Philadelphia Phillies must take advantage of National League East collapse, New York Mets losing Max Scherzer and Atlanta Braves
The National League East, touted as one of MLB’s toughest divisions heading into the 2021 season, looked lackluster on May 20.
The first-place New York Mets held a two-game lead over the Philadelphia Phillies, while eventual World Series champion Atlanta Braves sat four games under .500 and sit fourth. square.
A year later, the NL East is in a similar situation. With the Mets’ lead over the second-placed Phillies looming longer than seven games, Philadelphia’s window of opportunity is wide open with 123 games remaining.
The strength of the Mets is their starting pitcher. At the start of the season, their rotation, led by Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer, and supplemented by Chris Bassitt, Tylor Megill and Carlos Carrasco, was one of the strongest in MLB.
But with deGrom’s return schedule from a scapula injury still unknown, with Megill recently placed on injured reserve with right biceps tendonitis, and Scherzer now missing 6-8 weeks with an oblique strain, the Mets seem much less threatening.
The Mets have had the advantage over the Phillies in the all-season series so far. Philadelphia is 3-6 against New York, after claiming a miraculous no-hitter 8-7 combined victory in the ninth inning against them.
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However, the offenses of the Phillies and Mets are fairly even. Currently, Philadelphia has the fifth-highest OPS in the league at .729, with the Mets in 10th at .715, the Miami Marlins at .708 and the Braves below the league average at .684.
Philadelphia’s offense, when at full strength with Bryce Harper in their lineup, is a deadly weapon. The Phillies’ starting pitch did well, but their bullpen – which continues to be their biggest weakness – inflated their team’s ERA to 3.91, which is below the league average. league.
With the Mets in rapid decline and the Braves barely scraped of wins, the Phillies have a chance to seriously catch up in the division through the remainder of May, June and early July. The month-and-a-half stretch might be the best chance the Phillies have to take advantage of.
As shown on their recent trip to the West Coast, the Phillies have what it takes to overcome bad pitches and compete with “good” teams; They went 5-2 and scored 50 points against the Seattle Mariners and Los Angeles Dodgers.
Although Philadelphia has to find out…and fast. The secret ingredient to success that the Phillies have failed to find in recent seasons is consistency. If they find some consistency and make a few key moves at the trade deadline in August, Philadelphia has a shot at being the Atlanta Braves this season taking advantage of a crumbling division and finally breaking their drought in playoffs.
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