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National League East Roundup

Here’s your out-the-door update on the NL East...

Washington Nationals v Philadelphia Phillies Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Atlanta Braves (22-14)

The Braves hold a 2.5 game lead over the Phillies in the East as we push forward in this 2020 season. The team’s run differential is still well above the rest of the division, checking in at +35.

Atlanta carries a 110 wRC+, which is 9th in baseball. Marcell Ozuna has slugged 12 home runs this season, helping pave the way to 1.2 fWAR. But mainstay Freddie Freeman carries a 1.3 fWAR, the highest offensive output on the team.

The team carries a 4.30 ERA, which is 12th in baseball. Max Fried’s 1.7 fWAR leads the whole team.

The Braves are in the top third of teams in baseball, but by the listed metrics, they’re hanging on by a thread. Perhaps that serves as a microcosm for what the NL East is this season: Just not very good.

Philadelphia Phillies (18-15)

The Phillies have been on a tear recently to propel up into second place in the East, going 9-1 over their last 10 games, including four straight wins. Their +12 run differential is a departure from their negative outputs the last few entries.

This is perhaps due in large part to the recent success of the bullpen relative to how it had been performing. For a time, Philadelphia’s ‘pen was in historically bad territory, clocking in with a relief ERA over 8. At this point, the relief ERA is under seven, coming in at 6.69. If they continue to push this number down, the Braves will continue to have company at the top of the division.

Miami Marlins (16-16)

The .500 Marlins have been 5-5 over their last 10, but their run differential on the season is -11, meaning they’re likely a little worse than their output. Miami is likely to fall into fourth place by season’s end, but avoiding a last place finish in the division seems doable.

The team’s 84 wRC+ is 25th in baseball, and when those are your offensive numbers, it’s hard to stay relevant.

But the team’s 4.18 ERA is 10th in baseball, matching them closely with the Braves. This is particularly striking because Miami has had to deploy more pitchers than any other team (they’re at 30+ at this point).

New York Mets (17-21)

While the Phillies have mitigated damage in their deficient areas, the Mets are still hanging on and trying to reach .500 on the season. The team’s 4.77 ERA is 18th in baseball, with the starters coming in with a 5.25 ERA.

But their 119 wRC+ remains strong, just two points off the top spot. Like the Phillies, the Mets are built upon hitting. But if you can’t pitch, you can’t win games. It’s interesting because for years everyone thought the Mets would be contenders largely because of their pitching staff, but that’s never reached fruition — largely because of injuries, but that’s very Mets of them.

Washington Nationals (12-23)

The Nationals have fallen so far that I think the defending world champs are out of everyone’s field of vision. They’re 1-9 over their last 10 games, putting them 9.5 games back of the first place Braves, making a division title out of reach, for all intents and purposes.

They’re five games back of a final playoff spot, but the water is getting deep. They’re hanging around the Pirates at the bottom of the National League, having secured only one more win than Pittsburgh.

The team’s 102 wRC+ is 15th in baseball, while the team’s 4.96 ERA is 21st in baseball, quickly suggesting that the biggest struggle is the pitching staff. Trea Turner leads the team in fWAR: 1.8.

Silver lining? Washington’s x/W-L is 16-19 (-17 run differential).