Rickie Weeks was so brutally bad in April and May that the Brewers called up Triple-A infielder Scooter Gennett and have been starting him at second base over Weeks in about half the games this month. Whether or not that motivated Weeks is unclear, but whatever the case he’s on an incredible tear that has turned around his whole season.
Weeks hit .183 with three homers and a .565 OPS in 51 games through the end of May, striking out 59 times versus 23 walks.
So far in June he’s 18-for-42 (.429) with five homers and a 1.381 OPS in 15 games, with an 8/5 K/BB ratio. That includes last night’s big game against the Cubs, in which Weeks went 3-for-4 with two homers and four RBIs.
In the span of 48 plate appearances Weeks raised his overall batting average from .183 to .230 and his overall OPS from .565 to .723. And he’s started the past three games at second base, so presumably that time-sharing arrangement with Gennett is on ice for a while.
So much for a last-minute, nail-biting finish to this division race. The Braves cemented their division title with a dominant 5-3 finish over the Phillies on Saturday, laying claim to the NL East title for the first time since 2013.
The Braves asserted themselves right off the bat after amassing a four-run lead from Johan Camargo and Freddie Freeman, both of whom cleared the bases with two-run singles in the first two innings. Ronald Acuna Jr., meanwhile, found another way to make his presence known after swiping his 15th stolen base of the year and joining Alex Rodriguez, Orlando Cepeda, and Mike Trout as one of the youngest players to collect at least 25 home runs and 15 stolen bags in major league history.
Not to be outdone, Atlanta right-hander Mike Foltynewicz delivered one of the strongest starts of his season to date. The righty set down six innings of no-hit ball against the Phillies, and, with just 62 pitches under his belt, looked ready to go the distance before he lost his bid on Odubel Herrera‘s leadoff single in the seventh.
Unfortunately for the Braves, the Phillies not only upended Foltynewicz’s no-hit attempt, but the shutout as well. In the eighth inning, Cesar Hernandez and Rhys Hoskins wrestled two RBI singles from Atlanta’s bullpen and brought Philadelphia within one run of tying the game. Hoskins was the last Phillies batter to reach base, however, as Jonny Venters and Arodys Vizcaino tossed a combined 1 2/3 scoreless innings (backed by a final RBI hit from Kurt Suzuki in the bottom of the eighth) to cap the Braves’ win — and the NL East title.
With the loss, the Phillies sit seven games back of a wild card spot in the National League. They’ll need to outpace the Diamondbacks, Rockies, and Cardinals in order to make 2018 their first postseason-qualifying year since 2011.