|Photo by USA Today|
Atlanta has come back to Earth a bit, as they no longer hold the game's best record, ceding that title to the surprising Boston Red Sox (18-7). They do, however, still possess the only winning record in the division, as the Nationals (13-13), Phillies, and Mets all continue to hover at or just below .500. The Marlins, meanwhile, are nothing if not consistent; for the fourth straight week they check in with the worst record in the NL East (and all of baseball), and show no signs of ever bucking that trend.
Atlanta Braves (16-9): Since the last NL East roundup Atlanta has been up and down time of it, sweeping a doubleheader last Tuesday against the Rockies, then four straight losses which included a sweep at the hands of Detroit. They broke their losing streak last night against the Nationals, against whom they are now 4-0; fret not Nats fans, 15 games remain in the season series.
Early slugger Evan Gattis has regressed along with Atlanta's record, and is now batting .236. Freddie Freeman has given the lineup a boost since returning from the DL, and Justin Upton continues to leave the yard with frequency, his home run total now at 12 through 107 plate appearances. Still not a peep from the other two thirds of the outfield. Mike Minor has emerged as the rotation stalwart so far, with a 5.4 strikeout-to-walk ratio that leads the staff by double.
Player of the Week: Justin Upton, OF: 6 R, 3 HR, 6 RBI, .320 AVG
Miami Marlins (7-19): There isn't much to say about the weekly facepalm that is the Miami Marlins -- it's beating a dead fish to point out that this team continues to struggle to both score and prevent runs. The positives: Closer Steve Cishek is tied for second on the team in wins (1), which is one more than most of the team's starters possess, and has amassed three saves. Kevin Slowey and Ricky Nolasco continue to put up respectable ERAs of under 3.00 and 4.00, respectively. Sleeping giant Giancarlo Stanton has awoken in the past week, bashing his first three home runs of the season and raising his average 51 points, up to .227.
Player of the Weak: Stanton, OF: 6 R, 3 HR, 8 RBI, .296 AVG
Philadelphia Phillies (12-14): It has been feast or famine for the Phillies in the past seven days: three straight losses to the Pirates followed by a three-game sweep of the Mets. While starting pitching continues to be a mixed bag the offense is more reliable, with Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Michael Young, and Jimmy Rollins hitting fairly well (only Rollins, at .267, is significantly below .300). The best news for Philly might be that former uber-prospect Domonic Brown is finally, at 25, getting comfortable in the majors. In an organization hurting for youth, a breakout year from him (and gloveman Ben Revere) would be beyond huge.
Player of the Week: Brown, OF: 2 R, 1 HR, 5 RBI, .304 AVG
New York Mets (10-14): No one outside of Miami will need to worry about occupying last place anytime soon, but right now New York has fallen into the pseudo-basement just above where the Marlins spend their time. A +2 run differential suggests that this team isn't quite as bad as it's record is right now, which is encouraging as long as the starting pitching can find some balance -- so far a dominant Matt Harvey and a solid Jonathon Niese have been offset by consistently poor performances from Dillon Gee and Jeremy Hefner (one combined win).
On offense it's David Wright and everyone else, with John Buck now toiling around .240 (though with a team-leading nine home runs and 25 RBI). Lucas Duda leads the team with 20 walks to go along with five home runs, putting him on base .429% of the time despite his .246 average.
Player of the Week: Reuben Tejada, SS: 4 R, 0 HR, 2 RBI, .346 AVG