As we all expected, the Atlanta Braves clinched a third consecutive NL East title on Tuesday night, as well as their 20th overall division title, the most in Major League Baseball history. The Braves were the betting favorites to win the division all offseason, so it really wasn't much of a surprise that a team with what turned out to be the best offense in baseball ran away with the East crown.
Unless you're MLB Network's Jon Morosi, who could not have made predictions more incorrect about this year's NL East if he had tried. To hear him tell it, the rest of the division was going to have to contend with a reincarnation of the 1927 Yankees in the Philadelphia Phillies and the rest of his predictions somehow got worse from there.
Morosi had the Mets finishing second — LOL — followed by the Washington Nationals before he got to the Atlanta Braves all the way down in fourth place. His reasoning? Losing Nick Markakis, who ended up coming back anyway and is mostly a bench bat hitting .252 with a 93 wRC+ this year.
I just can't get over picking the Phillies to win the NL East. There may not be a prediction that bad in all of sports this year. I mean, we're talking about a team with a $200 million payroll — before the salaries were prorated — that has fallen apart at the seams and looks like it could miss the Postseason in a field of 16(!) teams. Even John Kruk has seen enough.
I get that the NL East was supposed to have several good teams this season and it was allegedly difficult to predict, but Morosi's July declarations give me life. I hope Brian Snitker plays that clip before Game 1 of whatever we're calling the first fake three-game Postseason series to get the guys fired up.
Anyway, it feels to good to be a reigning back-to-back-to-back division champion. Now I'd like to feel what it's like to win a Postseason series for once.