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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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Mar 13, 2021; West Palm Beach, Florida, USA; Washington Nationals outfielder Juan Soto (22) reacts against the New York Mets during the third inning of a spring training game at FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches. Mandatory Credit: Rhona Wise-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 13, 2021; West Palm Beach, Florida, USA; Washington Nationals outfielder Juan Soto (22) reacts against the New York Mets during the third inning of a spring training game at FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches. Mandatory Credit: Rhona Wise-USA TODAY Sports

Nationals

The Nationals are a tricky team to read. If their players play as they have in the past, they have a legitimate shot at winning the division. After all, they did win the World Series just two years ago. With a rotation featuring Max Scherzer, Patrick Corbin, and Stephen Strasburg, their starting pitching should be very good. But will it be? They are all getting older and coming off of bad years or in Strasburg’s case, an injury. It’s hard to rely on them to be what they were.

To offset that, the Nationals will need their lineup and bullpen to exceed expectations. I’m not sure if that will happen. In their lineup, they do have some really good pieces. I think Juan Soto is the best pure hitter in the game, and the scary part is that he is only 22 years old and will haunt the Mets for years to come.

They also have Trea Turner at the top of their lineup to torment the Mets on the base paths, and Josh Bell to hopefully have a bounce-back year in the middle of their lineup.

Their bullpen is improved as well, as they stole Brad Hand from the Mets in free agency this offseason. The Nationals should be pretty good but are they good enough to win this division? I don’t think so.

They would need Jon Lester to regain his old Red Sox form, Josh Bell to be an all-star, and their three-headed monster in the rotation to be healthy and perform. Too much has to go perfectly for this team to be a playoff team in this division. I think they’ll be good, not great.

Record: 84-78

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