This Week In The N.L. East

The Phillies are looking for their offense, while the revamped Braves bullpen has been unstoppable. In Montreal, they're trying to stay afloat with two starting pitchers facing surgery, Florida welcomes a new manager and the Mets don't have to worry about where Mike Piazza will be playing. Plus, a look at what lies ahead in the NL East.

Atlanta (30-13)


The Braves have gone 6-1 in their last seven games and to put it nicely have been on fire. In their last seven games they have outscored their opponents 55-25. John Smoltz has 17 saves and Jung Bong has been absolutely amazing out of the bullpen in 14 appearances and 21 innings of work. He is 4-0 with a 2.57 ERA while giving up 6 walks and striking out 16. An interesting statistic is that John Smoltz is projected to have 64 saves in 83 games and a 1.13 ERA. Is it possible? Anything is possible nowadays.

Pitching isn't the only thing that is going good for the Braves right now; let's look at some of their hot hitters. Marcus Giles is having a superb season hitting .340/6 HR/24 RBI. This past week Giles was 13-27 batting .481. Marcus Giles is projected to have 60 2B's, 90 RBI's and 23 HR's by the time the year is over.

Marcus Giles' partner Rafael Furcal is also having an amazing year hitting .339/5/15 and this week hitting .379/2/4, which are great statistics for a leadoff hitter. Furcal isn't all offense either; his arm has been talked about recently. His teammate Julio Franco has said that he has never seen an arm like his in his career.

Montreal (27-16)


Expos pitcher Zach Day was ejected from yesterday's game for having and illegal substance on his fingers. The team reports that Day used super glue to cover a blister that had developed on his right middle finger in the first two innings. Besides that start Zach Day has been a stable pitcher going 4-1/2.63 ERA although his walk to strike out ration is far from exceptional. (24 BB, 26 SO.)

Their closer, Rocky Biddle, has been doing okay and the one that that is bad is his ERA which is at 4.07 right now with 12 saves and a 4-1 record. He has converted 6 out of 7 of his last save opportunities.

Vladimir Guerrero has been doing good, as always hitting .287/8/30 with a game winning two run home run last Tuesday. Vladimir is still aggressive at the plate even though he has only struck out only 19 times this year.

Philadelphia (24-19)


The Phillies have still not been able to be consistent at the plate. It is still feast or famine for them when it comes to batting. An interesting stat is that they have never lost on a Saturday night and are 7-0 so far this year including last nights 9-4 win over the Houston Astros.

One man that is hitting like he is supposed to is Jim Thome. Thome launched a 420 foot homerun yesterday in the ninth inning for his 9th homerun of the year. While Jim Thome is doing good his younger counter part Pat Burrell is still trying to find his groove. Burrell is only hitting .212/7/19 striking out 32.1% of the time. Burrell is on pace to strike out 188 times.

Then there is the pitching which has been doing great especially 3 of the 5 starters. Brett Myers has really been doing great despite his 3-3 record. Myers has one of the best ERA's in the league (2.21). Kevin Millwood and Randy Wolf are both having all-star years going 5-1, 5-2 respectively. The pitcher that is underachieving is Vincente Padilla who is 3-5 with a 4.23 ERA so far this year.

Jose Mesa has been in the middle of controversy this year not being able to convert some of his saves an one of the most famous ones was when he gave up 5 runs in the 9th inning against Arizona in a 6-1 loss. Larry Bowa says that he will let this play out but not the whole year meaning Mesa better get his act together quickly.

Florida (19-25)


Jeff Torborg was fired as manager and Jack McKeon came in and the Marlins are 2-3 with McKeon as the skipper and they are in second to last place in the NL East. With Torborg out the relievers will get some more innings and the starters won't be abused anymore.

Even though the Marlins aren't doing good overall Mike Lowell has found his homerun stroke hitting 13 homeruns in 166 at-bats. At this time last season he was hitting doubles down the third base side but this year he is putting it over the fence more.

There are also reports that the Marlins will be cutting their payroll with Derrek Lee and Ivan Rodriguez at the top of the list to be shipped out of Florida.

New York Mets (18-25)


Catcher Mike Piazza has a severe groin strain and will miss significant time. I guess that puts to rest the rumors of Piazza moving to first to rest as long as he comes back fully healed. Nothing has been going good for the Mets.

There has been question of whether they should just dump their deep salary and start to rebuild now with younger players. There has also been controversy about their GM being fired. Neither of these things have happened…yet.

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