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Around the NL East: Mets squander chance to bury Nats

Aug 18, 2015, 1:40 PM EDT

Aug 16, 2015; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets right fielder Curtis Granderson (3) reacts after striking out against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the eighth inning at Citi Field. The Pirates defeated the Mets 8-1. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

ATLANTA BRAVES 

The Braves are on the outside looking in when it comes to the postseason, so the next month and a half we’ll take stock of how their rebuilding process is going. As the club heads to San Diego, one surprise bright spot will take center stage for Atlanta in Cameron Maybin. At the time of the trade that sent Craig Kimbrel to the Padres and Maybin, Carlos Quentin and others to Atlanta, most believed the 28-year-old center fielder was an afterthought in the deal. Instead, he’s thrived in his new home, setting career highs for home runs (10) and RBI (53) while maintaining a .280 batting average. Seeing Maybin succeed has to make the Padres’ disappointing season hurt that much more.

MIAMI MARLINS   

The Marlins got good news (something they surely need) when manager Dan Jennings said recently that slugger Giancarlo Stanton has begun hitting for the first time since being placed on the disabled list on June 27 with a fractured hand. It’s not certain when Stanton will return, but the sooner the better. Miami is just about out of positive developments this season as they’re fighting to avoid the distinction of having the worst record in baseball. And to no one’s surprise, it looks like they’ll be in the market for a new manager come the end of the season, too.

NEW YORK METS 

As weird as it is to say, if the Nationals wind up winning the division, they may look back on this past weekend as a reason why. No, nothing about their dreadful west coast swing is a sign that things will turn around soon. But the Mets, who had a solid 4 1/2 game lead in the division, squandered an opportunity to put the nail in Washington’s coffin after being swept by the Pirates. They could have very well been up 5 1/2 or 6 1/2 games by this point, which would have made the Nats’ outlook even more bleak.

The losing skids of each club just goes to show you how mediocre the NL East has been all season long. Whoever winds up winning this division will likely have the worst record in the NL of any playoff team, and whoever that finishes second has little-to-no shot at a wild card spot.

PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES 

With Cole Hamels being dealt to the Rangers, trade rumors have now been swirling around Chase Utley as contenders are trying to find a veteran bat before the waiver deadline. But GM Ruben Amaro Jr. told reporters recently that Utley is unlikely to be dealt, despite the buzz out there that he’d be moved. Of course, that doesn’t preclude him from being traded in the offseason.

  1. unterp - Aug 18, 2015 at 1:42 PM

    I’m pulling for the Nationals; and I think W/L record for pitchers is the most important stat, so there’s that…

  2. Muddy Ruel - Aug 18, 2015 at 2:11 PM

    Speaking of squandering … Last week the Nats signed Tony Campana, released by the White Sox in March, to a minor league contract through 2016. The report says that Campana blew out his knee in the spring but the Nats are hoping to get pinch runner value and/or extra OF value in 2016. Only, no big deal, right? What the heck. …. But it strikes me that Rizzo and company have a long history of signing the wounded, guys with a history of getting hurt. Span, Rendon, Werth. Or draft people who are hurt so they’re available when the Nats draft — Fedde, Giolitto. Or who get hurt while playing for the Nats — Purke, Zimmerman, Zimmerman, Zimmerman, Zimmerman and Zimmermann, Strasburg, Harper, Ramos, McLouth, Werth, Werth. And some who take a long time with an injury. I’m thinking Zimmerman’s plantar fasciitis and Span’s “core” therapy. Hey, Denard, were you working your core in November and December and January? You’re on the Lerner clock right now … for $9M … . Whoa. Okay, I put down the coffee. Anyway, am I on to something here? One of the GM analysts on MLB channel said a month ago or so that players who get hurt tend to get hurt more. I’m wondering if the Nats are any more likely to seek the wounded that others.

    • scnatsfan - Aug 18, 2015 at 2:43 PM

      I think the positive thing about Campana is he was signed for next year too unless I’m mistaken; they might have signed him now to let him ease back in and have a potential backup next year should Span leave. As far as the Nats history and injured players, I’d be willing to bet every team tries to catch lightining in a bottle with these players, although the draft of Gioloto, Fedde and Rendon, players who fell with injury concerns, shows the front office is willing to waste a year getting guys healthy to get guys with higher upsides.

  3. nats106 - Aug 18, 2015 at 2:40 PM

    Wonder what the Las Vegas odds are that the NL East Champion has a losing record.

  4. NatsLady - Aug 18, 2015 at 2:58 PM

    Good, if brief, segment on Jordan Zimmerman on the Rundown (MLBNetwor). Basically, JZ throws 38% of his pitches in the top of the zone. That is Car-Go’s WEAKEST area. Conclusion, JZ has the capability to beat Car-Go “if he uses it.” (Heat maps shown).

