Earlier in the season, some of us were complaining about the mediocrity of the AL East. As the season has worn on, the NL East has surpassed it making the MLB odds no treat to beat.
A look-see at the standings has Philadelphia in last place, just six games behind front-running Washington. Are any of these five teams worth using as sports picks, for or against? Let’s grab a shovel and start digging for answers.
If the Washington offense could be a tad more consistent, the Nationals could go run off and hide in the National League East. They have not proven to be a very good choice for MLB picks, down a few units on the season.
No question injuries have held back the offense from reaching its potential at just 4.0 runs per contest, while its pitching staff ranks in the Top 3 in most important categories. If Gio Gonzalez can regain his previous form, the Nats have five legit starters who can win any contest.
The Nationals can be dominating as exhibited by their 19-10 record in games determined by four or more runs.
Washington has gotten off to a good start in Milwaukee and the schedule sets up to defeat the betting odds with a few games at home when the Cubs and Colorado visit D.C. next week.
Atlanta continues to hover around .500 and baseball handicappers are becoming increasingly disenchanted with this team. If the Braves had the same record because all their replacement pitchers were getting torched, nobody would say anything other than just all the bad luck they had fallen into.
But pitching has not been the problem (though the numbers have slipped a bit this month); it is a moribund offense, not even averaging 3.6 runs contest.
A few batting averages have risen from the likes of Jason Heyward, Chris Johnson and Andrelton Simmons, yet it has hardly been noticeable in run production, where it counts.
Maybe facing pitchers from Houston, Philadelphia, the Mets and Arizona will help in the coming weeks, but I would not bet on it.
The Marlins are off a clumsy 3-7 homestand, failing to win a single series against three National League clubs with losing records. This could really place them in a terrible spot as they head back on the road with an unsightly 13-20 (-3.2 units) record.
What has changed for Miami? While they survived for a time, the loss of Jose Fernandez has produced a negative trickledown effect and the starters now rank 12th in NL in ERA and the staff as a whole is 13th.
It will not be any easier for the Marlins either, with just six home games until the All-Star break and three of those will be with Oakland, the best club in the bigs.
New York Mets
New York just won their first series since June 2. While this was good news for Mets fans, two of the team’s most profitable hurlers are 41-year old (allegedly) Barto Colon (+3.5 units) and 33-year old (and seemingly washed up) Daisuke Matsuzaka (+1.35).
Like many below average teams in baseball, the Mets are poorly constructed, lacking many options for manager Terry Collins to put together a lineup which can produce.
No question Citi Field is a tough place to hit home runs, however, this seems to gotten into several players heads including Curtis Granderson. How else do you explain the Mets average 3.1 RPG at home and 4.6 RPG on the road (7th in MLB)? If this was completely true the pitcher’s differential would not be less than half (3.5 vs. 4.2 allowed).
The Mets have a short two-game series with Oakland to start the week, before traveling to Atlanta and Pittsburgh, which is followed by a long homestand that leads into the break.
The best advice on the Metropolitians to beat the sportsbooks is to play UNDER at home, where they are 21-12.
The Phillies has shown more than just age spots in winning nine of 14 and are attempting to crawl back to .500. They should not be fooled into thinking they are really a division contender in spite of the improvement and look for good young players to start rebuilding through trades.
The trade deadline is not until the end of next month, thus the Philadelphia players should make the most of it and are playing seven home games this week trying to improve on a 16-22 record (-8.3).
A 5-2 homestand would be cause for celebration, before loading up the suitcases for Miami, Pittsburgh and Milwaukee. Hard to imagine the Phils maintaining their recent success.