As we investigate the teams from the National League East, only two have an edge against the sportsbooks' MLB odds on the season and one has good pitching and the other does not.
The other three clubs, who are failing against the MLB odds, are in between these two squads for pitching numbers. What does it all mean; let’s dissect this entire group and find out.
Mets Continue to Slide and so Does their Starting Pitching
New York's starting staff had the full approval of all MLB baseball handicappers to start the season when they got off to an excellent 13-3 start. Though the Mets tailed off, their starting pitching earned run average remained in the top three through the middle of May. However, in recent weeks this began to change, now it's down to fifth, as Matt Harvey has not been as dominant and Jonathon Niese and Bartolo Colon have swelled into the 4.50 to 5.00 ERA range.
What is keeping New York in contention and still a potential play for making sports picks in the pitching side is their bullpen, which is third in ERA at well under three and having the best OBP allowed numbers in the NL. If the starting pitchers can get back in a groove and Washington continues to fail, the Mets can hang around in the division.
Atlanta Needs Bullpen Support and Fast
A rather convincing claim can be made that now that Eric Stults is out of the picture, Atlanta could climb above .500 and be a stronger play on team for MLB picks. The starting staff numbers-wise is right behind New York, yet has the worst ERA in the division.
The Braves bullpen could not put out a lit match with a fire engine hose. Of Atlanta’s 28 defeats, 12 have come from the non-starters. Their nine blown saves are tied for second in the league and having an ERA over 5 is in part because they have conceded the most home runs in the senior circuit. Hard to take this team seriously unless they find more help for late in games.
Washington Pitching Disappointing
The Washington Nationals were thought to have an embarrassment of riches in starting pitching when the season began, which is why WagerWeb was so busy taking futures’ bets on Washington. Unlike this sportsbook, which has some of the fastest guaranteed payout times, there was no guarantee everything would work like clockwork for manager Matt Williams' squad.
The batting order has been disrupted by one injury after another. Now Doug Fister and Stephen Strasburg are on the DL and when they were pitching their ERA’s were hardly elite at 4.31 and 6.55 respectively when they were shutdown. Gio Gonzalez is throwing like he did in Oakland (which is not good) and is sporting an ERA over 4.5. With a lack of offense sans Bryce Harper and stunningly ineffective pitching, Washington is a losing proposition for bettors and they're 8-11 in games determined by four or more runs, hardly outstanding.
Miami and Philadelphia Both Betting Losers
It is simple to understand why the two bottom feeders in the division are positioned where they are. Sure it is fun to read about Giancarlo Stanton’s latest prodigious home run into the next galaxy or the scuttlebutt about what other team needs Cole Hamels the most, but that does not post victories.
Subtract Dan Haren’s 11 starts and the Marlins would be 15-29 this season and they would be hanging out with Oakland and Milwaukee among the worst wagers in the majors. If you take Hamels off the Philadelphia Phillies, when you match the team’s win/loss record with the other starting hurlers, none are above .500.
Both bullpens are average to slightly above but that does not matter when you are already behind by two or more runs most of the time. It does not seem to be a coincidence that Miami is 2-13 in games decided by 2-3 runs and that Philadelphia is 4-13 in outcomes of four or more runs.