Four of the five teams in the National League East are not where they are supposed to be based on preseason prognostications. This has either helped or hindered those making MLB picks thus far.
How long until order is restored? Or will it be? That is the nature of this article, to understand what has happened and to look into the crystal ball and see where these five clubs might be headed versus the betting odds.
Mets – Streaking Mets Piling up Profits
The New York NL franchise would probably love to petition the MLB offices to play division games the rest of the season. They are the only squad in the NL East to play only games in their division which has helped them build a 10-3 record leading to +7.5 units of profit for MLB picks. The Mets pitching in general and the starters in particular have them in the top four in numerous categories in the senior circuit. With Matt Harvey and Jacob deGrom, manager Terry Collins has a devastating 1-2 punch. While talking about punch, the Metropolitans are fifth in the NL in runs scored (as of 4/20/15) and this is without David Wright who is on the DL. What the Mets have done is show tremendous patience at the plate with 44 walks which has correlated to being 2nd in on-base percentage in the league. New York will continue to play mostly division confrontations the next two weeks except for the Subway Series this upcoming weekend in the Bronx. As hot as they have been, the Mets should at least be a spot play versus the MLB odds.
Braves – Surprisingly Start for Atlanta
Atlanta was thought to be a couple strides ahead of Philadelphia to stay out of the division cellar and instead has begun 8-4 (+5.8 units). Despite moving a number of believed to be solid offensive players, the Braves are fourth in the NL in scoring runs at 4.5 after finishing 14th in the league a season ago. Freddie Freeman, Nick Markakis and Chris Johnson have helped Atlanta score like Julio Jones in the open field. Julio Teheran and Shelby Miller have been terrific and the bullpen less Craig Kimbrel has held up. Because it’s April, the vast majority of MLB baseball handicappers are taking a wait and see approach on Atlanta, who finishes their nine-game road trip with the Mets and Phillies before heading home. When their two best starters throw, Braves are worth consideration.
Nationals – Stumbling Start for Washington
The Nationals at 6-7 (-3) is not worthy of Senate hearing, but has without a doubt caught a few sports bettors off guard. The presumption was the starting pitching could offset injuries to the starting lineup and instead of winning 5-2; a few more 3-2 outcomes in the Nats favor were to occur. However, a 2-6 mark out of the gate was a head-scratcher and only in the past several games has Washington begun to resemble a team thought to have the best record in NL appeared. One major area of concern for skipper Matt Williams is fielding, with his team already at eight errors, which is more than the top eight NL teams in miscues combined. Again, no reason to panic, but the upcoming schedule of St. Louis and a road excursion to Miami, Atlanta and New York does not look as simple as it did a few weeks ago.
Phillies – As Bad as Expected
Philadelphia was supposed to be a really crummy team this year and they are right on schedule at 4-9 (-3.8). The Phillies offense is flat out pathetic at 2.6 runs a game. You don’t need baseball analytics to understand the pitching is not and will not be good when the current starters beyond Cole Hamels are Aaron Harang, Jerome Williams, Sean O’Sullivan and David Buchanan. Philadelphia might avoid a 100 loss season, but I would not bet on it, with them continual play against material.
Marlins – Brutal Start for Miami
To say Miami has been off key with its 3-10 (-8.6 units) opening salvo is like listening to Mariah Carey trying to hit high notes when singing live these days. The Marlins complete staff has failed in surrendering 5.00 runs a game (that means you have to score six to win) and the offense has been nothing to brag about at 3.8 RPG, with Giancarlo Stanton is batting .239 (.364 OBP with walks) and looking like he’s swinging a slow bat, loaded with gold bars. Sportsbooks are not complaining because they took a fair amount of futures money on Miami, plus what they have raked in thus far. Can the Marlins recover, yes, but it has to start with taking at least five of six versus the Phillies the next 12 days to get in a winning groove.