By: Matthew Terry
No one thought this division was supposed to be good. Most major baseball writers and analysts thought the Washington Nationals were going to completely run away with the division. The star-loaded Washington Nationals, with Perpetual MVP Candidate Bryce Harper, breakout star Anthony Rendon, ace Stephen Strasberg and to top it all off, they went out and signed 2013 American League Cy Young Winner, now 3-time All-Star and Mizzou Alum Max Scherzer to a lucrative 7-year/$210 million deal. It would take something completely unexpected for this team to miss the playoffs. And guess what? With 13 games to go, they’re (as of September 20, 2015) 6.5 games back of the division-leading New York Mets.
You read that correctly, the Mets are leading the division at 84-64, the second-worst record of any division leader (the worst is the AL West leading Texas Rangers at 80-69). The Mets, however, haven’t been in the headlines for their mission to clinch their first playoff appearance since 2006, they’ve been in the headlines because star pitcher Matt Harvey leaked that he had an innings limit and may not pitch in the playoffs.
But back to the Nationals, this was supposed to be their year! When Scherzer was signed, Perpetual MVP Bryce Harper said, “Where’s my [World Series] ring?” Well, currently Bryce it’s not within your grasp. And, most likely, it won’t be for the foreseeable future. The Nationals have Harper who’s playing like an actual MVP candidate for once, and Scherzer who could possibly win his 2nd Cy Young in 3 years (although I know a duo from L.A. that have something to say about that), and they’re still gonna miss the playoffs. Nothing can go right for the Washington Nationals, and it baffles me that the media constantly picks them to go all the way when they haven’t won a playoff series 1981 when they were still the Montreal Expos and their best player was Andre Dawson. To put that in perspective, the last time the Nationals won a playoff series, Ronald Reagan was inaugurated, Muhammad Ali retired, and the FIRST Indiana Jones movie came out.
Now, don’t forget, there are three other teams in this division. Although the way they’ve been playing, most won’t really want to remember that. The 3rd place Miami Marlins, currently sitting at a respectable 64-86 (keep in mind, I said 3rd place), would either within 1/2 game for last or outright last in EVERY OTHER DIVISION IN THE MLB. The 4th place Atlanta Braves, after starting 5-0, which would be the high point of the season, are now 60-90 and have won three in a row, and they’ve only won three in a row because they placed the last place Philadelphia Phillies, checking in at 56-94, the only MLB yet to reach 56 wins. Three of the six worst teams in Major League Baseball are in the same division, which hasn’t happened since the divisions re-aligned when the Astros joined the AL West in 2012, and even then you still have to go a long way back to find a division as truly awful as the 2015 National League East.