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Around the NL East: Tough times in Philly

Jun 18, 2015, 12:00 PM EDT

Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Jerome Williams, left, wipes sweat from his face as he speaks with teammates and pitching coach Bob McClure in the first inning of an interleague baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles, Tuesday, June 16, 2015, in Baltimore. Williams gave up six runs before he left the game with an injury in the first inning. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

ATLANTA BRAVES 

The Braves continue to hover around the .500 mark as they sit comfortably in third place in the division, which is about where most pundits had them before the season started. The trio of starting pitchers Alex Wood, Shelby Miller and Williams Perez are all developing at a pretty steady rate, which is one of the goals for this retooling club.

Interestingly enough, the Braves quietly have one of the more efficient offenses in baseball. They rank 11th in runs (283), eighth in average (.263) and seventh in on-base percentage (.325). The area where they’re still struggling? Slugging, as they’re 26th in that category at .375. That figure might take a dip now that Freddie Freeman, who leads the team with 12 homers, will be out for a few games with a sprained right hand.

MIAMI MARLINS

At this point, it seems like all we’re doing here every week is updating how awesome a season Giancarlo Stanton is having. With the rest of the team up-and-down, Stanton’s number continue to soar. He’s hitting .372 this month with nine homers and 18 RBI, looking every bit like the guy who will probably win NL Player of the Month for June. He now leads the majors in homers with 24 and has had six straight years with 20 or more long balls. His career-high for single season is 37 and, with the way he’s going, there’s little doubt he might set a new mark sometime soon.

NEW YORK METS 

Is there any doubt that the Mets will stick around deep into the summer? They certainly aren’t going away anytime soon, as they sit 1 1/2 games up on the inconsistent Nationals for first place in the NL East. And most of all, they keep doing it their way: Pitching, pitching and more pitching. At some point you wonder if the club will make a move at the trade deadline to acquire an additional bat or two to increase the margin for error for the staff. But hey, things have worked out well enough so far as is.

Speaking of bats, the Mets are expecting the return of Daniel Murphy and David Wright in the coming weeks, with the former expected to be ready sooner than the latter. Will their additions to the lineup be enough for GM Sandy Alderson to stand pat, or will the Mets still try to address their offensive woes before next month’s deadline? Either way, it’s quite an accomplishment for the team to even be considered ‘buyers’ at this point of the season.

PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES 

Boy, have things have quickly spiraled out of control in Philly. Losers of nine straight, the Phillies officially have the worst record in the game at 22-45. The skid is highlighted by Tuesday night’s 19-3 blowout loss to the Orioles, a game in which the starter left in the first inning with injury, the staff allowed eight home runs and a position player had to throw 48 pitches because the bullpen phone was off the hook. Seriously.

As as the tailspin continues, it’s fair to wonder if and when the organization is going to make any changes in leadership. And the speculation this week is that the Phillies may hire former Orioles exec Andy MacPhail to help steer the franchise in a different direction. MacPhail is credited with reshaping the Orioles’ roster, hiring manager Buck Showalter and starting the team’s ascent from bottom feeder in the AL East to playoff contender (though he left before the team made its first postseason appearance under Showalter in 2012). If this is the move, the Phillies will have to hope that MacPhail, 63, has one more good run left in his career to turn around another struggling organization.

  1. philipd763 - Jun 18, 2015 at 12:16 PM

    Everyone and his brother knew the Phillies were going to be terrible. It’s the Nationals being a .500 team in a weak division when they were supposed to “win it all” that’s the big shock.

    • bowdenball - Jun 18, 2015 at 1:30 PM

      I don’t think anyone referred to the Phillies being terrible as a big shock.

      And there’s no such thing as a team that’s supposed to win it all in baseball. The Nats were the World Series favorites in the preseason, but they were still somewhere around 5 to 1 according to the people who tabbed them as favorites. They were no more “supposed to win it all” than a .200 hitter is supposed to get a base hit.

