The Phillies are hearing hard footsteps coming from the Braves and Mets. Atlanta has closed to within a half-game, coming off a week in which they took a series from Florida and swept Pittsburgh. Martin Prado and Melky Cabrera were on base consistently, while Jason Heyward came up big, as the team now prepares to meet up with Philadelphia. Meanwhile, the Mets spun three straight shutouts against the Phils, before falling in a weekend series in Milwaukee. Still, New York’s 4-2 week moved them past struggling the Marlins and Nationals and into third place. They did what they needed to do, and their stars played like stars. Jose Reyes and Jason Bay hit well and Johan Santana pitched two great games.
One team that didn’t come anywhere close to doing what they needed to do was Arizona. The Notebook outlined this week is critical for the Diamondbacks, as they faced Colorado and San Francisco. Similar to the Mets, they had a chance to start climbing the ladder. They went 0-6. The team on-base percentage was .249. The team slugging percentage was .272. Dan Haren’s start went poorly. Billy Buckner had two starts that were atrocious. And the Diamondbacks ended the week buried 10 ½ games back, their season all but over. Oh, and the Suns and dropped a heartbreaker on Thursday to the Lakers, setting the stage for their elimination from the NBA playoffs. Not the greatest week to live in the Phoenix area.
In the American League, Oakland showed that sometimes just being consistent can reap good rewards. The A’s took two of three from Baltimore and again from Detroit (they finish a four-game set with the Tigers on Memorial Day). Ben Sheets had two good starts and Andrew Bailey closed out three saves, but on its face, it wasn’t a week that captured anyone’s imagination. But Texas slumped against a manageable schedule. They split two games with Kansas City and have dropped the first two at home to Minnesota. If they lose on Sunday Night Baseball tonight, the A’s will be a half-game up. And both the A’s and Rangers are surely willing to let the Angels’ have Saturday’s dramatic walkoff win in exchange for LAA losing Kendry Morales to a broken leg during the celebration.
On a closing note, I hope no celebrations change as a result of the Morales injury. We’ve seen countless celebrations at the plate and it’s one of the great joys of baseball. It was a fluke thing. Let it go. See you tomorrow to preview Week 9.