There are only about seven weeks left in the Major League Baseball season, and three races are all but decided. Two of the division races are likely not going to be decided until the final games of the season, and one of those is the NL East. At the time this article was written, the New York Mets held a 3.5 game edge over the Atlanta Braves with Atlanta surging, winning their last eight games, including the first two games of a three-game series between the clubs. Plus, the Philadelphia Phillies are still lurking out there, just 9.5 games behind.
All three of these teams would make the playoffs if the season were to end today, with New York winning the division and Atlanta and Philadelphia entering as wildcards. That may lead some to believe that the competitiveness between these teams may diminish knowing that they all are likely to make the postseason, but bragging rights is on the line. These teams want to win the division, so it is going to be an exciting chase over the next seven weeks.
Odds To Win The NL East
The New York Mets (-500) enter as the presumptive favorites and with good reason. Not only does this team have the top record in the division, but they have pitched very well since the All-Star break, posting a 3.15 ERA, third best overall. That has helped them go 17-7 since the break, the second-best record in baseball overall. Adding fuel to the fire is that New York is the best hitting team since the break, posting a .278 batting average with 24 home runs in 24 games. They have scored 116 runs during that span, an average of 4.83 runs per game. This team looks destined to win the division.
However, Atlanta is not going out quietly. The Atlanta Braves (+360) are 16-8 since the break, posting a 3.44 ERA. Their offensive numbers are even more impressive, hitting .268 with 35 home runs and 129 runs scored, an average of 5.38 runs per game. The pitching staff for the Braves is clearly not as good as that of the Mets, however, this is one of the best offenses in the game, and they have an MVP candidate in Austin Riley. Pete Alonso is an MVP candidate for the Mets, so both players will be fighting to give their team the division title while also helping their MVP chances.
The Philadelphia Phillies (+9000) may only be 9.5 games out at the time this article was written, but that is a lot of games to make up on both the Mets and the Braves, especially considering that all three teams are hot. Philadelphia is 16-9 since the All-Star break, posting a 3.74 ERA, and all that got them was 1.5 games further behind New York and 0.5 games further behind Atlanta. It is tough to make up any games when the two teams ahead of you refuse to lose, and Philadelphia may simply focus on trying to secure their spot in the wildcard race.
The Miami Marlins (+80,000) and Washington Nationals (+100,000) are all but eliminated. Miami is 23.0 games out while Washington is 36.5 out. There is no way either one of these teams is going to jump over all three of the top contenders.
While oddsmakers have the Mets winning the division, do not be surprised if Atlanta creeps in there.