Before the start of the MLB season, we all have our predictions for teams and all of the divisions. Even if you can tell that a team is nowhere near ready to compete, that team still has that confidence that they can.
Now, two and a half months into the season, every team in the NL East has a chance to win this division. It did not look that way before the season.
It was expected that the Washington Nationals and Atlanta Braves would battle all summer for this division, and it wasn’t even a question. The Braves won the division last year with 96 wins and the Nats won it in 2012 with 98 wins.
Now, I’m not saying this division is the best in baseball by any stretch. Actually, it’s a very mediocre division. The fact that the Nats are currently in first place and only four games over .500 tells you all you need to know.
The fact that the Mets are in last place, but only 6 games out a first also tells you alot.
It means that they are one good week and one bad week by the Braves or Nats away from shifting this whole thing upside down.
If the Phillies, Mets or Marlins want to be taken serious, they need to make some kind of run.
The Braves haven’t been able to run away with the division because of their lack of scoring. They only score 3.6 runs a game, which ranks them 14th in the NL, compared to the Marlins, who ranks 3rd in the NL with 4.4 runs per game.
If the Braves can start scoring like they are capable of — and they are very capable, they could actually take this division going away. Evan Gattis is doing his part, currently on a 17-game hitting streak, but he needs his teammates to help out also.
The Nats are clearly the most talented team in this division, and I feel the only reason they haven’t taken over this division is because of injuries. Guys have come back (Adam LaRoche, Ryan Zimmerman, Gio Gonzalez) and guys will be coming back soon (Bryce Harper).
The Marlins have rode the bats of Giancarlo Stanton (20 HR’s and 57 RBI’s) and Casey McGehee (44 RBI’s) and the young arms of Henderson Alvarez and Nathan Eovaldi. Who knows how long this can last? We won’t know but I’m not sure there was anyone who had them only a game and a half out of first place on June 19th. They could be looking to speed up this whole “rebuilding” process.
The Phillies seemed dead in the water 2 weeks ago after being swept by the Nationals. Now, after winning 7 of 9 and sweeping the Braves at Turner Field, they now find themselves at 32-38 and only 5 games out of first place. Chase Utley has been ice cold lately, but the pitching — especially the bullpen, has been great lately.
The Mets might be the least talented out of all of these teams. They could hang around until July maybe but they have already started their decline, winning only 6 of 17 in June.
It might — and most likely will come down to the Nats and Braves in September, and they actually have a huge 4-game set coming up, but as of right now, this NL East race could make for some good baseball during the summer.
– Khristian Peel