The Major League Baseball season is now a little more than a quarter of the way done, and we are quickly approaching the point of the season where contending teams start to separate themselves from the rest of the league. With that in mind, the National League East is starting to take shape and becoming a division that isn’t panning out exactly how many thought it would.
In Atlanta, the Braves are dealing with two injuries to important starting pitchers, while Ronald Acuña Jr. has taken the early lead in the NL MVP conversation. The Miami Marlins have a 24-24 record thanks to an impressive 15-3 record in one-run games. Both the New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies have had issues scoring and preventing runs as their rotations and lineups are performing below expectations. And in Washington, D.C., the Nationals continue to get good outings from two of their young starting pitchers.
Here’s a look at what has happened in the NL East over the last couple of weeks.
Notable News and Transactions
May 9: LHP Max Fried has been placed on the 15-day injured list with a strained left forearm. Fried underwent an MRI, and while the club does not think he will need Tommy John surgery, he is expected to be out for an extended period of time.
May 10: The expectation for pitchers Max Fried (left forearm strain) and Kyle Wright (shoulder strain) is that they’ll both be out for at least two months. Wright’s absence is likely to be longer than Fried’s, and the right-hander isn’t expected to return before August.
May 15: Today, the Braves have moved RHP Kyle Wright from the 15-day injured list to the 60-day injured list and claimed RHP Dereck Rodríguez, who has been optioned to Triple-A, off waivers from the Minnesota Twins.
May 12: RHP Eury Pérez has officially been activated for his big league debut tonight at loanDepot Park against the Cincinnati Reds. Pérez is the club’s top prospect, is regarded as one of the best pitching prospects in baseball, and will become the youngest pitcher in Marlins history at 20 years old.
May 16: With CF Jazz Chisholm Jr. being placed on the 10-day injured list with right turf toe after colliding with the wall in Saturday’s game against the Reds, INF Xavier Edwards has been recalled from Triple-A Jacksonville. Chisholm is expected to be out for four to six weeks. Additionally, RHP J.T. Chargois has been activated from the 15-day injured list.
May 9: With RHP Max Scherzer being scratched from his start tonight due to neck spasms, LHP David Peterson has been recalled from Triple-A Syracuse and will start tonight’s game. RHP Jimmy Yacabonis has been placed on the 15-day injured list with a left quad strain to make room on the roster for Peterson.
May 10: With C Tomás Nido landing on the 10-day injured list with dry eye syndrome, C Michael Pérez has been called up from Triple-A Syracuse.
May 19: Gary Sánchez’s contract has been selected, and C Michael Perez has been optioned to Triple-A Syracuse. Meanwhile, OF Tim Licastro has been transferred to the 60-day injured list with a right thumb sprain, and RHP Carlos Carrasco has been activated from the injured list and will start tonight’s game against the Guardians.
May 13: With LHP Ranger Suárez being activated from the injured list, RHP Luis Ortiz has been optioned to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Suárez will make his season debut tonight in Colorado against the Rockies.
Over his last 15 games, Ronald Acuña Jr. is hitting .332/.403/.610 with five home runs. Overall, the 25-year-old right fielder is slashing .344/.431/.600 with 11 home runs and has an NL-leading 18 stolen bases. He also leads the NL with 44 runs and leads the Braves with 62 hits. Meanwhile, Matt Olson leads Atlanta in home runs (13) and walks (34).
On the mound for the Braves, Spencer Strider has struck out 19 batters in his last two starts (11 2/3 innings). Strider leads the NL with 86 strikeouts this year and has a 2.67 ERA in his nine starts (51 2/3 innings). Bryce Elder leads the team and is second in the NL in ERA (2.06) in his 52 1/3 innings, or nine starts, so far in 2023.
Bryan De La Cruz and Jorge Soler have both been hitting the ball very well over their last 15 games. De La Cruz is hitting .345/.379/.600 with three home runs, while Soler is slashing .298/.375/.614 with six home runs over that span. After a slow start to the year, Jean Segura has hit .292/.414/.375 over his last seven games. Soler leads the team in home runs (12), RBI (27), runs (24), and walks (17).
In his 10 starts, Jesús Luzardo leads Miami with 63 strikeouts and a 3.83 ERA. Lefty Andrew Nardi has appeared in 22 games out of the bullpen and has a 3.38 ERA with 24 punch-outs this year. And 20-year-old Eury Pérez has pitched 9 2/3 innings with 13 strikeouts while allowing three earned runs over his first two big league starts.
For New York, Eduardo Escobar and Jeff McNeil have been hitting the ball well of late. Over Escobar’s last 15 games, the 34-year-old is hitting .343/.395/.657. And McNeil is slashing .440/.464/.440 over his last seven games. Overall, Pete Alonso leads both the Mets and the NL in home runs (17) and RBI (41), while Francisco Lindor leads the team with 15 doubles.
On the mound, Justin Verlander has made four starts, and outside of a rough third outing, the veteran right-hander has looked sharp. In three of his four starts, Verlander has allowed two earned runs or less and has pitched seven or more innings twice. Max Scherzer has looked better in his last two starts as he’s pitched 11 innings while allowing one run on five hits with 11 strikeouts. In total, Kodai Senga‘s 55 punch-outs lead all Mets pitchers. Senga has tossed 43 innings this year to the tune of a 3.77 ERA.
Since his return from Tommy John surgery on May 2, Bryce Harper is hitting .306/.386/.484 with two home runs and five doubles. J.T. Realmuto is hitting .288/.345/.481 over his last 15 games, and Kyle Schwarber leads the team in home runs (11) and walks (31).
Aaron Nola has a 3.42 ERA in 47 1/3 innings pitched over his last seven starts. Nola has pitched six-plus innings in each of those outings. In the bullpen, Connor Brogdon has appeared in 22 games and has a 2.63 ERA in 24 innings.
Over their last 15 games, Luis García is slashing .290/.333/.371, Joey Meneses is hitting .339/.369/.468 and Jeimer Candelario has a .352/.417/.611 slash line. Meneses leads the club with 55 hits, while Candelario leads the team with a .457 slugging percentage.
Josiah Gray has started the season very strong. He leads the team with a 2.65 ERA and in innings pitched (57 2/3). Over Gray’s last three starts, the right-hander has allowed four earned runs in 19 innings pitched. Left-hander MacKenzie Gore leads the Nats with 58 strikeouts. Gore has a 3.69 ERA across nine starts so far this year.