Vol. 1: NL East Weekly Wrap-Up
The first week of action is in the books, and the National League East looks… well, quite honestly, it looks like nothing anyone predicted 2015 would look like. The 5-1 Atlanta Braves? The Washington Nationals and Miami Marlins sitting in the cellar with a combine 3-9 record? The Philadelphia Phillies not only won a game, but are at .500? What a wacky week it was.
This is the first edition of the 2015 Baseball Hot Corner NL East Weekly Roundup. Each week a BHC writer will bring you a recap of each division: the Player of the Week, the Pitcher of the Week and recapping all the action. So, sit back and enjoy the week that was.
Apparently, John Hart knew what he was doing. After an offseason that saw essentially every one of the Atlanta Braves stars leave town, expectations were not very high for Hart’s new look Braves in a suddenly competitive NL East. They came out and executed small ball so successfully that they took down two teams in the Miami Marlins and New York Mets that many expected to leave the Braves in the dust in 2014.
Their pitching staff was sensational. Their starters went 3-0 allowing only 10 earned runs to score over 33.2 innings. And after trading away the NL’s best closer the night before Opening Day, the Braves bullpen has been sensational. Once has-been closers Jim Johnson and Jason Grilli combined to go 1-0 and 4-for-4 in save opportunities without allowing a run. If the Braves are going to stay competitive it is going to be through their pitching.
NEW YORK METS
If the season ended today, the Mets would have a Cy Young candidate on their hands. No, it’s not Matt Harvey, who made his triumphant return when he out dueled Stephen Strasburg, gaining a victory behind a 9 strikeout, six inning shutout performance. Instead, it is the hefty veteran, 41-year old Bartolo Colon whose superb performance in week one garnered the Mets two of their three wins. Behind the hot bats of Lucas Duda and David Wright (.320/.346/.440 and one home run), the Mets’ pitching staff took two of three from the heavily favorited Nationals before ending the Braves five game romp.
The Phils started their week off rough, getting romped in their opening series against the Boston Red Sox, but rebounded nicely by taking two of three from the Nationals. Veteran Aaron Harang began the season the right way in a masterful victory over the Sox, going 6.1 innings of shutout baseball while striking out 8. Cody Asche, who is expected to feel the heat from Phillies’ No. 3 prospect Maikel Franco this year, has gotten out to a hot start, slashing .429/.500/.429 over the first week of the season.
While the Nats may be sitting at 2-4 to start the 2015 season, there is little reason to panic. $200-million man Max Scherzer had two incredibly unlucky starts that has left him searching for his first National League victory. He has fanned 16 over his first two starts while allowing just one earned run to cross, however has fallen victim to the three unearned runs that have scored on his watch. Doug Fister and Jordan Zimmerman looked just fine, while Stephen Strasburg struggled mightily in his debut. Bryce Harper has fueled the offense by smashing two home runs out of the gate. Patience, Nats’ fans, it’s week one, not the end of the world!
The talk of the league this offseason certainly did not meet expectations over the first week of the season. The team not only expected to compete for a Wild Card spot in 2015, but to contend with the mighty Nationals, flopped by winning just one game over opening week. Aside from Dee Gordon (.346/.270/.500) and Christian Yelich (.304/.407/.348) their offense has been non-existent as Giancarlo Stanton is batting a meager .158. Mat Latos turned in the most memorable pitching performance of the week… but because of how bad it was. The newly acquired pitcher lasted just two thirds of an inning in his Marin debut allowing 7 runs on 6 hits and two walks. Jose Fernandez can not get back soon enough.
Position Player of the Week: Lucas Duda — .381 average, 8 hits, 2 RBI, .435 on base percentage
Pitcher of the Week: Julio Teheran — 12 IP, 2-0, 1.50 ERA, 9 strikeouts
1. Atlanta Braves 5-1
2. New York Mets 3-3
3. Washington Nationals 2-4
4. Phialdelphia Phillies 3-3
5. Miami Marlins 1-5
Don’t forget to check back every Monday for updates on your favorite division! The BHC writers will bring you a summary of EVERY division each week!