The Pitching In The NL East Has Been An Embarrassment So Far This Season
The Washington Nationals are playing about as dominant as you can play right now. They 25-13 and hold an 9 game lead over the Mets and Braves for first place in the division. I know, right. What a shocker that is. I don’t want to focus on them just this second. Instead, I want to take a look at just how bad the rest of these teams are.
Outside of the Nats, the rest of the division is 59-89. Against greater than or equal to .500 teams, they are 12-41. The combined run differential of these 4 World Series Candidates is -89. With Noah Syndergaard most likely out for the season, the death of Jose Fernandez, Jacob Degrom regressing over the past season, the average age of a Braves starter being 51, the Phillies as an organization, not to mention everyone one of these teams bullpen’s, the pitching in the NL East has really gone down the shitter.
Let’s look at how bad the pitching has been among the 4 teams combined this season.
206 HR allowed
25-34 combined bullpen record
4.6 combined WAR (For reference the 17-24 San Francisco Giants pitching staff has a WAR of 4.5)
The Nationals haven’t been too much of a prize either despite their record. Of the 38 games they have played, 24 have come against the NL East where they are 16-8. However, they are only 7-5 against a very bad Phillies team with a -6 run differential. 6 of those games have been decided by 1 run and 10 games by 2 runs or fewer. The pitching staff has a combined WAR of 3.3 which is worse than the Giants and last place Blue Jays and Royals.
Their 4.24 team ERA is well above the league average. Against the NL East they have a 3.94 ERA wheras, in the 13 games against Non-NL East foes, they have a 4.76 ERA. The Nationals pitchers have allowed a .705 OPS against the NL East bats with 24 HR allowed. However, against Non-NL East opponents, that number spikes to a .819 OPS and 24 HR allowed in only 13 games. The bullpen has allowed an earned run in 16 of their last 19 games and has a combined 5.19 ERA and 8 blown saves.
NL East has some of the best bats around. They are no AL or NL West, but they are in the conversation at least. We know what the Nationals and particularly, Bryce Harper are doing a quarter of the way through the season. Same goes with teammate Ryan Zimmerman. Not even a question who the comeback player of the year is at this point in the season. Freddie Freeman has become a legit superstar, will always be overlooked because he is in Atlanta. Matt Kemp is having a sneaky good year as well. Yoenis Cespedes has been sidelined for most of the season, but he has become a terror since becoming a Met and it’s obvious how good that team can be with him in the lineup. Marcell Ozuna has continued his progression as the third horseman in the dangerous middle of the Marlins lineup, while JT Realmuto is starting to turn some heads. And the Phill….wait, nvm.
Much to the rest of the NL East’s chagrin, it’s their fault the Nationals are making a mockery of the rest of the division right now. But, bats and Max Scherzer will only get you so far. It’s no question the Nationals will take the NL East. But, squads like the Diamondbacks, Cardinals and Dodgers, have shown so far this season they can be effective on both sides of the diamond. People forget that in the last 14 years, only one team from the NL East has won the World Series. That team is, of course, the 2008 Phillies. If the Nationals want to change that, then they better find some pitching. And quickly.