Well after last week, it was literally impossible to get any worse. The Phils showed some major guts early in the week with a couple of late inning rallies led by Maikael Franco and his timely blasts.
||Back at the top
||Looking up again
||Still hanging around
||Best of the bunch this week
||Well, it wasn’t as bad as last week
The big bats were out but there was no small ball to be found. The most important part of the week was that the big bats came out. There were bombs left and right this week including the aforementioned late inning blasts on Tuesday and Wednesday night both to tie the games late and lead the way to eventual wins. Another strong sign was the fact that Chase Utley had gotten his average up as high as .207 on Tuesday night. Unfortunately, an 0 for the weekend has dropped him back down under the Mendoza line. Beyond those “highlights”, there is still not a lot to be excited about. Ryan Howard and company are turning up the power but when your leading hitter is a part-timer (Andres Blanco- .300) and your best starter is only hitting .266 (Freddy Galvis), you better be shutting teams out 3-4 times a week. That brings us to…
It is never good when your best addition is a subtraction. This week that was the case though as the Phils demoted Jake Diekman who had been absolutely atrocious since his first outing this year. His lack of command this season was not showing any improvement and the brass decided it was time to send him away to get straightened out. Maybe they can find a way to make Jerome Williams disappear now. Cole Hamels gave the rest of the majors more reason to keep a close eye on him but ended up getting a no decision. He and Aaron Harang will get another crack at the Reds this week and see if they can start the week off with a couple wins like last week.
Around the N.L. East
Mets- Look who’s back up top. Despite a 3-4 week that saw them give up 7 runs in 3 of the 4 losses, the Mets jumped the Nationals and back into first place. This week was a complete back and forth for the Mets as not only did they give up big runs in their losses but in their 3 wins, they scored either 6 or 7 runs. Eventually, the Nats and maybe Braves are going to figure things out. The Mets have been hanging on using smoke and mirrors and better get some more balance before they fall and fall fast. After a 6 game West Coast swing, the Mets will take on another team from the N.L West as the Giants come to NY for 3. They will then host the Braves to try and stay up top.
Nationals- The highlight of the week for the Nats may have been their postponed game to start the week. After that, there wasn’t a lot to write home about. A 2-5 week led to a 2nd place finish when the week was over. Somehow, despite their talent, this team (sans Bryce Harper) have yet to figure things out. If and when that happens, this team has the ability to run away and hide but until they show it, they will hang out in the pack. The Nats will head to Yankee Stadium for 2 games before heading to Milwaukee for 4.
Braves- Much like the teams above, the Braves did nothing to make a run at the lead. A 2-4 week kept them looking up at the Nats and Mets. The Braves will host the Padres for 4 before heading into NY to face the Mets in what could be a big series in the division.
Marlins- The Marlins may have had the best week at 4-2 but they are still looking way up. At 6.5 back, they are still in the hunt if they can continue to string together more wins like this week.
The Phils will start an 8 game road trip in Cincinnati before heading to Pittsburgh and Baltimore (starting a 4 game home and home). The Phils will hope to take at least 2 of 3 from the Reds as they did earlier this week and start things off on the right foot. Despite being 9 games out, absolutely no one is out of this division. If they bats and arms can get on the same page, they have a shot as long as the other teams keep hanging around. If they continue with the up and down approach, they’ll find themselves buried as soon as someone takes off.