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National League East Roundup

Here’s your look around the NL East...

Tampa Bay Rays v Washington Nationals Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images

Atlanta Braves (26-18)

29. That’s the most prominent number associated with the Braves right now. 29, as in “we beat the Marlins by scoring 29 runs.” Thanks to beating Miami by 20 runs on Wednesday night, Atlanta has upped their run differential to +53 on the season, holding a three game lead in the East.

While the Braves put up a laughably large number offensively, folks around here (I live in Tennessee, which is Braves territory) still voice concerns about the pitching staff. By ERA, the Braves are 16th in baseball at 4.63. While it’s not horrible, it’s not very becoming of a championship team.

Atlanta still seems like the odds on favorite to win the division, but they could run into trouble come playoff time.

Philadelphia Phillies (21-19)

After climbing the ranks in run differential, the Phillies have dipped back below 0, joining the rest of the division, sans Braves.

Philadelphia still has the worst pitching in the division (5.22 ERA — 25th in baseball), which means the offense still carries the club. The team’s 108 wRC+ is ninth in baseball, while its .337 wOBA is seventh.

In a contract year, catcher J.T. Realmuto leads the team with 10 home runs in addition to his position player leading 1.3 fWAR.

Meanwhile, newcomer Zack Wheeler leads the team in fWAR: 1.5; his 2.47 ERA also leads the starting staff.

Miami Marlins (20-19)

The Marlins were on the wrong end of Atlanta’s historic night. That’s alright, though, as they’re still above .500 on the season. The team’s 4.68 ERA is second in the division; it’s also a big reason why the team continues to hang around in the division because the team’s 93 wRC+ is among the bottom feeders in the league. My guess is the Fish ultimately slip below the Mets but ultimately tread enough water to hang above Washington. On a brighter note: Amidst the slaughter came Jazz Chisholm’s first major league home run.

New York Mets (20-24)

Meet the Mets! Or, you could opt for the worse sounding but more accurate: Meet the forever underperforming their projections Mets! Before the 60-game 5k started, RotoChamp projected the Mets to go 33-27, finishing first place in the division. RotoChamp’s projections takes data from all the major players: Baseball Prospectus, FiveThirtyEight, FanGraphs, and Davenport. Yet, here they are, four games under .500 with 16 games to go. Now FiveThirtyEight expects them to finish no better than four games under .500 as of this writing.

Why? We’ve talked about it: The pitching, of course. The team’s 4.82 ERA is 20th in baseball. The perennially hyped pitching staff never really lived up to expectation, due in no small part to injuries. Noah Syndergaard is out (injury) and Marcus Stroman decided to opt out, meaning his tenure in New York is over. Other injury flare ups don’t help, either, but such is life for the Metropolitans. We’ve come to expect it. They might finish third this season, and it’s possible that’s good enough for the playoffs. But it doesn’t really matter in the Mets’ case, does it?

Washington Nationals (16-26)

The Nationals — another underachieving bunch — like the Mets, injuries and opt-outs haven’t helped them, either. But among all of Major League Baseball, the Nats’ .390 winning percentage is 24th in baseball, sandwiched between the Mariners and Angels.

They’re -17 in run differential right now, which won’t get the job done. Not much is going right. The team’s 5.10 ERA is 24th in baseball; the .348 wOBA-against is 26th in baseball; the offense’s 102 wRC+, while above average by the metric’s standards, is 16th in baseball. But there are some offensive silver linings: the club’s .331 wOBA is 10th in baseball, as is the team’s OPS (.771).

The Nationals are an underachieving team, that’s true, but as I’ve mentioned in the past, expected win-loss suggests it shouldn’t be as bad as it has been. By run differential the Nats should be 19-23. That’s not going to appease some fans, but maybe it’ll be a bright spot for others. The Nationals’ season of being the reigning champions hasn’t only been cut short, it’s been underwhelming — assuredly a disappointment to the organization and fanbase alike.