After a brief hiatus, the NL East report is back by popular demand! Here is what is going on all around the NL East:
Phillies: The Philadelphia Phillies continue to show why they are the best team in baseball, winning seven of their last 10 games.
-Roy Oswalt was pulled from his start against the Cardinals early after experiencing “back tightness” and will miss his next start. This is significant not only because he was placed on the 15-day DL for back issues earlier this year, but Oswalt has also had back issues dating back to his days in Houston.
-Charlie Manuel stated that he would like to see the team add a right-handed hitter with power. Coincidentally, the Phillies have “kicked the tires” on Ryan Ludwick, Josh Willingham and Michael Cuddyer.
– Who’s Hot: Ryan Howard has been red-hot for the Phillies, batting .417(15-for-36) with 3 homers and 12 RBIs over his last ten games. He has really picked up the pace after a terrible May. Shane Victorino is batting .360(9-for-25) in his last seven games including 2 home runs.
-Who’s Not: Dominic Brown has been ice-cold as of late, batting .111(2-for18) in his past 7 games. Despite his recent struggles, Charlie Manuel is still going to “stay with” the rookie right-fielder.
Braves: The Braves have held their ground as the current National League Wild card leaders, going a respectable 5-5 in their last ten games.
-The Braves activated outfielder Nate McLouth from the disabled list and designated Joe Mather for assignment. The utility player elected free agency this morning.
-The Braves signed former Mets “Animal” Chris Carter to a minor league contract. The outfielder has been assigned to Triple-A Gwinnett.
-Who’s hot: Brian McCann has been unstoppable, going 7-for-16 and homering in four of his last five games.
Who’s not: Alex Gonzalez, Jordan Schafer and Nate McLouth have been just lost at the plate, batting .176, .136 and .167 respectively over their last 7 games.
Nationals: The Washington Nationals have been one of the hottest teams in the game as of late,winning 11 of their last 12 games.
-Despite their recent success, their manager, Jim Riggleman jumped ship, stepping down as skipper because GM Mike Rizzo would not talk to him about picking up his 2012 option. Bench coach John McLaren has been named the interim manager.
-Who’s Hot: Danny Espinosa is 8 for his last 25 including 2 homers and 4 RBIs.
-Who’s Not: Ian Desmond has struggled mightily as of late, going 2-for-16 in the past seven days.
Mets: Our very own New York Mets have been playing .500 ball in their last ten games, continuing to hover just below the .500 mark on the season at 37-38.
-Ike Davis received bad news as his ankle has not improved. There are signs of cartilage damage as well as a bone bruise. He will remain inactive for another three weeks, and at that point if there is no improvement, he will require season-ending surgery.
-The Mets other major power bat, David Wright, received much more positive news about his recovery process as he has been cleared to resume baseball activities and will likely return soon after the All-Star break.
-Jose Reyes told the Mets that he does not want to discuss a contract extension until after the season. The speedster is in his contract year and is on pace for an MVP-caliber season; so in order for the Amazins’ to retain him past 2011, it is going to cost the Wilpons big money.
-Who’s hot: Jason Bay has been seeing the ball well for a change, going 7 for his last 24 including his third home run of the season. Ronny Paulino is also doing well, going 5-for-15 this past week.
-Who’s not: Rube Tejada, after a hot start, is 8 for his last 40, dropping his average to .272 on the year.
Marlins: The Florida Marlins have had themselves one of their worst months in franchise history, going 2-20 so far in the month of June.
-Manager Edwin Rodriguez resigned from his position Monday, being replaced by 80-year old Jack McKeon. McKeon led the Marlins to a World Championship in 2003.
– Hanley Ramirez was benched by McKeon for being late to his first team meeting as manager. Since then, Ramirez has been the subject of trade rumors due to the fact that he has had incidents with multiple Marlins managers.
-The Marlins placed 2009 Rookie of the Year Chris Coghlan on the 15-day disabled list with knee inflammation.
-Who’s hot: Mike Stanton is 6-for-9 in his two games since returning from an eye issue that left him out of the lineup for three days.
Who’s not: John Buck has gone into a slump, hitting only .105 (2-for-19) this past week.