    So I checked the BvP: Car-Go has had 15 ABs against JZimm and is hitting .133 with no homers. Some other guys are doing better, for example Arenado and LeMahieu. I don’t use BvP very much because of small sample size, but if JZimm can shut down Car-Go that’s a good start.

  5. micksback1 - Aug 18, 2015 at 2:59 PM

    I think the 73 Mets won the East with only 82 or 83 wins which was the lowest of any division winner in MLB history?

    I think the Mets will back into the NL championship maybe even at 81-81 or less, which means the Nats may go 76-86 and finish behind Braves as I predict now.

    • jd - Aug 18, 2015 at 4:35 PM

      Mick,

      The problem with putting your predictions out there so confidently is that you look real silly if you are wrong.

      Me,

      I have no idea how things will shake out. That’s why we watch games.

  6. micksback1 - Aug 18, 2015 at 3:02 PM

    BTW: that 73 Mets eam was loaded, they had the talent it just took time for Yogi’s bots to get it going and when they did they upset the Reds who won almst 100 games that year 3-1 to win the NLCS, before losing to the A’s in 7 after blowing a 3-1 lead. that was the year the famous sign “You gotta Believe” appeared at Shea Stadium.

    I loved that Mets team: Seaver, Koosman, McGraw, Staub, Sey hey Willie mays, Buddy Harrelson, etc!!!

    • stoatva - Aug 18, 2015 at 3:47 PM

      Mets will back into the NL championship maybe even at 81-81 or less, which means the Nats may go 76-86

      I think I missed the cause and effect there.

  7. langleyclub - Aug 18, 2015 at 3:58 PM

    The Mets and the Nats remaining schedule is so bad that both teams will finish above .500. The Mets have struggled against good teams, but played well against bad teams. Of the Mets remaining 44 games; only 5, yes 5, (only 3 after tomorrow) are against teams with winning records.

    • therealjohnc - Aug 18, 2015 at 4:19 PM

      And 26 of their 44 remaining games are on the road, where they’ve been terrible (21-34). So there’s that.

      If you take out their head-to-head games, the only real difference between the Nats and Mets remaining schedules is that the Nats play six games against teams over .500 (three each against St. Louis and Baltimore) and the Mets play five (two against Baltimore, three against the Yankees).

      On top of the Mets finishing up with 26 of 44 remaining games on the road, the Nats play 27 of 45 at home – where they’ve actually been pretty good (31-23).

      • bowdenball - Aug 18, 2015 at 4:38 PM

        +1. People keep comparing the remaining records of the teams and leaving out the Home/Road splits, which are a huge deal.

        Another thing that is occasionally mentioned but usually isn’t is the season-closing series at Citi Field. That tightens things up a bit too. The Nats only need to make up 1.5 games over the next six weeks to have a legitimate shot at the division with three days to go. If they closed the season playing other opponents they’d need six games to go their way to make up three games, but with a head to head series you only need three games to go your way to make up three games.

      • langleyclub - Aug 18, 2015 at 5:06 PM

        Not sure that I would call going into Citi with a 3 game deficit as “having a legit shot to win the division”.

        In that scenario, the Nats would need to beat the Mets three in the row on the road (the Nats have a losing road record; the Mets have a winning home record), and we just went through that scenario and the Mets won all three games. Also, sweeping the Mets wouldn’t mean winning the division, but it would result in a one game playoff; so, the Nats would need to win again (4 straight over the Mets and their staff; as an FYI, the Nats have not won 4 straight since June 28 – 42 games ago). Assuming the Nats have a 50/50 shot at beating the Mets in any one game (actually it’s less because the games would be in NY), the odds of the Nats winning the division would be 1 out of 16 or 6.25%. Not that legit.

        To have a legit shot, the Nats need to be tied when they head to NY which would require the Nats to win the series to win the division. Unlikely? Yes. Impossible? No.

      • bowdenball - Aug 18, 2015 at 5:15 PM

        “Legit” in the sense that it would be plausible, as compared to if they were NOT playing each other … in which case the math would be significantly less friendly. It would be 1/128 instead of 1/16.

        For them to have a what I would describe as a reasonable or decent shot they’d have to be within a game going into that final series, which would give them a chance to win it outright with a sweep or to force a playoff game with a series win.

Archives

FINAL NL EAST STANDINGS

WLGB
NEW YORK9072
WASHINGTON83797.0
MIAMI719119.0
ATLANTA679523.0
PHILADELPHIA639927.0

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