This is proving to be a fun division and there is every indication that it will continue in that direction
The Washington Nationals (14-8) story is only beginning. They are 8-2 at home and 9-3 against sub-.500 clubs. The .226 team batting avg. is the third worst in baseball, but the 2.33 ERA is the best and pitching rules. Stephen Strasburg is 2-0 with a 1.13 ERA. He has thrown 32 innings so far which means he is 20% done with his season. Gio Gonzalez (1.82), Jordan Zimmermann (1-1), Ross Detwiler (1.64) are the other starters with an ERA under 2.00.
The Atlanta Braves (14-9) are off to a good start leading the NL in scoring 116 runs. Michael Bourn (.337) is off to a great start and the team is waiting for Brian McCann (.229) to get rolling. One word of warning based on last season: the Braves starters (4.37) have only thrown 129.2 innings and the pen already is at 71.1 IP (3.15). The starters have to go deeper or we may have 2011 rerun.
The Mets (13-10) are a pleasant surprise and I encourage their fans to enjoy it while they can. The team ERA of 4.30 is just a tad better than their crosstown rivals. Their .268 batting average is fifth best in baseball with David Wright (.389) off to a great start. But it’s the guys you really don’t know a lot about that are so impressive so far: Josh Thole (.317), Ruben Tejada (.299), Daniel Murphy (.298), and especially Kirk Nieuwenhuis (.325).
The Phillies (11-12) had their first sub-.500 April since 2007 but the fact that they are so close considering they only scored 76 runs is impressive. As a team they have a 3.03 ERA, but their starters are 2.77. Their pen has a 3.81 ERA but their closer Jonathan Papelbon has eight saves and a 0.90 ERA and 0.900 WHIP.
The Miami Marlins (8-14) are the Angels of the NL in terms of major disappointment. They have to be concerned about Josh Johnson (0-3) and his 5.34 ERA and Mark Buehrle has a 1-4 record despite a 3.34 ERA. The problem with this team is that they have scored just 73 runs, the second fewest in baseball. They are hitting an unimpressive .228 with Hanley Ramirez hitting .207 and Jose Reyes hitting .220 they each only have four steals but as my dad always said, “you can’t steal first base.”