When the season began, the New York Mets hoped they would battle through the year against the Washington Nationals. In late April, it’s the Atlanta Braves and Philadelphia Phillies they need to worry about.
A hot start to the 2018 New York Mets season put them ahead of the division by a wide margin. Thanks in large part to some clutch-hitting and dominant bullpen performances, the Mets got an early lead on the other teams in the National League East.
As we enter the final week of April, the story is a little different. The Mets are still playing pretty well, but so are the Atlanta Braves and Philadelphia Phillies. It’s time to take note of their positive records, too.
The Braves are winning lots for a variety of reasons. The bullpen has been phenomenal. Multiple relievers carry ERAs below 3.00. As we saw with the Mets early on, a relief corps can carry a team.
Several starters off pitching incredibly well and the offense is clicking. Kurt Suzuki is a threat at the plate and Ozzie Albies is well on his way to becoming a star. Many of them won’t maintain this success for the full year, but the same can be said about many Mets players.
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Over in Philadelphia, the Phillies relying more on a few stellar offensive weapons. More than anything, it’s the starting pitchers at the top of the rotation. Aaron Nola is delivering on the mound and Jake Arrieta is showing the rest of the league that they should have signed him.
Considering how much money the Phillies have to spend and the prospects they can deal to add this summer, they are a real threat to the Mets.
Many believed the Washington Nationals were the favorite to win the division. Hovering around .500, they haven’t looked nearly as good as these three teams.
However, the Nationals are suffering from multiple key injuries and a few slow starts. They will surely turn things around at some point, adding further to what should become an amazing race in the NL East.
When we get deeper into the 2018 season, these four teams will play each other more and things will even out. Each will have chances to beat up on the poor Miami Marlins.
For the Mets to come away as the victors, they need to take every division game that they can. So far, they’ve done a pretty good job at this. Their early sweep in Washington sent a clear message to the Nationals.
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Now the Mets need to do the same versus the Braves and Phillies for the rest of the season.