The Braves have won five of their last six games including a sweep of the Arizona Diamondbacks over the weekend. They are getting hot and have a favorable schedule up ahead with 16 of their next 20 games against teams under the .500 mark. 13 of those games are on the road, but the Braves have a chance to create some more distance in the N.L. East in the month of July.
Pitching has been a big strength for them lately, especially with the continued dominance of Julio Teheran. The 22-year-old threw six shutout innings against the D’backs on Friday and now has a 3.12 ERA on the year. He has a 2.28 ERA in ten starts since the beginning of May. Craig Kimbrel has also been hot as of late, converting his last 13 save attempts with 17 consecutive outings without allowing a run.
Player of the week: RF Jason Heyward – 9-for-22, HR, 4 RBI, 4 R, 4 2B, 2 BB
Philadelphia Phillies (39-44)
After losing three out of their last four, the Phillies have dropped to a season-worst 9 ½ games out of first place in the N.L. East. Their 2013 campaign is continuing on very much like how it started. Chase Utley and Dominic Brown are producing at the plate, while others like Cole Hamels and Jimmy Rollins are having off years.
The question for Philly will become whether they will start selling off pieces. There is interest around the league in Jonathan Papelbon and Michael Young, plus Cliff Lee and Chase Utley may garner some suitors as well. It will be up to Ruben Amaro, Jr. if he wants to pull the trigger. Last season they sold off Hunter Pence and watched him win a World Series. They are never easy decisions for a general manager to make, but the clock is ticking with the trade deadline just weeks away.
Player of the week: 2B Chase Utley – 12-for-30, 4 HR, 5 RBI, 11 R, 3 BB
Miami Marlins (30-51)
Winners of eight out of their last ten, the Marlins now have the second worst record in the majors thanks to the lowly Astros. The Fish were, in fact, 15-10 in the month of June which was the best mark in the N.L. East during that stretch and third best in the majors. They’ve been pitching better than early in the season, having held opponents to three runs or less in 13 of their last 14 games.
One nice surprise in their rotation has been right-hander Jacob Turner, a 22-year-old they acquired from Detroit last season in the Anibal Sanchez/Omar Infante trade. Since making his first start of the season on May 31, Turner has held a 1.76 ERA through six outings. Giancarlo Stanton has also been a huge help with eight home runs in his last 22 games.
Player of the week: C Jeff Mathis - 5-for-14, 2 HR, 11 RBI, 2 R, 2 BB
New York Mets (34-45)
The Mets are 10-6 over their last 16 games, staying ahead of the Marlins in the N.L. East. If it weren’t for their recent surge, they would be sitting in last place. Matt Harvey continues to carve up MLB lineups and now sits at 7-1 with a 2.00 ERA as the All-Star game inches closer. Will he be the N.L. starter? That is looking more and more likely as the calendar turns to July.
This week, however, it was reported that Harvey may be shut down later this season due to his pitching workload. Manager Terry Collins said the Mets won’t put a number on it now, but believes it will be in the best interest to not push their young ace too hard this season. Because of Harvey’s brilliance, he has been able to last late into games and has already tossed 117 innings this season at the halfway mark.
Player of the week: 1B Josh Satin - 12-for-27, 4 RBI, 5 2B, 3 R, 4 BB