By Allyus Fritz
With one exception this division has given us exactly what we expected. We knew there would be two good teams and three bad teams. The thing that most of us didn’t expect is that the Nationals would be flirting with a .500 record and wouldn’t be in first place. Even with Washington’s slow start, there is still a good chance this division will produce two playoff teams.
Here’s the NL East Breakdown.
1. Atlanta Braves (45-33)
– Mike Minor and Kris Medlen are the leaders of an amazing Braves pitching staff. The pitchers will need to remain fantastic if they wish to stay in first place. How can a team of the Braves caliber have multiple players batting under .200? B.J. Upton is now hitting a miniscule .177, while Dan “Ugly” Uggla is down to .196. After an amazing start to the season, Justin Upton is batting .241 and is not driving in runs even close to the same way that he was at the beginning of the year. If these players become productive again, it will be hard for any team to defeat them in October.
2. Washington Nationals (38-38) 6 GB
– Injuries have crippled the Nationals. Ryan Zimmermann and Stephen Strasburg both spent time on the DL, and now wunderkind Bryce Harper is in AAA rehabbing his knee. I still believe the Nationals will make the playoffs because they are simply too talented not to. Most of them haven’t even started to have a quality season yet… and they’re still .500! Expect the Nationals to make a serious run at the division crown.
3. Philadelphia Phillies (37-41) 8 GB
– I’ll be nice and leave the Phils in the contender category for now. They still may have enough firepower to make it an interesting second half. Dominic Brown is a star on the rise, and if Ryan Howard could kick it in to high gear, these two could make quite the dynamic duo. If the Phils falter soon enough for them to look to deal their stars, Cliff Lee and Jimmy Rollins won’t be around long. Look for St. Louis to make a push for Rollins.
Looking for next year:
4. New York Mets (30-43) 12.5 GB
– At least the future is bright. Matt Harvey, Zach Wheeler and maybe even Dillon Gee are all future rotation stars. As for now? David Wright is tied or leading the team in every major offense category. John Buck, who had an incredible start to the season, is now ice cold, batting only .224. Only two players on the Mets are batting over .235.
5. Miami Marlins (26-50) 18 GB
– The future is not bright. In fact, the future looks like a spinning black hole of horrifying ineptitude. The Marlins have only one hope of being relevant over the next three seasons at the least, and his name is Giancarlo Stanton. Don’t be surprised if the Miami front office that doesn’t care about winning deals Stanton before the trade deadline. He would look good in Pittsburgh, would he not?
See you in the NL Central.
*All statistics are official as of Wednesday, June 26.