Around the NL East: Mets offense sizzles

Around the NL East: Mets offense sizzles
April 23, 2013, 11:30 am
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Sizing up the week that was in the National League East, it's hard not to note that while the Braves stumbled a bit, neither the Nationals nor the Mets were able to gain any ground on the division leaders, who enjoy the most comfortable lead (3.5 games) in all of baseball. It's still early, of course -- one great streak by either Washington or New York and that lead is gone.

Atlanta Braves: 13-5

As mentioned above, the Braves cooled a bit this week after their incredibly hot start, dropping the final three of a four-game set against Pittsburgh. They still enjoy the best record in the game, though they now share that mantle with the surprising Colorado Rockies.

No matter what side of the infield he's on, Chris Johnson continues to rake, leading the team with a .407 average and a .435 OBP while filling in for the still-disabled Freddie Freeman at first -- once Freeman returns, manager Fredi Gonzalez will have a tough choice to make, as Juan Francisco is hovering near .300 while manning third. Obviously both will struggle to maintain those rates (and it's a near-certainty that Johnson won't continue to bat .400), but Atlanta will hope their regression coincides with the emergence of at least one of the sub-.200 hitters: Dan Uggla, B.J. Upton, and Jason Heyward. One of them has to break out soon, right?

Player of the Week: Johnson, 3B/1B: 2 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, .389 AVG

Miami Marlins: 4-15

What is there to say about this team? At least when Ozzie Guillen was the manager, you were aware of the Marlins even as they toiled in the cellar. Now, with the more even-keeled (compared to Ozzie, isn't everyone) Mike Redmond at the helm, the Fish are quietly compiling the majors' worst record. Everyone thought that the dimestore Astros would challenge the '62 Mets for most losses in history, but this Miami offense is so inept (only one regular, Placido Polanco, is currently hitting above .240) that the Marlins may ensure that nobody remembers however many losses Houston ends up accumulating.

Lone bright spot Jose Fernandez finally suffered through a rough start, surrendering five earned runs in four innings in a loss to Cincinnati. Justin Ruggiano has supplied all of the power so far, hitting three of the team's six homers; Giancarlo Stanton, incredibly, has only two extra-base hits (both doubles) and one RBI. Yikes.

Player of the Weak: Kevin Slowey, SP: 0-0, 6 IP, 4K, 1.50 ERA, 0.83 WHIP

New York Mets: 9-8

The story with the Mets, through the season's first three weeks, continues to be their offense, which leads the majors at 5.82 runs per game. Catcher John Buck, holding down the fort until Travis d'Arnaud recovers from a stress fracture and makes his way to the major leagues, continues to mash like he never has before, sporting a .290 average (though with just a .303 OBP) and leading the team with seven home runs. Leftfielder Lucas Duda has been a major cog as well, chippin in five dingers and a .273 average of his own -- as well as reaching base close to 50% of the time. Matt Harvey (4-0, 0.93 ERA, 32 Ks) remains largely unhittable, which is good news for New York, as the rest of the staff has been underwhelming.

Player of the Week: Ike Davis, 1B: Finally showing signs of life -- 2 R, 2 HR, 4 RBI, .250 AVG

Philadelphia Phillies: 9-11

This team really misses their starting catcher, as Carlos Ruiz put up MVP-level production for most of last season. A drug suspension continues to hold him out for the season's first 25 games, leaving Erik Katz (.203 average) behind the dish. Still, they split a four-game series with the Cardinals thanks largely to Chase Utley and Michael Young, who both seem to be refusing to grow old. Roy Halladay has rebounded to even his record at 2-2, but he's allowed a team-leading five home runs, and his ERA -- and that of 60% of the starting rotation -- remains above 6.00. Ben Revere continues to shine despite a low batting average, flashing the leather in the field and swiping five bags so far to lead the team.

Player of the Week: Halladay, SP: 1-0, 6 K, 2.57 ERA, 0.57 WHIP