September baseball is here, and with that comes the playoff push. So, let’s check out some storylines the five NL East teams provided us this week Monday, August 29, through Sunday, September 4, as three of them look to make a push into October.
Welcome to the Show
The Philadelphia Phillies had catcher Donny Sands make his debut on Friday in the midst of a blowout against the San Francisco Giants. While Sands didn’t start the game behind the dish, he got two at-bats after Philly decided to pull JT Realmuto and went 0-2 with a strikeout.
The New York Mets had reliever Bryce Montes de Oca make his debut on Saturday against the Washington Nationals. Montes de Oca pitched a scoreless two-thirds of an inning, and picked up his first major league strikeout.
Bad News for the Birds?
With football season right around the corner, people in Philadelphia are hoping that Monday’s series opener against the Arizona Diamondbacks isn’t a sign of things to come for the Eagles. The Phillies offense was hot early, holding onto a 7-0 lead heading into the bottom of the fourth, but things went awry shortly after.
The D-Backs stunned the Phillies with six runs in the fourth and fifth innings to not only come back from a seven point deficit, but to also put themselves up five. Arizona tacked on another run in the eighth, making it 13-7, and left the Phillies needing to seemingly convert a Hail Mary. Unfortunately for the Phillies, they weren’t able to do so and dropped the series opener in Arizona.
Sound the Trumpets
The Mets and the Los Angeles Dodgers squared off for a dramatic three-game series in what could be a preview of the NLCS. The Dodgers were able to sneak out a 4-3 win in the series opener, but that’s all they would get, as Brandon Nimmo and the Mets robbed the Dodgers of a series win– literally.
Nimmo stole a potential game-tying home run from Justin Turner in the top of the seventh to preserve a 2-1 Mets lead. Edwin Diaz, with the help of Timmy Trumpet, closed the door in the ninth. The Mets’ bats led the way in the series finale, putting up five runs which helped them cruise to a 5-3 series victory over the Dodgers.
Spencer’s Sweet 16
On Thursday, Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Spencer Strider secured himself a spot in Braves franchise history with his dominant outing against the Colorado Rockies. Strider set a new single-game strikeout record for the Braves, racking up 16 strikeouts and breaking Hall of Famer and 8-time All-Star John Smoltz’s record of 15. The Braves didn’t spoil the history made on Thursday either, as they beat the Rockies 3-0.
The Miami Marlins played like fish out of water this week, going 0-6. They started the week with their wrap-around series finale against the Dodgers, and lost that game 3-2 in extras. Then, Miami hosted their same-state rival, the Tampa Bay Rays, and dropped both games of that two-game series.
The Marlins concluded the week by traveling to Atlanta to play the Braves, who seemingly chopped up the fish and turned them into sushi as the Braves swept that three-game series. Miami had a shot to beat the Braves on Saturday, as they were tied at 1-1 heading into the bottom of the ninth. However, pitcher Steven Okert walked in the winning run, which sums up their week.
The Nationals are shutting down starting pitcher Cade Cavalli for the next two weeks and will put him on the 15-day injured list due to shoulder inflammation.
On Wednesday, the Mets announced that Brett Baty has a UCL tear in his right thumb and has been placed on the 10-day injured list, retroactive to Monday. He is expected to miss roughly five weeks.
Marlins infielder Jon Berti left Wednesday’s game against the Tampa Bay Rays due to right hip soreness.
On Sunday, the Phillies announced that outfielder Nick Castellanos is going on the 10-day injured list with an oblique injury.
On Sunday, the Nationals announced that reliever Victor Arano is going on the 15-day injured list, retroactive to Friday, with a right shoulder strain.
With September just getting underway, let’s take a look at some guys who are scorching hot during the postseason push and some guys who are struggling, along with the division and wild card standings!
Austin Riley (Atlanta Braves 3B): .304 AVG, .870 SLG, 1.254 OPS, 4 HR, 5 RBI
Michael Harris II (Atlanta Braves CF): .455 AVG, 1.296 OPS, 4 XBH, 13 K%
Eduardo Escobar (New York Mets 3B): .353 AVG, 1.165 OPS, 3 XBH, 10 K%, 4 LOB
Luis Garcia (Washington Nationals 2B): .385 AVG, 1.138 OPS, 5 XBH, 4 RBI
Spencer Strider (Atlanta Braves SP): 1 GS, 8 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 16 K
Matt Olson (Atlanta Braves 1B): .053 AVG, .270 OPS, 0 RBI, 0 XBH, 1 E3
Dansby Swanson (Atlanta Braves SS): .136 AVG, .441 OPS, 37 K%, CS
Pete Alonso (New York Mets 1B): .095 AVG, .446 OPS, 1 XBH, 1 RBI
Kyle Gibson (Philadelphia Phillies SP): 1 GS, 1.2 IP, 7 ER, 2 K, 5.40 WHIP
Miami Marlins Offense: 6 G, 8 R, .174 AVG, .416 OPS, 80 LOB, 24.9 K%, 7 BB%
Standings (As of Monday, September 5)
- New York Mets 85-50
- Atlanta Braves 84-51 (1.0 GB)
- Philadelphia Phillies 73-61 (11.5 GB)
- Miami Marlins 55-78 (E)
- Washington Nationals 47-87 (E)
National League Wild Card Standings (As of Monday, September 5)
WC1. Atlanta Braves (+10.5 GB)
WC2. San Diego Padres (+0.5 GB)
WC3. Philadelphia Phillies (-)
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