There are just under two weeks remaining in the month of June. Generally, by July 1, most MLB teams and their fanbases know what type of team they are going to have for the summer. You have an idea whether or not your team will be a contender or a pretender. Recently, the expanded playoff field has thrown wrenches into deciding what a team is as the expanded field gives more teams hope.
Teams on the fence have used June as a do-or-die and this month and four teams are taking advantage of that motto and have become four of the hottest teams in the league, putting more pressure on some of the top teams.
MLB: Miami and Philadelphia separating from the Mets in the NL East
There was a lot of hype at the beginning of the season around the New York Mets, but they have not come close to living up to the hype. The Miami Marlins and Philadelphia Phillies started slow, but those two teams are pulling away from the Mets, and are putting themselves in the think of the National League Wild Card race, while hanging around the Atlanta Braves.
Miami has won four in a row, just swept the Washington Nationals, and has MLB’s leader in batting in Luis Arraez who is hitting .388. They are a team that is taking advantage of the schedule in front of them and their pitching has been good enough, both starting and relief. Their schedule for the rest of the month is not bad, three at home against the Toronto Blue Jays, four against the Pittsburgh Pirates, before three at the Boston Red Sox, and a trip to the first-place Braves. This is a team that can easily get a Wild Card spot.
The Phillies were an early-season disappointment after reaching the World Series last season, but June has been very kind and they are beating the teams they should and some of the league’s top teams, something that wasn’t happening earlier in the season. Facing a 10-game road trip, they have turned things around and suddenly find themselves four games above .500 at 38-34. They won two out of three over the Los Angeles Dodgers and took three out of four against the NL West-leading Arizona Diamondbacks before sweeping the lowly Oakland Athletics.
They have 22 home runs this month, Kyle Schwarber has seven this month alone and 13 RBI. The pitching, especially on the recently completed road trip, has been good and is fifth in the majors this month with a 3.41 ERA. Things will get tougher with three games at home against the Braves and Mets, before closing out the month with three against the Chicago Cubs.