With the trade deadline only six weeks away, the playoff picture is slowly beginning to take shape. And in the NL East, there are several teams playing some really good baseball of late, while there are a pair of teams that haven’t enjoyed much success in the month of June.
The Braves continue to lead the division as they remain one of the best teams in all of Major League Baseball. In Miami, the Marlins are playing their best baseball of the year and are currently at the front of the NL Wild Card race. For the reigning NL champions, things have started to turn around after a slow start to the season as the Phillies’ starting rotation and lineup are peaking at the same time. Meanwhile, in New York, the Mets are in a funk as they have a sub-.500 record so far in June, but help is on the way as Pete Alonso has returned from his wrist injury much sooner than anticipated. And in Washington, D.C., the Nationals are struggling to put wins together after a decent start to the year for a rebuilding team.
With that being said, here is what has happened over the last two weeks in the NL East.
Notable News and Transactions
June 5: INF Luke Williams has been claimed off waivers from the Dodgers. To make room for Williams on the club’s 40-man roster, LHP Max Fried has been transferred to the 60-day injured list. RHP Michael Soroka has also been optioned to Triple-A Gwinnett.
June 6: RHP Ben Heller has been acquired from the Rays and OF Nick Solak has been designated for assignment.
June 8: RHP Michael Tonkin has been activated from the 15-day injured list.
June 9: Nick Solak has been claimed off waivers by the Tigers.
June 13: 1B Jesús Aguilar has been signed to a minor league contract.
June 15: RHP Jesse Chavez has been placed on the 15-day injured list with a left shin contusion and RHP Ben Heller has been recalled from Triple-A Gwinnett.
June 18: C Chadwick Tromp has been recalled from Triple-A Gwinnett and INF Charlie Culberson has been designated for assignment.
June 6: With LHP A.J. Puk being activated from the 15-day injured list, RHP George Soriano has been optioned to Triple-A.
June 13: RHP Huascar Brazoban has been optioned to Triple-A and the contract of RHP Archie Bradley has been selected. In addition, LHP Trevor Rogers has been transferred to the 60-day injured list.
June 17: INF Jean Segura has been placed on the 10-day injured list with a left hamstring strain and INF Jacob Amaya — Miami’s ninth-ranked prospect according to MLB.com — has been recalled from Triple-A Jacksonville.
June 17: RHP Edward Cabrera has been placed on the 15-day injured list with right shoulder impingement and Huascar Brazoban has been recalled from Triple-A.
June 5: C Omar Narváez has been activated from the 60-day injured list and C Tomás Nido has been designated for assignment.
June 9: With 1B Pete Alonso being placed on the 10-day injured list with a left wrist bone bruise and sprain, INF Luis Guillorme has been recalled from Triple-A. Also, RHP Stephen Nogosek has been designated for assignment and LHP Zach Muckenhirn has been recalled from Triple-A. After passing through waivers, Tomás Nido has been sent outright to Triple-A.
June 9: According to the Mets, Pete Alonso could be out for three to four weeks with his wrist injury.
June 10: RHP Tommy Hunter has been designated for assignment and Zach Muckenhirn has been optioned to Triple-A. To fill those spots on the roster, LHP Josh Walker and RHP John Curtiss has been recalled from the Syracuse Mets.
June 12: 1B Luke Voit has been signed to a minor league contract.
June 13: Tommy Hunter has been released and Stephen Nogosek has been sent outright to the Syracuse Mets.
June 14: After being ejected from last night’s game due to a “sticky substance” ejection, RHP Drew Smith has been suspended for 10 games.
June 18: Pete Alonso has been activated from the 10-day injured list and INF Mark Vientos has been optioned to Triple-A.
June 9: LHP José Alvarado has been activated from the 15-day injured list and RHP Connor Brogdon has been optioned to Triple-A Lehigh Valley.
June 11: 3B/1B Alec Bohm has been activated from the 10-day injured list and 3B/1B Drew Ellis has been optioned to Triple-A.
June 12: C J.T. Realmuto became the first Phillies player to hit for the cycle since current Cincinnati Reds manager David Bell did so back in 2004. It was the first cycle of Realmuto’s career.
June 13: RHP Yunior Marte has been optioned to Triple-A Lehigh Valley and RHP Luis Ortiz has been recalled.
June 16: OF Cristian Pache has been activated from the 10-day injured list and OF Dalton Guthrie has been optioned to Triple-A.
