MLB first quarter review: National League

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May 18, 2017 by squish

Noah Syndergaard (left), Jacob deGrom (middle left), Zack Wheeler (middle right) and Matt Harvey (right) are part of a New York Mets pitching staff that has allowed the most runs in the league this season. (Courtesy of sny.tv)

Written by Alex Salucco

The 2017 MLB season has shown us what we already know: baseball is unpredictable. Injuries are abundant, young prospects are producing and it is clear that some teams just flat-out suck.

Hot starts and slow beginnings have swept the league this season. Will the Cubs heat up? Will the Rockies cool off? Let’s take a look at the National League landscape and which teams are real and which teams are phonies.

NL East – The Nats have a commanding lead in the east and it’s only going to grow. Five position starters are batting over .300, three of them have over 30 RBIs and Bryce Harper and Ryan Zimmerman have 13 yimbos apiece, an average over .380 and an OPS over 1.2.

Although the bullpen is struggling, the starters are picking up the slack. Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg are both pitching at an elite level but the surprise of Gio Gonzalez returning to form has been the biggest help. The southpaw has posted a 3-1 record with and ERA in the mid-twos.

Miami has shown us nothing, the Braves are rebuilding and Philly’s young core has struggled this season. This was expected, but is it time for us to talk about the Mets missing their window with the stable of young arms they have?

Jacob deGrom is on pace to set career lows in ERA, WHIP, Walks, hits, runs and home runs, Noah Syndergaard got injured because he refused to take an MRI and Matt Harvey is about as useful as…well, you know.

Even being tenth in runs scored across the majors can’t save this staff.

NL Central – Chicago will get hot, the Cards are for real and the Brew Crew will be sellers at the trade deadline.

I’m not worried about my Cubs. People calling for Schwarber to be sent down are the dumbest people in existence. Is he batting under .200? Yes, but his OBP is .140 higher and he is also coming off of an ACL tear. Oh yeah, and he has played just over 100 MLB games in his career. Calm down.

The only regular position starter for the North Side Nine batting over .300 is Kris Bryant. As Theo Epstein said, all that means is that four or five guys are going to get hot at the same time. Let’s not hit the panic button so hard. It’s been 40 games, bruh.

St. Louis is here to stay, even with an offense that is not putting up runs, they have allowed the fifth least runs in the league. The back-end of their rotation has produced with Lance Lynn, Michael Wacha and Mike Leake having bounce-back seasons.

With an ERA around 2.00 and a WHIP just under 1.00, Mike Leake is showing Cardinal fans that he was worth the money after a disappointing season a year ago.

I don’t have much to say about the Brewers besides they’re offense is killing it and it doesn’t matter because their pitching is horrid. They don’t have a farm system good enough to make a deal at the deadline and I wouldn’t be surprised if they deal Ryan Braun.

NL West – I hate to say it, but I think the Giants are out of it. After Mad Bum went down it became clear that they are not the same team without him. But, two playoff teams will come out of this division…and the Dodgers might not be one of them.

I say that, but I don’t believe it. The team is too talented from top-to-bottom and if the Dodgers don’t kill it in the regular season and then blow it in the playoffs then did we even have an MLB season?

Even if the D-backs are still in it, they plan on trading Greinke because of that ridiculous contract. You can agree or disagree with it, but that’s their plan. I don’t think they’ll be in it, though. Their offense is clicking right now but overall they are a below average team that should sell high on a few guys while they can.

I’m all in on the Rockies and I don’t care if they have to pitch 81 games at Coors Field…they get to hit there 81 times also.

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