No one wants to win the NL East

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The Phillies have slowly — very slowly — closed the gap between themselves and the Braves over the past month or so, but most of the time it seems like the Braves and Phillies either both win or both lose most days.

Today: the Phillies got rocked by the Marlins, with Adalberto Mendez limiting them to one hit over six innings in his major league debut. The Phillies finished the game with three hits, continuing their recent offensive futility. The Braves — trotting out their young ace Tommy Hanson and facing the worst team in baseball — outhit the Pirates, but left oodles of runners on base on their way to a 3-1 loss.

Philly plays a doubleheader today so they have a chance to gain a half game tonight. But really, the way these two teams have been rolling lately, they’re going to be stuck together until the final weekend of the season when — theoretically anyway — someone has to win the division. 

Will Middlebrooks carted off field with left ankle injury

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Phillies third baseman Will Middlebrooks suffered a serious injury during Saturday’s Grapefruit League contest against the Orioles. The infielder was chasing down a pop fly in the eighth inning when he ran into left fielder Andrew Pullin, who inadvertently trapped Middlebrooks’ ankle under his leg. Middlebrooks was unable to put weight on his leg following the collision and was carted off the field and taken to a local hospital for X-rays.

Per MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki, not much is known yet about the severity of the ankle injury or the recovery time it will require, though it appears serious enough to set Middlebrooks back considerably as he seeks a backup/bench role with the team this spring.

The 29-year-old is currently seeking another opportunity to extend his six-year major-league career in 2018. He’s coming off of two down years with the Brewers and Rangers, during which he slashed a cumulative .169/.229/.262 with four extra bases through 70 plate appearances.