1st- Atlanta Braves- 54-37
2nd- Washington Nationals- 47-42, 6 games back
3rd- Philadelphia Phillies- 47-43, 6.5 games back
4th- New York Mets- 40-50, 13.5 games back
5th- Miami Marlins- 33-55, 19.5 games back
The Phillies kicked off the last week of games before the All Star Break by dropping two of three to the Braves in Atlanta. The lone win was a 2-0 victory powered by Aaron Nola’s eight shutout innings with 4 hits and 8 strikeouts. Jay Bruce took care of the offense by knocking in two on a double.
Philadelphia had a chance to win another game of the crucial series on Independence Day, but ultimately their pitching failed them again. After the offense gave Zach Eflin a 4-0 lead after the first inning, Eflin crumbled and allowed 6 runs on 7 hits in just three innings. The Braves continued to pour it on and won 12-6.
For Eflin, he is 2-4 in his last 7 starts with a 5.45 ERA. He has allowed 46 hits in just 38 innings pitched over that span.
The Phils were at least able to win two of three against the Mets to close out the first half of their season. Nola yet again had another strong start, going 6 2/3 innings while allowing three hits and two runs, one of which was unearned. Over the last month (June 7th to July 7th,) Nola is 1-1 with a 2.38 ERA over 34 innings pitched through 5 starts.
Upcoming games after the break- Three at home against Washington, four at home against the Dodgers, three in Pittsburgh
Atlanta was able to protect its division lead by taking two of three from the Phillies. In the two wins, the Braves outscored Philadelphia 21-8. Thursday’s win featured five home runs total: two from Dansby Swanson, and one each from Ozzie Albies, Freddie Freeman, and Josh Donaldson.
Over the last 15 games, Swanson is hitting .306/.338/.597 with 4 home runs and 14 RBI’s. Through Atlanta’s first half of games, they have five players with at least 15 home runs (Freeman, Acuna Jr., Donaldson, Swanson, Riley).
The Braves then finished their impressive first half by winning two of three against the Marlins. The first win featured a walk-off single that broke a scoreless tie in the bottom of the ninth. Sunday’s win featured 7 1/3 strong innings from newly signed Dallas Keuchel, allowing 2 runs on 5 hits. For the Braves this season, Keuchel is 2-2 in 4 starts with a 3.60 ERA.
Upcoming games after the break- Three in San Diego, three in Milwaukee, four at home against the Nationals
The Nats continued their resurgence back into the division chase by sweeping the Marlins in three games. The first win saw Patrick Corbin go 7 innings with one run allowed on six hits, while wearing number 45 in honor of former teammate Tyler Skaggs who died suddenly on July 1st at the young age of 26.
Stephen Strasburg was next up in the rotation, and he too tossed a gem, going 7 1/3 innings while allowing just 2 hits and no runs with 14 strikeouts. Included in the outing was an immaculate inning, meaning an inning in which Strasburg struck out the side on nine pitches.
To wrap up their first half, Washington took two of three from the Royals. The highlight of the series came in Saturday’s win. Max Scherzer, while wearing Expos throwback blue, threw 7 shutout innings with 4 hits and 11 strikeouts to fuel the 6-0 victory.
Heading into the break, Washington has now won 10 of their last 12 games and pulled into second place in the division.
Upcoming games after the break- Long road trip: three in Philadelphia, two in Baltimore, four in Atlanta
The Mets split a two game series against the crosstown rival Yankees to start the week. The win was a 4-2 victory fueled by J.D. Davis’ 2-4 day with a home run and 2 RBIs and Zach Wheeler’s 6 2/3 innings with 2 runs allowed.
The Mets yet again lost a series to the Phillies to close out the first half, now having lost 6 of 7 to Philadelphia over the last two weeks. New York was able to rough up Jake Arrieta in the lone win of the series, tagging Arrieta for 11 hits and 6 runs, 5 of them earned, in just 4 1/3 innings. Right fielder Jeff McNeil went 4-5 in the contest in the leadoff spot.
On the season, the newly elected All Star McNeil is now hitting .349/.409/.509 with 7 home runs, 36 RBI’s, and 23 doubles.
Upcoming games after the break- Long road trip: Three in Miami, two in Minnesota, four in San Francisco
After getting swept by the Nationals to begin the week, Miami was able to avoid the win-less week by winning one of three against Atlanta.
The Marlins rallied from a 4-2 deficit and scored three runs in the fifth and then held on for a 5-3 victory. Miami had 15 hits in the contest, with Starlin Castro and Jorge Alfaro both having three hit days.
In a lost season for Miami, one bright spot has been their starting pitching. Through the first half of 2019, the Marlins rotation has a collective 3.89 ERA, good for seventh best in baseball and fourth best in the National League.
Upcoming games after the break- Three at home against the Mets, three at home against the Padres, three in L.A. against the Dodgers