The Braves completed a three-game sweep of the Central-leading Cardinals Sunday to put a stamp on a 7-2 road trip. They lead the Nationals by a half game in the division and are six games up on the Phils.
Beerleaguer: The Phillies' inability to string together winning streaks is starting to show up in the standings as the Phils, who are 4-6 over their last 10, won their series with the Padres Sunday, but lost ground in the division race. All four of the Phils' division rivals are playing winning baseball, including the Marlins, who had a monster road trip then came back to Florida and took two-of-three from the Mets. The Braves' lineup is a win better than their 21-14 Pythagorean. Their lineup is simply airtight 1-through-8, paced by a terrific season so far by Michael Bourn (.399 OBP). Other factors: The best 1-2 late-inning bullpen punch in Johnny Venters and Craig Kimbrell. They're 14-8 on the road. They also have a much better bench than the Phils, with guys like Eric Hinske and Matt Diaz contributing big hits.
Cardinals release Romero: J.C. Romero, who allowed 14 hits and nine earned runs in eight innings with the Cardinals, was given his pink slip Monday. Ironically, the Phils are keeping their eyes peeled for a player like the Romero from five years ago, when he was signed by the Phils mid-season after he was released by the Red Sox. Unfortunately, the 35-year-old lefty is a shell of his former self, although it wouldn't shock me if the Phils offered a minor league deal.