Braves: Checking in on the rest of the NL East

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The Braves have started this season a lot like last year — miserably. They are currently three games under .500 and have been losing to some of the worst teams in baseball. With 139 games left to play, the panic meter remains low, but the rest of the division, especially the Mets, is enjoying the head start Atlanta is giving them.

1. New York Mets (16-7)

The Mets followed up their spending spree in 2021 with an even bigger spending spree this past offseason, and the results speak for themselves. Francisco Lindor is leading the way for them offensively, while the newly acquired Max Scherzer is heading their rotation, living up to the high expectations. The scariest part about this team is… they aren’t even healthy. Jacob DeGrom is on his way back, and several others will be joining the team later in the season. The Mets have blown many division leads over the years, but this is not the team the Braves want to fall too far behind.

2. Miami Marlins (12-9)

Through almost a month, the Marlins are firmly in second place, trailing the Mets by just three games. This is a team on the rise, and I absolutely love their starting staff, led by Sandy Alcantara and Pablo Lopez. In a division loaded with starting pitching, the Marlins might actually have the best rotation of the bunch. They also added some firepower to the lineup in the form of Jorge Soler and Avisail Garcia. If those two can start living up to the contracts they signed this offseason, watch out for Miami.

3. Philadelphia Phillies (11-12)

Some people may just believe I’m saying this because I’m biased, but the Phillies are performing exactly how I thought they would at the beginning of the season. This team has .500 written all over it. The guys they added in free agency can be inconsistent offensively and are miserable defensively. On the pitching side of things, their rotation is average, and their bullpen is even worse. Put it on the board — the Phillies aren’t making the playoffs, once again.

4. Atlanta Braves (10-13)

Then… there are the Braves. It goes without saying that this has been a disappointing start to the season, much like last year. However, for several reasons, I believe this team will be fine. The offense is hitting the ball hard; the results just aren’t showing on the box score. I also think Atlanta might have the best all-around pitching staff in baseball. Eventually, the cream rises to the top, but as I said earlier, the Braves don’t want to continue to dig a hole in the division. The Mets are legit and falling behind much further will be a problem. At the very least, Atlanta needs to split their series with New York this week.

5. Washington Nationals (8-16)

Not much needs to be said about the Nationals. I actually think they are overachieving to this point. They should fly past 100 losses with their roster this season.

Photo: Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire

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