Many of the preseason predictions made by MLB baseball handicappers are taking shape in the National League East, with one exception. Let’s delve into what might lie ahead in the coming weeks for these teams.
After weeks of slogging around, the Braves bats (while not Candice-Swanepoel-hot), have heated up since May 18, averaging 4.7 runs per game, to go along with stifling pitching which has held opposing teams to 3.2 RPG on the season.
This increase in run production has elevated the Atlanta offense to a modest 3.5 RPG, and this will not change unless other players start hitting more like Freddie Freeman and Justin Upton.
The Braves continue their home and home series with bumbling Boston and will mostly be on the road the next couple of weeks with visits to Miami, Arizona and Colorado, with a short two-game series with Seattle in the mix.
Seeing that the desert, and Denver, are two places where runs can be more plentiful, let’s see if the Atlanta lumber starts to mash, or if they'll remain a top choice for those playing the 'under.'
Last week here at SBR, we talked about Kansas City being a great play for MLB picks depending on if they were a favorite, or underdog. The same holds true for Miami, except their situation has to do with being home, or away.
The Marlins are as beautiful as many of the patrons on South Beach when playing at home with a 20-8 record, which is a baseball-best +11.8 units. On the road, Miami is like Vladimir Putin going shirtless, with a hideous 9-17 mark, down 8.5 units.
Miami is in D.C. for a three-game series before returning home for five contests with the Braves, and Rays. Then, they head out to Tampa, Chicago and Texas for seven affairs. This could get ugly.
Besides being a rather simple play, Miami is the finest 'over' bet in the big leagues.
The Nationals are happy to write Adam LaRoche’s name back in the lineup card, adding punch to the batting order, and fielding prowess at first base. However, Washington is not an impressive bunch which is why they are catching many calls against the betting odds with their failures to produce.
Having shortstop Ian Desmond as your top home run and RBI player (and worst fielder), is not a sign of a healthy team, no matter who is out of the lineup. The Nationals hitters repeatedly fail to come through in the clutch.
Washington has an opportunity to turn their season around in the midst of a nine-game homestand, and start impressing sportsbooks with the skill instead of their potential.
New York Mets
The Big Apple is a great place to play, when everything is going well. It's hell on earth when sports teams like the Mets are struggling. New York is 11-17 at Citi Field and local media is having a feast roasting an offense that does not score (3.9 RPG), nor hit for average (.237) or power (14th in NL).
That is why an 11-game road excursion to Philly, Chicago and San Fran might take some of the heat off this team. At least here the Metropolitans are a .500 club and are a positive +3.6 units.
This group also has to be mentally tougher and devise a little of their own luck and improve on 6-13 mark in one-run games.
In looking at Philadelphia’s current roster, if it were time-stamped 2008, you would like this club. Unfortunately, the team pictures shows too many individuals with more wrinkles, and gray specks under baseball caps ,and the only thing “in its prime” about this group is the checks they are cashing for previous deeds.
No way to put a fresh coat of paint on this bunch and say it “looks like new!”
The Phillies have the second worst run differential in the NL, and that is not going to beat the MLB odds leading to more victories. This is a club with too many weaknesses, and will not be a factor home, or away, other than sporadically.