The NL East is going to come down to one thing and one thing only – the head to head matchups between the Mets and Nats. That was the difference last year, the Mets ran away with it because they pummeled the Nats when it counted. I dont expect it to be any different this year.
I know recently battered Mets fans have been freaking out about the Phillies, and I understand you. I do. You’re wrong, but you’ve been abused and neglected so I understand your plight. The bottom line is the Phillies are winning 1 run games at a historic clip. 14-3. .824. The best win percentage in 1 run games in the modern era is .763. Only 2 teams in the wild card era have ever won 70% or more of their 1 run games. 2012 O’s and the 2003 Giants. So, I suppose it is possible the Phillies could be the next Orioles and will hang around all year, but I think its very very unlikely. The Phillies are a huge surprise, for sure. Much more formidable opponent than anyone expected – some big time arms in that rotation. Few years from now they might be a real problem. This year, not so much. The NL East is better than anybody expected. Its the only division with 4 teams above .500 and only the Braves are the dumpster fire of the bunch. But the Mets and Nats are head and shoulders better than the rest of these teams and they will be the two teams that decide the NL East Crown.
The Mets are right there with the Nats and the rest of the contenders of baseball without ever really hitting their stride. We’ve seen prolific power from their offense, but nothing considered truly “consistent” from their bats. Their vaunted rotation, for as good as its been (second only to the Cubs in runs allowed), hasnt even come close to clicking. Injury and personal issues bugged deGrom, Harvey is going through a whole host of issues mentally and physically, Matz laid an egg that first outing of the year. They had that streak winning something like 11 of 12 where they began to cook, but they have yet to hit that run where the rotation turns over a few times and all those arms start really firing. Harvey I have major concern for – I dont expect him to be “the Dark Knight” this year. deGrom some more minor concern – I think he’ll be fine but I dont think he’ll be carrying a 2-something ERA into the final week of the season and fighting for a Cy Young. But the point remains that these arms are all still ELECTRIC. When deGrom gets on a roll, and perhaps, maybe, by the grace of God, Harvey gets going and they both join Thor and Matz who have been running gems out there every goddamn night, youre gonna see the Mets take off. The offense will most likely continue to be feast or famine, although I expect a tad more consistency to develop. But when the arms click and the home runs are flying, the Mets will make their move for the top of the East.
But like I said it all starts and ends with their head to head matchups with the Nats. I expect the pitching and bats to sync up eventually and think the Mets will match Bryce, Scherzer and the Nats in the other 100 or so games remaining on the schedule against other teams. It all comes down to who will have that edge in their season series.
No better way to start than Thor vs Max. The cockiest, at times most dominant young ace in the league facing a guy coming off a TWENTY strikeout performance. As Lenny Dykstra would say – buckle up and keep your fucking hands inside vehicle.