Another week of National League East baseball has come and gone. It’s a weird division to this point. Let’s examine one point from each team with this week’s NL East Roundup.
Philadelphia Phillies (13-14)
One big thing: First place, but...
The Phillies currently hold first place in the division by virtue of games played, but Philadelphia is still under .500 on the season. That’s due in some part to the team’s record on the road (4-9). As far as “good” teams go, the general rule of thumb is to win home series and split road series. Currently, the Phillies are falling well short of that latter mark. But in a division that’s sputtered out of the gate, a sub-.500 record-holding team might be able to hold on to the spot for a longer duration than teams in other divisions.
Washington Nationals (11-12)
One big thing: Winning streak
Might the Nationals be turning a corner? The newly minted second-place team in the division has won three consecutive games for the first time this season, which is one shy of the club’s 2020 mark. Over their last 10, the Nats are 6-4, a record which, if sustained over the course of a full season, results in a 97-65 record. The winning streak kicked off in Dunedin with an 8-2 win over the Blue Jays before turning their attention to the Marlins with 2-1 and 7-2 victories. The Braves, Yankees, and Phillies are next up on the docket for Washington.
New York Mets (10-11)
One big thing: Easy schedule blues
The Mets were alleged to be the premier team of the East this season, but thus far, it hasn’t panned out that way. With a -13 run differential, the 10-11 Mets are treading water along with the rest of the division, with one main difference: The team has played by far the fewest amount of games against teams with a record greater than .500, playing a club with a positive record twice and losing both contests. Aside from the Braves, every other NL East team has played double-digit games against >.500 competition. Despite all that, New York still isn’t winning ballgames. Time will tell whether or not the Mets are legitimate competitors or if they’re just the regular, ‘ole Mets once again.
Atlanta Braves (12-15)
One big thing: A team of streaks
As of this writing, the Braves are currently mired in a three-game losing streak, threatening to pull even — or surpass — their four-game losing streak mark heading into mid-April. By contrast, they also boast a season-high winning streak of four games, seemingly shifting back and forth between streaks of wins and losses. This Braves club just can’t seem to get all pieces on the same page early on, with the bullpen failing to find success (4.64 ERA, 26th in baseball), while the starting pitching carries a lousy 5.19 ERA (27th); meanwhile, the offense’s 106 wRC+ is sixth best in the league, in addition to its .329 wOBA (t-3rd). As with any team in the East thus far, the Braves are an enigma, with problems to fill before the season progresses too far. While we knew the East would be hard to predict, I don’t think many of us thought it would be this hard.
Miami Marlins (11-15)
One big thing: Bullpen
The Marlins have a 3.82 relief ERA, which ranks them 14th in all of baseball. By no means is that a bad mark, even if it is approximately middle of the league. But here’s the primary concern of the Miami ‘pen: No lockdown late-game reliever. The Marlins are 2-7 in one run games, which includes three games in which the opposition walked it off. Moreover, losses in those games are attributed to three pitchers who would seem to make good closers for the club: Anthony Bass, Dylan Floro, and Yimi Garcia. Finally, despite being in last place, the Marlins are still the only team in the NL East with a positive run differential (+6), with the next closest team being the Braves (-11). Furthermore, by x/W-L, the Fish are the only team who are “supposed” to be over .500, with a 14-12 projection; that would catapult them from last place in the division to first place.