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Mets NL East Sunday Battleground: 2021 season predictions

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 03: Pete Alonso #20 of the New York Mets reacts after hitting a two-run walk-off home run during the tenth inning against the New York Yankees at Citi Field on September 03, 2020 in the Queens borough of New York City. The Mets won 9-7. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 03: Pete Alonso #20 of the New York Mets reacts after hitting a two-run walk-off home run during the tenth inning against the New York Yankees at Citi Field on September 03, 2020 in the Queens borough of New York City. The Mets won 9-7. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
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Oct 13, 2020; Arlington, Texas, USA; Atlanta Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman (5) is celebrates with right fielder Ronald Acuna Jr. (13) after hitting a two run home run during the fourth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers in game two of the 2020 NLCS at Globe Life Field. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 13, 2020; Arlington, Texas, USA; Atlanta Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman (5) is celebrates with right fielder Ronald Acuna Jr. (13) after hitting a two run home run during the fourth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers in game two of the 2020 NLCS at Globe Life Field. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Braves

The Braves have won the division in each of the last three seasons and I don’t think I have a reason to not pick them to win it again this year. They were one win away from a World Series berth last season and in my opinion, they improved. They have the reigning National League MVP Freddie Freeman leading the way along with guys like Ronald Acuna Jr., Ozzie Albies, and Marcell Ozuna to lead an offense that will be just as good if not better than the Mets.

The Braves’ weakness in the past has been their starting pitching. That certainly is not a weakness anymore. They signed Charlie Morton to a one-year $15 million dollar deal this past offseason to join young studs Max Fried, Mike Soroka, and Ian Anderson in what should be a really good and underrated rotation.

Their bullpen did get a little weaker as Mark Melancon and Darren O’Day left via free agency but it is still really good. Will Smith has been a really good closer in the past and I assume he will take on that role this season with Chris Martin setting up. While it is not as good as it was in the past, I think their ‘pen will still be pretty good.

With the lineup and rotation the Braves have, I don’t think they will need a super ‘pen. More importantly, until the rest of the division learns how to play well against the Braves they won’t be able to win this division. The Braves have routinely beaten up on the NL East and I don’t see that stopping completely this season. I do expect it to be close, but I think the Braves will win the National League East and think they are real World Series contenders.

Record: 96-66

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