This Week In The NL East

With the Phillies coming up short last weekend against Montreal and then stumbling against the Mets to start the week, things weren't looking too good. Fortunately, the Phillies completed a weekend sweep of the Expos in Philly to rebound. Unfortunately, the Atlanta juggernaut continues. The Expos slide starts a long trip away from Montreal, while the Marlins and Mets are trying to get themselves back on track.

Atlanta (37-18)




The Braves have been remarkable this season with an offensive surge unlike any other. Everybody in the line-up is providing run support. On May 28th Rafael Furcal, Mark DeRosa and Gary Sheffield hit consecutive homeruns off of Cincinnati pitcher Jeff Austin to start the game with 3 straight home runs, only the second team in MLB history to do so.


Interesting statistic; Rafael Furcal is on pace to score 165 runs and the best outfielders in the majors have a chance to each hit 30 home runs. (A. Jones, C. Jones, G. Sheffield)


The Braves lead the National League in the following hitting categories: batting average (.287), runs (5.8 per game), home runs (80), total bases (911) and slugging percentage (.490). The Braves have scored in double figures ten times this season. Another interesting fact is that everybody in the line-up is hitting at least .285 with Gary Sheffield leading the way, hitting to a tune of .349, leading the National League.



Montreal (27-16)




The Expos have started a 22-game road trip, which will have 6 games in Puerto Rico that will count as home games. This trip, which has already begun, consists of Florida to Philadelphia (just finished) to Puerto Rico to Seattle to Oakland to Pittsburgh and finally back to Montreal. Now, let's see if they can continue to hold onto second place with Philadelphia not too far behind.


Philadelphia (30-25)




It's hard to say what is wrong with the Phillies, then again it isn't. During the month of May they averaged around 3 ½ runs a game. They should be averaging much more than that with the line-up they have but there is an obvious problem. Everybody knows the Phillies have the names to win but the line-up has to mesh together.


Putting Burrell, Thome and Abreu together equals a lot of non-contact. Jayson Stark writes that last year these three players have had a total of 715 trips to the plate in which the ball never left the batters box. (Strikeouts, walks and hit by pitches.) The Phillies skipper, Larry Bowa, took Burrell out of the line-up May 28th to calm him down. Has it worked? We'll see.


In other news Tug McGraw held a press conference and although his speech was slow and his walking, he seemed good considering what he is going through. From all of us at PBN to you Tugger…"You Gotta Believe."






New York Mets (25-30)




After almost two years of not being on the mound, 42-year-old John Franco made his first appearance and came out to all of Shea Stadium cheering him on. That was also his 999th career appearance as he threw one scoreless inning. There was another 40 year old making the headlines but he wasn't appearing for the first time, he appeared for the last time. David Cone decided to end his career because of arthritic hip. In his last appearance he gave up one run in two innings of relief work against the Phillies.


The Mets have been plagued by injury all season and Mo Vaughn is one of them players. Mo Vaughn, 35, is considering major knee surgery that will not only end his playing this season but most likely his whole career. For now he will wait another month and decided to have his knee flushed.



Florida (19-25)



Not much news for the Marlins except that they are getting worse. They have dropped from second last in the east to dead last. They're not only getting punished because of themselves but were fined by Major League Baseball for failing to follow proper procedure during the process in which they fired Jeff Torborg and hired Jack McKeon.

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