June 17: In a flurry of roster moves, Yunior Marte and LHP Cristopher Sánchez have been recalled from Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Meanwhile, Luis Ortiz has been optioned to Triple-A and RHP Seranthony Domínguez has been placed on the 15-day injured list with a left oblique strain.
June 6: RHP Andrés Machado has been designated for assignment and RHP Jordan Weems has been recalled from Triple-A Rochester.
June 7: RHP Cory Abbott has been recalled from Triple-A Rochester and RHP Erasmo Ramírez has been designated for assignment.
June 7: After clearing waivers, Andrés Machado has been sent outright to Triple-A.
June 8: LHP Joe La Sorsa has been claimed off waivers from the Rays and has been optioned to Triple-A.
June 9: Erasmo Ramírez has been released.
June 16: OF Victor Robles has been activated from the 10-day injured list and OF Alex Call has been optioned to Triple-A Rochester.
At the plate, the Braves have been one of the hottest teams in baseball as their 113 runs scored so far this month are the most in the sport. And three of their best hitters in June — Ozzie Albies, Michael Harris II, and Orlando Arcia — are all tearing the cover off the ball right now. Albies is hitting .351/.424/.702 in his last 15 games with six home runs. As for Harris and Arcia, they’re both hitting north of .400 over the last two weeks and have combined to score 22 runs over that span.
On the mound for Atlanta, AJ Smith-Shawver has looked good in his first three big league appearances — two of which have been starts. In 13 1/3 innings this month, Smith-Shawver has allowed three earned runs and has 11 strikeouts. In the club’s bullpen, Joe Jiménez has a 1.50 ERA in five June appearances, while A.J. Minter has a 1.29 ERA in seven innings of work this month.
The Marlins are now ten games above .500 this season after their weekend sweep of the Nationals and have scored 80 runs in their 16 June games. Jorge Soler is currently leading the way for Miami as he is hitting .381/.594/.857 with three home runs in his last seven games. And Luis Arraez, who has been talked about as a candidate to hit .400 this year, is hitting .410/.448/.525 in June with a .388 batting average on the year.
Miami’s pitching staff has a 3.63 ERA this month and there have been a few pitchers that have been performing well lately. Left-hander Braxton Garrett has a 2.76 ERA in three June starts, while a trio of relievers in Andrew Nardi (0.00 ERA), Steven Okert (1.29 ERA), and Bryan Hoeing (1.42 ERA) are all pitching well so far this month.
Not a lot has been going the Mets’ way over the last two weeks or so, but Mark Canha has put together a strong performance at the dish for New York during that period. Canha is hitting .275/.420/.500 over his last 15 games with more walks (8) than strikeouts (7) in that span. Brandon Nimmo is also on a hot streak as the centerfielder is slashing .333/.455/.630 in his last seven games.
Justin Verlander and Kodai Senga have been the best starters for the Mets this month as Verlander has a 3.60 ERA across 15 innings of work in his three starts. Senga has posted a 3.86 ERA in his three starts. Out of the bullpen, righty Dominic Leone has been effective in his last seven appearances with a 2.45 ERA.
Philadelphia’s offense is clicking right now and Kyle Schwarber has been leading the way. Schwarber is heating up once again in the month of June as he is slashing .254/.375/.627 with two doubles, one triple, and seven home runs this month. Nick Castellanos has also been hitting well this month with a .403/.426/.629 slash line, while J.T. Realmuto has a .685 slugging percentage in June.
The Phillies starting rotation has been pitching very well over the last two-plus weeks as Taijuan Walker and Ranger Suárez, along with Zack Wheeler, are all at the forefront of the rotation’s strong performance. Walker has allowed four earned runs across 24 innings pitched in June, Suárez has a 0.90 ERA in three starts this month, and Wheeler has pitched 19 1/3 innings of one-run ball over his last three outings.
Lane Thomas has been Washington’s best hitter of late as he has a .298/.322/.596 slash line in June with six doubles, a triple, and three home runs. Jeimer Candelario is also well hitting right now as the 29-year-old infielder has hit .308/.400/.577 over his last seven games.
Out of the Nats bullpen, right-handers Mason Thompson and Jordan Weems have put together strong outings this month. Thompson has allowed an earned run over seven innings of work and Weems has a 3.00 ERA in his five outings.
Featured Photo: Twitter / @Marlins