A Look Around the NL East

3 Apr

I cannot remember a season where the media and public was so down on the Mets. I guess in 2004 it was similar, but this aura of doom and gloom in March is relatively foreign to this team. Sure, September swoons was expected. However, this feeling of the sky falling in before the first pitch is pretty rough to read and hear.

It is encouraging to hear Johan Santana feel frustrated and Jeff Francoeur continuing to tell anyone who listens that this year will be different. Yet, the questions surrounding this pitching staff is plentiful and having Mike Jacobs hitting clean-up is never a good thing.

Today, we take a quick look at the NL East and the competition for this year. This analysis is a quick, what you need to know April guide for the Mets divisional rivals.

Phillies: The team to beat. They are feeling the injury bug which should keep them close. Yet, they have the best offense in the league. Big questions surrounding the bullpen, especially with Brad Lidge trying to find his fastball in Florida. Hope for injuries to a big bat like Ryan Howard and the Cole Hamels struggles for anyone else to have a chance. I have them at 90 wins.

Braves: Everyone’s wild card team. Pitching should be fine but trading Javy Vasquez for offense is very un-Braves like. They have too much age on their roster, despite the phenom, Jason Heyward playing every day in right. I expect the Braves to fall in September and finish around .500.

Marlins: Florida continues to over-achieve. They have excellent young pitching and one of the best hitters in the game in Hanley Ramirez. You can’t count them out because of the unknown, but they always find a way to be around .500. I expect the same in 2010.

Nationals: Washington will be  better. They have more pitching, more offense and relevancy because of  Stephen Strasburg, who should be with the team by June. The future is bright for Washington, but by August they will be playing spoilers. I see the Nationals with 73 wins, a great achievement for this franchise.

Predictions:

Phillies 91-71

Mets 89-73

Braves 82-80

Marlins 81-81

Nationals 73-89

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