NL East Update: 4/28-5/4

If someone would have told you before the season that the Miami Marlins would be in last place in the NL East at this time of the year, there would be no surprise. If that same someone told you the Marlins would be over the .500 mark at this time of the year, but still in last place, that may provoke some shock. The reality is, the Marlins are playing solid baseball so far this year, but remain in last place. Let’s see how they, and the rest of the division, fared over the past week.

1. Atlanta Braves (17-13, 0-6 this week)

The Braves did not win a game this week, yet oddly enough, they still lead the National League East. Atlanta was swept by the Miami Marlins during the week, then swept by the San Francisco Giants over the weekend. Was the problem pitching or hitting? Well, in the Miami series, the Braves were outscored 23-7. Judging by that series alone, it would have seemed as if the Marlins were leading the division, rather than the Braves. Over the weekend, Atlanta was outscored 9-3. The pitching improved over that series, but the offense continued to slump. Justin Upton, Evan Gattis, B.J. Upton, Freddie Freeman, and Jason Heyward all had solid days throughout the week, yet the team lacked a game where they all were producing collectively.

Player of the Week- Jason Heyward (8-24, 2 2B)

2. Washington Nationals (17-14, 3-2 this week)

In their first week without superstar Bryce Harper, the Nationals played fairly well, taking advantage of Atlanta’s struggles to move just 1/2 game back of the Braves for first place. Washington swept the Houston Astros in a two-game mid-week series, supported by solid offensive output. On Tuesday, Jayson Werth and Adam LaRoche anchored the offense, followed the next day by a 4 for 5 day from Anthony Rendon, who doubled twice and hit his fourth home run of the year. Over the weekend, Washington dropped two of three to Philadelphia, which included a 1-0 loss on Sunday in the rubber match of the series.

Player of the Week- Jayson Werth (7-20, HR, RBI, 3 R)

3. New York Mets (16-14, 2-3 this week)

The Mets continued to stay in the thick of the NL East race here in early May, despite a sub-.500 week. Daniel Murphy had himself a stellar week, while Juan Lagares also swung a hot bat. New York picked up a 6-1 win over the Phillies on Tuesday before being rained out Wednesday and heading out west to Colorado. It was a tough weekend for the Mets, who allowed 28 runs in the first three games of the series, all losses. Saturday’s loss was a tough one for New York, with Kyle Farnsworth blowing a lead in the ninth, leading to an 11-10 loss. They came back on Sunday for a 5-1 win over the Rockies, keyed by a strong pitching performance by Dillon Gee, who allowed no runs over six innings.

Player of the Week- Daniel Murphy (10-24, 3 2B, 2 RBI, 5 R)

4. Philadelphia Phillies (15-14, 2-2 this week)

Philadelphia continued to compete along with the rest of the division, putting up a .500 record this week. They dropped a 6-1 game to the Mets on Tuesday before taking two of three from the Nationals over the weekend. The Phillies had a strong weekend from their starting pitchers overall, with the two wins coming from strong pitching performances. A.J. Burnett tossed six innings of one-run ball on Saturday night en route to a 7-2 victory, followed on Sunday by Roberto Hernandez, who threw seven and one-thirds shutout innings on the way to a 1-0 Phillies win to clinch the series.

Player of the Week- Marlon Byrd (5-13, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 2 R)

5. Miami Marlins (16-15, 5-1 this week)

The Miami Marlins may be the biggest surprise in baseball this season, standing a game over .500 in early May. The Fish are just 1 1/2 games back of first place in the division after a great week. They swept the division-leading Atlanta Braves during the week by putting on an offensive clinic, beating the Braves by scores of 9-0, 9-3, and 5-4. The Marlins then hosted the Los Angeles Dodgers over the weekend, taking the series opener Friday night behind three hits from Garrett Jones. Los Angeles took game two on Saturday in eleven innings before the Marlins clinched the series on Sunday afternoon on a walk-0ff double to right field by Jeff Baker. Jose Fernandez ended up with a no-decision on Sunday, but he remains unbeaten in his short career so far at Marlins Park.

Player of the Week- Giancarlo Stanton (8-23, 2 2B, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 5 R)

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