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Around the NL East: Can Mets hit consistently?

May 14, 2015, 1:21 PM EST

May 13, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; New York Mets left fielder Michael Cuddyer (23) grounds out to Chicago Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant (not pictured) scoring New York Mets right fielder Curtis Granderson (not pictured) in the sixth inning at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

ATLANTA BRAVES

Atlanta continues to scuffle, losing five out of its last six games, including a weekend sweep at the hands of the Nationals. Pitching has been the Braves’ Achilles heel recently, so you’d have to figure it’s only a matter of time before the organization shakes things up to generate a spark. That was the talk after Wednesday’s 5-1 loss to the Reds, as the club is reportedly considering removing veteran Eric Stults out of the rotation in favor of top minor league prospects Matt Wisler or Manny Banuelos. If they were to go ahead with that plan, each member of the rotation would be under the age of 25.

As for the offense, Atlanta’s lineup took a hit when Kelly Johnson was put on the 15-day disabled list with an oblique injury. Johnson, who batted cleanup, was in the midst of a career revival as he lead the club in home runs (5) and RBI (18). He’ll be replaced by minor-leaguer Todd Cunningham.

MIAMI MARLINS  

The Marlins had a 3-4 week, dropping to third place in the NL East thanks to the Nats’ recent surge. But anyone who’s watched baseball highlights in the past few days knows that the most memorable moment for the Fish in recent days was Giancarlo Stanton’s mammoth home run Tuesday night against the Dodgers. Estimated at 475 feet, the ball cleared the entire ballpark, leaving the Dodger Stadium crowd ooh-ing and aah-ing in the process. Never mind that it came in an 11-1 loss; it just goes to show how Stanton is among the game’s most fun players to watch (along with you-know-who).

NEW YORK METS  

Losers of three straight, the Mets are clinging to a tenuous 1 1/2 game lead in the division. While the starting rotation has remained mostly steady, it’s the hot-and-cold offense that’s keeping them from becoming one of the better teams in the NL. Take this four-game set with the Cubs as an example: New York has scored just five runs total in the first three games, and are in danger of getting swept in a four-game series at Wrigley Field for the first time since 1992.

On the season, the Mets are collectively hitting .235 and are ranked 26th in the league in home runs with 23 long balls. The offensive inconsistency gives the pitching staff too narrow a margin for error each night. Luckily, the rotation has been more than solid — the starters’ ERA is a big league best 3.04 — but pitching alone can’t win games.

Since the 11-game win streak, they’ve gone 7-11 while the division rival Nats are making a steady climb up the standings. If the New York offense doesn’t right the ship quickly, it looks like there will be a new division leader this time next week.

PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES  

The bad news: The Phillies are tied for the worst record in the majors at 12-23. The good news? The team’s most tradable asset, Cole Hamels, has rebounded from his tough April. After going 0-2 with a 5.00 ERA, the lefty starter has gone 3-1 with a 2.72 ERA over his last five starts. It seems like this section of Around the NL East reads like a broken record each week, but the Phillies can’t move forward as an organization until they get the Hamels situation settled. Ditto for other veterans like Ryan Howard, Jonathan Papelbon and Chase Utley. The only question is how and when these deals get done.

[RELATED: A grand conclusion to a wild Nats win]

  1. nats128 - May 14, 2015 at 1:53 PM

    What a difference 2 weeks makes. As some predicted, the Nats were surging towards the top and in team OPS in May, the Nats are #2 at .839 only trailing the red hot Dodgers.

    Now if MW and Cat can figure out the starting rotation, this team can surge even moore!

  2. ArVAFan - May 14, 2015 at 3:27 PM

    “even moore”? Typo, auto-corrupt at work, or credit to the bench?

    • nats128 - May 14, 2015 at 4:11 PM

      Credit to the bench!

  3. rlndtln - May 14, 2015 at 3:35 PM

    Not mentioned the Mets are without 3 important regulars.They will hit better when they return.

