the field. Center fielder Odubel Herrera was arrested Monday night in Atlantic City on a charge of simple assault. According to the Atlantic City police report, the victim was a 20-year-old woman. The Phillies placed Herrera on administrative leave which prevents him from playing for at least seven days and allows Major League Baseball to investigate the incident. At the very least, Herrera is facing a 40 game suspension, but he has most likely played his last game as a Phillie.
Perhaps in relation to the news about Herrera, the Phillies struck a deal with the Seattle Mariners to acquire veteran outfielder Jay Bruce. The Phillies acquired Bruce and cash considerations for 3B prospect Jake Scheiner.
Seattle also agreed to pay the majority of Bruce’s contract, which lasts through 2020 and has $13 million salary left as well as a $1.5 million signing bonus due in 2020. Philadelphia will pay just $2.75 million of those commitments according to MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki. So far on the season, Bruce is hitting .212/.283/.533 with 14 home runs and 28 RBIs.
Upcoming games- Three more on the west coast against the Padres in San Diego, followed by three at home against the Reds.
Atlanta started its week dropping both games of a quick two game series at home against the Nationals at home. The second of the two was a 14-4 defeat that the Braves trailed 14-0 after six innings. The Braves then dropped the first in a three game series against the Tigers before winning the next two, cutting the Phillies’ lead in the division to one game. Tigers left fielder Niko Goodrum went 5-5 with two home runs in his return to his hometown area to play against the team he grew up cheering for.
The league has yet to figure out rookie left fielder Austin Riley. Through the first 17 games of his career, Riley is hitting an absurd .328/.366/.716 with 8 home runs and 22 RBIs. Riley has firmly entered the NL Rookie of the Year conversation along with Mets first baseman Pete Alonso and Padres starter Chris Paddack.
Upcoming games- Six game road trip with three in Pittsburgh, followed by three in Miami.
The Mets wrapped up a seven game road trip with a 2-5 record. New York was able to avoid a four game sweep in L.A. against the Dodgers by winning one game by a score of 7-3. The win came off the back of outfielder Michael Conforto’s first career grand slam. The Mets were in strong position to earn another win the following night, entering the bottom of the ninth with an 8-5 lead. However, major offseason acquisition Edwin Diaz was shelled in the ninth, giving up 4 runs on 5 hits including two home runs.
New York was then only able to take the first game against the Diamondbacks in Arizona, a 5-4 win, a come from behind victory powered by pinch hits from J.D. Davis and Carlos Gomez. Davis knocked in the tying run and Gomez hit a double to score the go ahead run.
Upcoming games- Six at home with the first three against the Giants and the next three against the Rockies.
The Nats started the week by losing to the Marlins in the final game of a four game series in which Washington took the first three. They followed the loss by winning both games of a two game series in Atlanta. The second game was a 14-4 win where Washington belted out 15 hits and two home runs, one from Juan Soto and the other from Matt Adams.
The Nats then took two of three from the Reds in Cincinnati. The first win, a 5-2 victory, featured three home runs, one each from Gerrado Parra, Matt Adams, and Brian Dozier. The other win, a 4-1 affair on Sunday, featured a dominant Max Scherzer start. Washington’s ace went eight innings and struck out 15 while allowing one run on three hits. Scherzer threw a season high 120 pitches, the last of which a 96 MPH fastball that struck out Joey Votto.
Upcoming games- Two at home against the White Sox, followed by four in San Diego.
After avoiding a four game sweep at the hands of the Nationals, the Marlins were able to take two of three from the Giants at home. The first win saw the Marlins hit three home runs and collect 14 hits in an 11-3 rout in which Giants starter Jeff Samardzija was chased after four innings.
The Marlins then won a series against the upstart San Diego Padres by taking the last two games of a three game series. Sunday’s win featured a 9-3 laugher. Marlins starter Trevor Richards went the first five innings giving up only one hit and striking out 8 Padres. Catcher Jorge Alfaro went 2-4 with a home run and a career-high 4 RBIs.
Upcoming games- Three in Milwaukee, followed by three at home against the Braves.