Look Who’s Not the Worst in MLB

The Phils got their first day off since the 2nd day of the season and it helped give them a little juice to close out a .500 week. After the Mets beat up on them for a couple days, they closed out the series with an extra inning walk-off win followed by that much needed day off and 2 more wins against the Brewers before one big inning cost them a possible sweep on Sunday.

W   L   PCT   GB   STRK   L10
Washington Nationals   14   4   .778     –        W3      7-3
New York Mets               10   7   .588    3.5     W3      8-2
Phillies                              9   10   .474   5.5      L1      5-5
Miami Marlins                 6   11   .353    7.5    W1       3-7
Atlanta Braves                 4   14   .222    10      L5        4-6

Offense

It took a few weeks but the Phils finally had a game with double digit hits. Then, they did it 4 straight times. Maikel Franco also brought out his big stick with 3 HR’s against the Brewers after a 7 game drought. He also raised his average 29 points during the week and now sits at .296. Odubel Herrera increased his average by 42 all while drawing 5 more walks. After 4 straights games of 5 or more runs, the Phils have started to mount some offense. Sustaining that offense will be the key.

Pitching

Jerad Eikhoff had a rough week. After getting beat up by the Mets to start the week, he ended the week by getting lit up in the 6th inning of Sunday’s game after a strong first 5 frames. Eikhoff’s ERA jumped more than 2 points thanks to his Sunday 6th inning swoon. Vince Velasquez has an ERA now after getting touched up for 5 runs by the Mets (only 2 earned). Hector Neris is emerging out of the bullpen. Having given up just one run in 11 innings. Along with Jeanmar Gomez, the Phils so far have a quality 8th/9th inning  combination as long as they can get there with a lead. Things continue to go well with the staff, for the most part. The youth is proving themselves while taking their lumps at the same time. Both are great learning experiences as the team moves through the rebuilding phase.

Around the N.L. East 

Nationals– The Nats continue to dominate. They are tied with the Cubs for the most wins in the majors. They capped a 5-2 week against he Marlins and Twins with a 16 inning walk off win on Sunday thanks to some late game heroics from Bryce Harper. The early season MVP favorite hit a pinch hit HR in the 9th to tie it up and send it to extras, where Chris Heisey sent the Nats fans home happy with a 16th inning bomb of his own. The Nats have their pitching and hitting clicking and while it’s early to predict, could very well run the N.L East from beginning to end. The Nats have 3 at home with the Phils followed by 3 in St. Louis.

Mets– A 5-1 week against the Phils and Braves helped the Mets vault into 2nd but they still trail the Nats by 3 1/2 games. Matt Harvey finally got a win and if that gets him going, that could be a big piece the Mets need to try and keep pace with the Nats. The Reds and Giants come into town this week and 2 struggling teams could be just what they need to help them keep pace.

Marlins– A 3-4 week is usually not a plus but when 2 of those wins come against the Nationals, it shows some positive signs. Barry Bonds return to San Francisco did not go as well as he’d hoped as it was the Giants who had the offense in full swing during their series. With the tough Dodgers and not-so-hot Brewers on tap this week, the Marlins will be pushing for another average week to avoid falling too far behind.

Braves– After a four game win streak through last weekend, the Braves realized once again that they are not a good team. Following their run, they dropped 5 straight to the Dodgers and Mets. With a team batting average of .226 and a team ERA of 4.82, the Braves have amazingly found themselves 10 games out of first place with a week to go in April. A rare feat for sure. They could get a little help with a 4 game home and home against the struggling Red Sox to start the week but with a trip to Chicago to face the Cubs, it’s unlikely there will be any type of run for the Bravos this week.

A 3 game set in Washington likely won’t get the Phils off to a hot start this week but a trip back home to face the Indians could at least give them some reprieve afterwards. The Nats series will be telling after their last set which ended with a 19-5 run differential. The team continues to fight but still need to find some consistency on all fronts. There isn’t much likelihood of staying close all season but the more positives they show, the less time the “rebuild” will last.

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