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NL East Beat Report: May 22 – June 4

With the first two months of the Major League Baseball season in the books, the NL East has been one of the more disappointing divisions in baseball.

The Braves started the year strong, but a 15-14 record in May has lessened their lead in the division. In Miami, the Marlins have been playing okay baseball, but with a negative run differential, they find themselves as overachievers as we head into the summer months. The Mets continue to hover around the .500 mark — remaining within striking distance of the first-place Braves. After a seemingly improbable run to the World Series last year, the Phillies are in a similar position they were a year ago with a number of their star players underperforming. Meanwhile, the Nationals are playing much better baseball to this point in the year than some would have thought given their current rebuilding status.

With that being said, here’s what’s happened in the division over the last two weeks.


Notable News and Transactions

Braves

May 25: RHP Michael Tonkin is being placed on the 15-day injured list with a strained neck. LHP Dylan Dodd has been recalled.

May 27: RHP Derick Rodríguez has been recalled from Triple-A Gwinnett and Dylan Dodd has been optioned.

May 28: RHP Spencer Strider is now the fastest pitcher to reach 100 strikeouts in a season.

May 29: RHP Derick Rodríguez has been optioned to Triple-A and RHP Michael Soroka has been recalled.

May 30: The contract of RHP AJ Smith-Shawver — Atlanta’s fourth-ranked prospect according to MLB.comhas been selected and LHP Lucas Luetge has been designated for assignment.

Marlins

May 23: After acquiring OF Jonathan Davis from the Detroit Tigers yesterday, Davis’ contract was selected from Triple-A, and OF Peyton Burdick was optioned. RHP Johnny Cueto was also transferred to the 60-day injured list.

May 30: OF Jesús Sánchez has been activated from the 10-day injured list and INF Xavier Edwards has been optioned to Triple-A Jacksonville. RHP Nic Enright was also designated for assignment.

May 31: Nic Enright was returned to the Cleveland Guardians.

June 2: RHP Matt Barnes is being placed on the 15-day injured list with a left hip impingement and RHP George Soriano has been recalled from Triple-A Jacksonville.

Mets

May 23: OF Tim Locastro will undergo surgery to repair a sprained right thumb ligament.

May 25: With C Tomás Nido being activated from the 10-day injured list, C Gáry Sanchez is being designated for assignment.

May 30: RHP Jimmy Yacabonis has been designated for assignment.

June 2: RHP Vinny Nittoli has been acquired from the Chicago Cubs.

June 4: 1B Pete Alonso’s home run today was his 72nd at Citi Field — the most by any player.

Phillies

May 23: With RHP Dylan Covey being activated to the big league roster, RHP Andrew Bellatti has been optioned to Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

May 26: OF Cal Stevenson has been claimed off waivers from the Giants and is being optioned to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. To make room for Stevenson on the 40-man roster, RHP Noah Song is being transferred to the 60-day injured list with a low back strain.

May 26: RHP Craig Kimbrel recorded career save number 400 today — becoming the eighth pitcher in MLB history to do so.

June 1: 3B/1B Alec Bohm has been placed on the 10-day injured list with a left hamstring strain. INF Drew Ellis has been promoted to the big league roster. To make room for Ellis on the 40-man roster, Cal Stevenson has been designated for assignment.

Nationals

None


Top Performers

Braves

Right-handers Bryce Elder and Spencer Strider led the way for Atlanta’s rotation in May as Elder posted a 1.72 ERA in six starts while Strider struck out 57 batters in 33 2/3 innings.

The Braves’ offense continues to be one of the best in baseball. Matt Olson hit nine home runs in May while Sean Murphy slashed .313/.400/.530. NL MVP frontrunner Ronald Acuña Jr. hit seven home runs in May and stole 10 bases while slashing .298/.372/.561.

Marlins

On the mound, Jesús Luzardo (76), Edward Cabrera (76), and Sandy Alcantara (67) lead the Marlins in strikeouts. In the club’s bullpen, Tanner Scott gave up just three earned runs in May in 14 innings pitched and Andrew Nardi pitched 12 1/3 scoreless innings in May.

Offensively, Luis Arraez has continued his strong performance and is hitting .392/.445/.485 so far this year. In the month of May, Bryan De La Cruz and Jorge Soler were two of Miami’s best hitters. De La Cruz slashed .337/.398/.541 with five home runs in the season’s second month while Soler hit 12 home runs — he now has a team-leading 17 homers on the year.

Mets

After a slow start to the year, Max Scherzer has looked like himself in his last four starts. The veteran right-hander has pitched 25 innings in those outings while allowing just three earned runs with 28 strikeouts.

For New York’s offense, Pete Alonso‘s 21 home runs are the most in baseball while his 47 RBIs are fourth most. Meanwhile, Brandon Nimmo leads the team with 66 hits and 28 walks and Starling Marte had a strong week as he slashed .364/.440/.636 over his last seven games.

Phillies

On the mound for Philadelphia, Ranger Suárez‘s first three starts of the year did not go as planned, but in his last two starts the left-hander gave up three runs in 13 2/3 innings. Meanwhile, reliever Seranthony Domínguez allowed one earned run in 9 2/3 innings in May and lefty Andrew Vasquez has a 1.30 ERA this year in 19 appearances with 25 punch outs.

At the plate, Nick Castellanos did not put together a strong month of May, but the veteran right fielder hit .361/.394/.574 in his last 15 games. He leads the Phillies with a .316 batting average, a .498 slugging percentage, 73 hits, and 19 doubles. Like Castellanos, Brandon Marsh had a slow month of May, but over his last seven games, the center fielder hit .304/.333/.478.

Nationals

Josiah Gray posted a 2.89 ERA in his five May starts while reliever Kyle Finnegan picked up eight saves in May with a 3.00 ERA in 12 appearances.

Joey Meneses‘ .305 batting average leads the team. He also leads the Nationals in RBIs (30) and hits (71). In his last 30 games, Meneses hit .322/.374/.430. Lane Thomas put together a strong month of May as he slashed .303/.352/.580. Thomas’ eight home runs lead the club.


Current Standings

TeamRecordGB
Braves35-24
Marlins32-283.5
Mets30-305.5
Phillies27-328.0
Nationals25-3410.0
Standings before play on June 5, 2023.

Featured Photo: Twitter / @Braves

Bailey Digh

I've been writing for Diamond Digest since July 2022. I'm also currently a contributor for Phillies Nation. You can find me on X @bailey_digh.

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