The Braves extended their win streak to four games on Monday night with a wild win in Philadelphia, a game that saw them blow a 5-1 lead in the eighth inning, then win it on a Dan Uggla grand slam in the ninth. Ervin Santana was excellent in his second start with the team. He pitched six innings of one-run ball with 11 strikeouts and four hits allowed. Santana is now 1-0 as a Brave with a 0.64 ERA across 14 innings.
The Braves also, however, revealed Craig Kimbrel is dealing with a sore shoulder. He is taking the next few days off to rest it, and does not believe it is serious. Still, it is something to watch as Kimbrel is one of the Braves' best players and a guy who has killed the Nationals over the years. Kimbrel last pitched against the Nats on April 12, and holds a 1.59 ERA with five saves in six appearances this season.
The Marlins' 9-2 loss to the Nationals on Monday night was their eighth consecutive defeat. That was after starting the season 5-1, and it has the team searching for answers. Before Monday's game they held a team meeting for 20 minutes at Marlins Park. They are now one loss away from matching their worst losing streak of 2013, a year in which they lost 100 games. They are also three defeats short of tying their franchise record.
The Marlins' team ERA is now up to 4.43 and Mike Redmond is looking for his veterans to step up and stop the bleeding:
"The only way we can get out of this thing is somebody needs to step up and go out there and say it’s over, I’m done with it,” Redmond told the Miami Herald. “We either need a big pitching performance or a big hit or a big play to spark us and get us going.”
After losing to the Braves, the Phillies have now lost five of their last eight games, the only three wins in a sweep of the Marlins at Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies also received some unfortunate injury news this week. Starter A.J. Burnett is dealing with a inguinal hernia and will have to play through pain for the rest of the season. He will eventually need surgery sometime over the winter.
The Phillies did get a guy back this week in reliever Mike Adams. The right-hander had shoulder surgery last July and has been a bust since signing a free agent deal before the 2013 season. He was among the best relievers in baseball for seven years with the Texas Rangers before joining the Phillies. We'll see if he can get back to that level.
The Phillies should also have Cole Hamels back in just over a week. He is aiming for April 22 against the Dodgers after recently pitching four innings for Single-A Clearwater.
NEW YORK METS
With their bullpen struggling, the Mets are going to take a look at another former Nationals player as a possible solution. Joel Hanrahan is throwing in front of MLB teams on Thursday and the Mets will be in attendance. Hanrahan had Tommy John surgery last May after pitching just 7 1/3 innings for the Red Sox. He had previously been an All-Star closer with the Pirates after leaving the Nationals in 2009 in a trade.
The Mets are currently 6-7 and in the middle of a series at the Arizona Diamondbacks. Though the Nationals had no trouble with them two weeks ago, it's still hard to get a read on the 2014 Mets. They have taken two out of three against both the Reds and Braves, two teams that made the playoffs a year ago. But they are also dealing with significant injuries and have the fifth-worst team ERA (4.82) in the majors.