Very little changed with the National League East standings since Sunday. That certainly does not mean the week was uneventful. In fact, it was nearly devastating for the division front runner. They’ve ducked disaster…for now.
Let’s look at the goings-on:
NEW YORK METS
Under normal circumstances, winning three of four against the NL Central-leading Cubs – the same Cubs team that swept three games from the Mets at Wrigley Field in April – would be viewed as a positive because it is a positive. However, the status of Jacob deGrom took precedence when he left Wednesday night’s game with shoulder pain after three perfect innings and eight strikeouts, lowering his ERA to a preposterous 0.54.
Mets fans being Mets fans and understanding the club’s history feared the worst as deGrom and the club were confronted with his third injury to separate parts of his body in this young season. First, it was his side; then it was his elbow; now it’s his shoulder. The worry is legitimate. For now, two doctors stated that there was no clear damage to his shoulder and he was listed as day-to-day.
Jacob deGrom got an MRI and two doctors’ opinions (nothing beyond a normal pitcher’s shoulder, is how it was described), is considered day to day right now, and an IL stint isn’t happening right now, per Luis Rojas. He played catch today already. — James Wagner (@ByJamesWagner) June 17, 2021
It’s melodramatic to say the Mets’ season would be “over” if deGrom is out for any length of time, but it wouldn’t help their cause regardless of how they have overcome an overflowing injured list so far. Still, this is an ongoing issue that will not only have an impact on the field but with how they approach the trade deadline and if they prioritize another starting pitcher.
After their two-game sweep of the Yankees, the Phillies were again seen as maybe/possibly getting out of their mediocre funk. The West Coast swing through Los Angeles and San Francisco was certain to give an indicator as to whether they can get beyond one game below and one game above .500. Their season has been remarkably consistent in its inconsistency with the club being as much as four games above .500 and four games below .500. In Los Angeles, they continued that trend.
In the first game of the series, the club squandered a solid start from Spencer Howard and couldn’t score more than one run against the Dodgers’ second-tier pitchers until the late innings when they encountered the Dodgers’ “A” team relievers Blake Treinen, Jimmy Nelson and Kenley Jansen, losing 3-1. They then lost the second game of the series 5-3 and salvaged the rubber game on a gem from Zack Wheeler when the blossoming star righty outdueled Clayton Kershaw.
8 scoreless & 12 Ks from your NL strikeout leader, Zack Wheeler. 🔥🔥 pic.twitter.com/NcWiFy2SCg — MLB (@MLB) June 10, 2021
The odds are their weekend series in San Francisco against the first-place Giants will yield similar win one/lose one results.
The preseason favorite Braves continued to stumble with consecutive 10-8 losses to the Red Sox. Their starting pitching was the primary culprit in those two losses. In the opening game of their four-game series with the equally underachieving Cardinals, Charlie Morton righted the ship at least for one night with 6.1 no-hit innings and 7.2 innings in total, surrendering 3 hits, striking out 7 and walking none.
Charlie Morton is the oldest @Braves pitcher to go 7.2+ IP without allowing a run since John Smoltz in 2006. pic.twitter.com/se1tM8kOdI — MLB Stats (@MLBStats) June 18, 2021
The Nationals won three straight from the Pirates to give them four consecutive wins to tie their season-high winning streak.
On a positive note, Patrick Corbin pitched 8.1 innings of one-run ball with 7 strikeouts creating some level of hope that his season isn’t a lost cause. In the final game of the series, Paolo Espino pitched five shutout innings in what was basically a start as an opener.
Paolo Espino made his Minor League debut in 2007. He appeared in 342 @MiLB games. He pitched in winter leagues in Venezuela and the DR. Now he's in the Majors, has a 2.28 ERA and just earned his 1st @MLB win.#NATITUDE pic.twitter.com/56bsW73Bhl — Washington Nationals (@Nationals) June 16, 2021
Yan Gomes homered in each of the last two games of the series including Wednesday’s grand slam.
🚨 YAN GOMES GRAND SLAM IT'S 5-0 THERE'S 1 OUT IN THE 1ST 🚨#GomerHomer // #NATITUDE pic.twitter.com/fCi5Vlm23R — Washington Nationals (@Nationals) June 15, 2021
Granted, it’s the last place Pirates, losers of 10 straight and 21 games below .500, but the schedule is the schedule. The Nationals will host the Mets for four games over the weekend, including a doubleheader on Saturday.
Despite being swept by the Cardinals, one of the brightest aspects of the Marlins’ future was on display Wednesday when Sandy Alcantara – acquired from the Cardinals in the Marcell Ozuna trade – was credited with a complete game in a 1-0 loss after pitching 8.1 innings and surrendering the winning run after Paul Goldschmidt reached base on a Jazz Chisholm error.
Sandy Alcantara throws a gem, but Marlins offense shut down in walk-off loss to Cardinals https://t.co/RsCBsmStb5 — Miami Herald Sports (@HeraldSports) June 16, 2021
The starting pitching the Marlins have amassed with Alcantara, Trevor Rodgers, and Pablo Lopez has a chance to be a solid top three even with them falling 10 games below .500.