The MLB NL East standings remained essentially static with the Mets’ divisional lead over the Phillies trimmed by one-half game. All clubs had reasonably solid weekends.
Here’s a roundup of what’s going on around the league:
Friday, Jacob deGrom’s latest ho-hum start of zero runs, one hit, 10 strikeouts over six innings, and continued dominance was obscured by the revelation that he’s dealing with flexor tendinitis in his right elbow. DeGrom expressed little concern and the club expects him to make his next start. Saturday, a resurgent Francisco Lindor’s first-inning two-run homer backed Marcus Stroman.
Edwin Díaz, Seth Lugo, Aaron Loup and Miguel Castro were all unavailable out of the Mets' bullpen today, Luis Rojas said.
— Anthony DiComo (@AnthonyDiComo) June 13, 2021
Sunday’s game was an example of how the Mets’ 2021 penchant for overcoming obstacles with a surprisingly deep bench. For context, the Mets of recent vintage have relied on backups like Aaron Altherr, Eric Campbell, and Ty Kelly. That is significantly different than Jonathan Villar.
This has spoiled the fans and New York media. Before the loss to the Padres, it was one of those “we’ll probably lose” games where the field staff and front office looks at the matchups and circumstances and realizes that the Padres were desperate to avoid being swept and losing their fifth straight game; the Mets were starting Joey Lucchesi, and half the bullpen was unavailable.
Still, carrying a 2-1 lead into the seventh inning against a good-hitting team and looking for a sweep speaks to the sudden greed surrounding the Mets. Led by a grand slam from Fernando Tatis, Jr., the Padres cruised to a 7-3 win.
Following their unusual two-game weekend series against the Yankees (both teams had Friday off), the Phillies have won four in a row and crawled one game above .500. It’s difficult to gauge whether the Phillies have righted the ship or were taking advantage of the floundering and borderline inept Yankees. On Saturday, Philadelphia blew leads of 4-0 and 7-2 to see the Yankees tie the game in the ninth inning on a J.D. LeMahieu home run, only to win it on a Jean Segura walk-off.
— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) June 13, 2021
Sunday, Aaron Nola handcuffed the Yankees over 7.2 innings, striking out nine and allowing three hits. The pending West Coast swing where they will face the Dodgers and Giants will be a barometer as to what they are.
This lineup looks like something we would have trotted out in 2015 https://t.co/YRKtOR5Z6O
— SportsTalkATL.com (@SportsTalkATL) June 13, 2021
Despite understandable concerns about their batting order, the Braves defeated the Marlins 6-4 with help from Drew Smyly’s solid five innings of two-run ball and Austin Riley’s 3 for 3 performance with a homer and three RBI. Salvaging the final game of their three-game set in Miami might seem to be a minor consolation, but their struggling starting rotation showed signs of life over the weekend.
The Marlins survived a scare when star rookie Trevor Rogers’ undisclosed “injury” turned out to be a COVID quarantine for one day.
MOVES: The Marlins have activated Trevor Rogers from the COVID-19 injured list
Just a 1-day thing 😅
— Fish Stripes (@fishstripes) June 13, 2021
Taking two of three from the Braves is secondary to a looming question as to their strategy for the remainder of the season, namely with an attractive pending free agent in Starling Marte. Marte’s 2 for 3 with three RBI in Sunday’s loss raised his average to .351. Marte missed more than a month with a rib injury.
The Marlins’ playoff hopes are faint and Marte’s market will be strong, especially with him showing he can still play center field – a position multiple teams will look to upgrade. Even if they want to re-sign him, a trade might be in their best interests to improve for the future. They can pursue him after the season if that’s the case.
The Nationals won two of three from the NL West front running Giants in a pitching-rich series. Friday’s 1-0 loss came after starter Max Scherzer exited with a strained groin having recorded only one out. Fortunately for the Nationals, Scherzer seems to have averted serious injury.
As advertised, Max Scherzer playing catch. pic.twitter.com/Jf1U5odjiz
— Mark Zuckerman (@MarkZuckerman) June 13, 2021
Excellent pitching from a rising Erick Fedde on Saturday and a superlative eight shutout innings from Joe Ross on Sunday led them to the series win. Even with that, the Nationals are approaching a crossroad of their own with Stephen Strasburg on the injured list with right shoulder inflammation and Scherzer’s contract expiring at season’s end.
Like the Marlins, it’s approaching the point where it may be preferable to punt 2021 and retool. President of Baseball Operations Mike Rizzo is a shrewd judge of young talent and can reinvigorate the Nationals’ system very quickly for another run at contention.