  4. Sweet. Fancy. Charles. - May 14, 2015 at 3:36 PM

    “When thou hast done, thou hast not Dunn, for I have Moore.” Or something like that.

    Mets up 3-1 at Wrigley, Motte relieving Travis Wood with one out and runners at 2nd and 3rd … and he strikes out Cuddyer for the second out. But then he grooves a cutter to Mayberry, who singles to center. 5-1 Mets, still hitting in the fifth.

  5. Sweet. Fancy. Charles. - May 14, 2015 at 3:40 PM

    BTW, about that hitting: Yeah, it’s Wrigley, but Flores has homered, and Recker has homered twice. So there’s that.

    • natsfan1a - May 14, 2015 at 3:43 PM

      Go, Cubs, go!

      • Sec 3, My Sofa - May 14, 2015 at 4:15 PM

        And the Cubs come back with 4 in their half of the 5th. Tied at 5 now after 6.

      • natsfan1a - May 14, 2015 at 4:37 PM

        Keep it up, Cubbies!

        Wait, Hansel? Are you challenging me to a walk-off?

  6. letswin3 - May 14, 2015 at 3:59 PM

    Red Sox RHP Justin Masterson to 15 day DL. The starting pitching in Boston is starting to become even more of a concern for them …. anyone have Rizzo’s phone number?

  7. Ghost of Steve M. - May 14, 2015 at 4:19 PM

    Cubs have tied up the game with the Mutts. Still 3 innings to go.

  8. David Proctor - May 14, 2015 at 4:40 PM

    Cubs take the lead. I can only imagine how Mets fans are reacting. Your team can’t score any runs, you finally get a 5 spot and your team blows it. 2 unearned runs, one on an error by Flores and the lead run scored on a passed ball by Recker.

    • masterfishkeeper - May 14, 2015 at 4:42 PM

      And the Mets bring in a reliever named Hansel, which makes me wonder where Gretel is.

      • Bruxtun - May 14, 2015 at 4:45 PM

        Hansel. So hot right now. Hansel.

    • ArVAFan - May 14, 2015 at 4:45 PM

      Mets fans are reacting as you would expect: “Oh, well, that was fun while it lasted.” “Enjoy the last weekend in first place.” “How soon do we start saying ‘wait until next year’?” “Same old Mets, what did you expect?”

      Those are paraphrases from other blogs.

      • David Proctor - May 14, 2015 at 4:45 PM

        So no choking dogs?

      • natsfan1a - May 14, 2015 at 5:04 PM

        Not to worry, Mets fans. It’s still early. [ducks and runs]

      • ArVAFan - May 14, 2015 at 5:05 PM

        David, I think most Mets fans fall in the category of “resigned to their fate” rather than “raging against the dying of the light.” There’s probably some appropriate reference to Kubler-Ross’s 5 stages of grief here, but I don’t have time to be that creative.

  9. Ghost of Steve M. - May 14, 2015 at 5:10 PM

    Mutts lose. Deficit to 1 game

  10. David Proctor - May 14, 2015 at 5:12 PM

    A win tonight and we’re only .5 games back.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - May 14, 2015 at 5:58 PM

      The Cubs played the Harvey game perfectly. Couldn’t score off Harvey but as soon as the bullpen took over they beat the bullpen. Well played Cubs.

  11. natsfan1a - May 14, 2015 at 5:14 PM

    Thanks, Cubbies. You can put away your brooms now.

  12. Section 222 - May 14, 2015 at 5:54 PM

    If the Mets don’t watch out, Bryce will have more homers than they do soon.

  13. Eugene in Oregon - May 14, 2015 at 5:58 PM

    Worth remembering that last year on May 14 the Braves, Brewers, and Giants were in 1st place in their respective NL divisions. Giants obviously did well (understatement) in the end, but none of those teams won their division.

    • therealjohnc - May 14, 2015 at 7:23 PM

      +May

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