The New York Mets made a big splash at the MLB trade deadline as they acquired power hitter Yoenis Cespedes from the Detroit Tigers as well as getting bullpen help with the addition of Tyler Clippard. These additions were considered ones that could potentially overtake the Washington Nationals in the National League East and make a serious run at the playoffs. Well the Mets, as of now, are the leaders in the division as they have surpassed the Nats with two months of regular season baseball to be played. Last weekend the Mets hosted the Nats for a three-game series at Citi Field. The Mets were able to sweep Washington, thus moving into a tie atop the division.
The Nationals are set to host the Colorado Rockies this weekend for a three-game stint, while the Mets travel to Tampa Bay for a three-game series against the Rays. