The National League East according to sportsbooks and anyone following betting odds was not supposed to be a competitive division and after roughly one-eighth of the season, it is not.
This does not mean things have gone according to preseason prognostications, far from it as the New York Mets lead the Washington Nationals by EIGHT games in the standings (at this time). What has occurred in this division is the Nationals look more like the Washington Generals and the Metropolitans are being talked about like the 1986 Mets.
From a pitching and sports picks prospective here is the lowdown on each club in the NL East.
Mets Pitching Amazin’ = Big Money
Just 20 games into the season, the Mets are +11 units and have been the talk not only of New York but baseball. If they keep up anything close to this pace, sportsbooks are going to start shading New York with greater regularity besides when Matt Harvey (4-0, 3.04 ERA) pitches.
With ageless Bartolo Colon (4-0, 2.77 ERA), Jacob deGrom, Jonathon Niese and Dillon Gee, manager Terry Collins has the staff that is second in the NL in ERA. What this group has done so well besides just get batter’s out is continually throw strikes. This aggressiveness has them posting the fewest walks in the league, which in turn has them tops in OBP allowed.
With Jenrry Mejia suspended the bullpen was going to be in tatters, but Jeurys Familia has stepped in like he’s Craig Kimbrel and recorded nine saves with a 1.69 ERA. Who knows how long New York can keep playing this well, but for now making MLB picks has to include the Mets.
Atlanta Might be Able to Tread Water
If it were not for Philadelphia, Atlanta would have been very popular team for a complete collapse. However, the Braves are slightly profitable because three of their starting pitchers should be able to keep them above water. Julio Teheran (2-1, 4.64), Shelby Miller (2-0, 2.05) and Alex Wood (1-0, 3.00) are not going take the place of Maddux, Glavine and Smoltz, but they don’t have to. This Atlanta trio has just to do their job and manager Fredi Gonzalez can only hope the best out of Eric Stults and Trevor Cahill.
The bullpen beyond closer Jason Grilli leaves something to be desired and given his history, nobody knows if he can complete a full season. The long term projection still is no positive, but when one of the Braves top 3 pitches, they have a chance as +5.5 units’ shows.
Washington’s “Sensational Staff” Merely Ordinary
The Washington Nationals are already down nearly -10 units and coming into the season with what was supposed to be the best starting five in the major has not worked out. No question Washington’s hitting and fielding has raised more debate than a congressional hearing, yet this was what fantastic five was supposed to do.
Their sixth-rated ERA and OBP is slightly above average, yet the fact is that has been accomplished with nine games against the Phillies and Marlins, who were playing bad baseball going into those series.
No doubt the bats and gloves have to play at a higher level, but so do the Nats starters who should be help carrying their team instead of being another symptom of a larger problem. Presently, hard to support versus the MLB odds.
Miami and Philadelphia Both Betting Losers
Actually the Phillies were thought to be where the Nationals are and have not been as dreadful as once may have thought. Their overall starting pitchers is a weak group behind Cole Hamels and while the Phils are 6-2 with Aaron Harang and Jerome Williams starting, you will not find anyone taking a bet they collectively finish over .500 by season’s end.
The Philadelphia bullpen is a mirage, because their No.5 ERA in the NL will disappear soon if they continue to be last in walks and OBP surrendered.
Miami’s starters have been steadily improving the last week and they need to because the bullpen’s ERA’s 14th in the NL. Without Henderson Alvarez and Jose Fernandez, I don’t see how the Marlins can hide this bullpen unless they gel soon to go on a winning streak.