NL East: Down the Stretch They Come

September 1, 2009 by  
Filed under Fan News

If anyone on Apr. 1 would have said to me that on Sep. 1 that the Phillies would be leading the NL East by seven or more games, I would have said, “Wow, I knew they were going to be good but ahead by 7, No way”.

If, on Apr. 1, someone said to me the Braves and Marlins would be battling it out for second in the east and fighting for a Wild Card spot, I would have said, “Wow, both their pitching staffs must have held up pretty well.”

Finally if someone told me that the Mets would be about 15 games below .500, in fourth place, and completely out of the race, I would have said, “What the frack, did everyone get injured?”

That brings us to Sep. 1 and, for the first time in a few years, there is little uncertainty about the National League East.

The Phillies have been nothing short of brilliant.  Despite early season struggles at home and much inconsistency on the part of their staring rotation, they have met each challenge and have come through like the champions they are.  (Boy, did that hurt)

The acquisitions of Cliff Lee and Pedro Martinez in August have been an outstanding moves.  All they’ve done is win six out of seven games and, with a month to go, they should probably win an additional six.

They have to be the favorites going into the postseason despite the Cardinals’ surge and the late heroics by the Giants and the Rockies.

Their biggest concern will be who will start Game 3 of the NLDS—Joe Blanton or J.A. Haap.

To me it looks like another parade on Broad Street, and me sending pictures of Vegas Rich draped in Phillies gear to every Phillies writer on the BR.  Oye.

The Atlanta Braves have surprised me more than any other team in the division.  I knew their pitching would be good, but I didn’t expect the consistency that they have shown.  I was not a huge Derek Lowe fan and I’m still not sure he deserved a four-year deal, but this year he has been vintage Lowe.

Their bats have kept them from getting any closer to the Phillies than they’re ever going to be.  They need a boomer and I was surprised that they didn’t try to get one before the trade deadline.

If they plan to be in the 2010 race, they certainly will need to address that concern.  I can certainly see them making a huge run at Matt Holiday.  That, in of itself, should tighten the race in 2010.

The Marlins are always an intriguing team.  They are like the David Copperfield of the MLB.  They are always in the race with a payroll somewhat less than the daily take by the Las Vegas casinos.

I don’t see the usual fire sale at the end of this year simply because, with a new stadium on the way, there will be more money available to keep their budding stars.  Their young staff is impressive and it certainly doesn’t hurt to have the number two player in all of baseball roaming the infield for the fish.

Watch out for the Washington Nationals.  Not this year for sure, and probably not for the next two years either, but expect an increase of wins over the next three years.  This is a franchise that has found it’s leadership and is definitely headed in the right direction.  Expect a playoff run from them by 2012.

Finally, my beloved Mets.  I have spent the entire season trying to look beyond the injuries because they are a part of the game.  But, what those injuries have done is expose this team’s vital organs and they are failing at an alarming rate.  Real, quick, drastic change needs to take place at the end of this season.

Omar and his sidekick Jerry need to go.  The Mets need to bring back Bobby Valentine and give him complete control over player selection.  I could go on for hours on this, but I’ve done it already often enough this year, and now all we can do is wait for next year.


Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

Speak Your Mind

Tell us what you're thinking...