      • adcwonk - Jun 18, 2015 at 2:02 PM

        + 1/5th!

  2. philipd763 - Jun 18, 2015 at 12:22 PM

    Speaking of the Mets, I think Desmond would fit very nicely in their lineup at SS and a mid-season trade is in order. That would enhance the Nationals chances to turn things around. I’ve had enough of his Ks and his shoddy fielding in pressure situations. He needs to go!

    • jd - Jun 18, 2015 at 12:38 PM

      And you think the Mets haven’t noticed? would he be an upgrade over Flores?

      Not happening.

      • Sweet. Fancy. Charles. - Jun 18, 2015 at 3:07 PM

        Maybe they could trade Desmond for Giancarlo Stanton, instead, then?

  3. wearenationals - Jun 18, 2015 at 12:58 PM

    “…the starter left in the first inning with injury, the staff allowed eight home runs and a position player had to throw 48 pitches because the bullpen phone was off the hook.”

    You can’t make up things like these …too funny.

  4. exposremains - Jun 18, 2015 at 1:27 PM

    From previous post

    Drywnats…Hanrahan was an all star 2 years in a row after he left and a pretty good closer. I think Pittsburg won that one..rare one but one

    • dryw4nats - Jun 18, 2015 at 1:47 PM

      Agreed that it was not an overall win, but not an overall loss, either. I would argue that Hanrahan needed a change of scenery, as they say, in addition to the fact that Nyjer met our short-term needs as I said before. No, still not the best trade Rizzo has ever made, but it did make sense at the time.

    • adcwonk - Jun 18, 2015 at 2:03 PM

      Re: Hanrahan

      But after those two years what happened to him? (I actually mean that as a serious question). He pitched 7 innings for the Red Sox in 2013. What happened? TJ? Retired?

    • exposremains - Jun 18, 2015 at 2:07 PM

      Yes I think he got hurt. dry..yes it made sense and Hanrahan did need a change of scenery but he got real good. I think Rizzo wanted to dump some of Bowden’s project’s.

  5. micksback1 - Jun 18, 2015 at 1:44 PM

    can not really fault JZim a whole lot. What really is starting to get old is the no account offense.

    • adcwonk - Jun 18, 2015 at 2:05 PM

      2nd in runs per game in NL!

      (I know, hard to believe . . . )

      • exposremains - Jun 18, 2015 at 2:16 PM

        Stats not always telling the whole story lots of high scoring game …and lots of low scoring games…like the rest of the nats minus a few..there is no consistency

      • Sweet. Fancy. Charles. - Jun 18, 2015 at 3:13 PM

        Isn’t there a stat on (Fangraphs?) for something like “meaningful runs scored”? I probably have this wrong, but I think it’s something to the effect of discarding all the runs that a team did not need for a win, in other words, count all runs scored in losses, and only up to the eventual winning run in wins, and then rank teams by that number.

        Anybody?

      • Sweet. Fancy. Charles. - Jun 18, 2015 at 3:16 PM

        That would favor teams with bad pitching, I suppose, but would discount blowout wins, which, like 500-foot home runs, still only count as one.

      • exposremains - Jun 18, 2015 at 4:22 PM

        Interesting sweet fancy..would love to know

  6. rayvil01 - Jun 18, 2015 at 3:40 PM

    There have to be decent offers on the table for Hamels and Howard. You would think they’d have to take one of them here soon.

  7. NatsLady - Jun 18, 2015 at 4:35 PM

    Actually, teams that win blowout wins win Divisions. A string of one-run (and two-run) games may seem “efficient” but usually involves an element of chance. Teams need to build up leads which helps with bullpen management.

    • exposremains - Jun 18, 2015 at 4:51 PM

      They get blownout and shoutout too

      • therealjohnc - Jun 18, 2015 at 5:34 PM

        Actually the Nats have been shut out very few times compared with the rest of the league. You could look it up!

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