So What the Heck Happened to the NL East?

As of today, the NL East’s combined record is 150-175. That’s WITH the Nationals 40-26 record, and the Nats are 19-12 against their bretheren. Not good, not good at all.

The Pythagorean records for the NL East are as follows:

WAS 39-27

NYM 30-35

MIA 31-33

ATL 29-36

PHI 24-41

Miami’s a bit unlucky, but basically, the NL East is earning their stink.

So, what happened? How did we get here? Why is the NL East the Nickelback of baseball this season?

Let’s first look at the ‘good’ team, Washington.

The Nationals have been relatively healthy, with only Adam Eaton losing significant time (though Jayson Werth is now injured). Bryce Harper and Daniel Murphy are crushing the ball, and Ryan Zimmerman dug himself out of his grave and his absolutely mashing. That’s great.

Their top three starters (Scherzer, Gonzalez, and Strasburg) are also nails this year, and the only trouble spot is that Joe Ross has struggled, though his start on June 8th against Baltimore is encouraging.

But Washington’s achilles heel is something that could cause their downfall. Their bullpen still seems to be suffering from the curse of Drew Storen (the reliever who got the shaft when they inexplicably got Jonathan Papelbon in 2015).

Koda Glover is the ‘stopper’, or was until June 11th when he got on the DL. Glover’s ERA is 5.12, though his FIP is a decent 2.67, so there’s some bad luck there. But Glover wasn’t giving anyone warm fuzzies.

The rest of the bullpen seem to either put runners on base, or allow runners to score. Matt Albers has a 2.10 ERA but has allowed 53% of his inherited runners to score. Oliver Perez has allowed just one runner to score that he inherited, but his other stats are mediocre or worse. They’re going to have to make some moves, or the bullpen will sink them.

We knew Atlanta wouldn’t be that great. They’re right where they should be, even with Freddy Freeman’s injury. Freeman was having an MVP caliber year until his broken wrist. However, Atlanta got Matt Adams from the Cards and he’s mashed almost as thoroughly as Freeman. They have some trading chits as well (Jim Johnson, Jason Motte) that can help them in the future.

Miami’s always been a tire fire thanks to Moe Green Loria and Fredo Samson. They’ve been unlucky with injuries to Justin Bour, We-Yin Chen, Adieny Hechavarria, and Martin Prado, and Christian Yelich’s slumped a bit. Their pitching has been disappointing, with two of their projected rotation nearing jetliner ERA’s (and now are sampling the gumbo in New Orleans. Their bullpen, so strong last year, has been disappointing – not horrible, but not great. Miami should have been around .500 and they may get there soon.

Philadelphia was talked about as a potential wildcard based on their talent base. Their 2016 record was hidden by a bad Pythagorean, and this year they’re playing right to their Pythag. Pyfooey. Only Aaron Altheer is meeting expectations amongst the youngsters. Jerad Eickhoff is 0-7, 5.09 (though he’s pitched a bit better than that). Jenmar Gomez has been rotten, and only Edubray Ramos and Pat Neshek have been anywhere close to good in the pen.  Maikel Franco and Odubel Herrera are still young enough to improve, but the Phils may have missed on this group of players.

Then there are the Mets. There are nine Mets on the DL, with three on the 60-day DL (Syndergard, Familia, and Wright), their starting infield out (Walker and Cabrera), and Matt Harvey out as well (and he probably pitched hurt before then). Yoenis Cespedes was hurt for a long time as well, and when he came back Juan Lagares got hurt.

There are also grouses about how Terry Collins is using Michael Conforto and how he’s using the ‘pen. (Josh Smoker has the second most bullpen IP – Josh Smoker…) Jacob deGrom has regressed, and Robert Gsellman may have been called up too early (for necessity’s sake). They give up a lot of runs, and their offense isn’t that great. This may be a lost season in Flushing.

The NL West has two bad teams, sure, and the NL Central is all kinds of mediocre, but the NL East is something. I mean, nothing.

Yeah, they’re nothing.



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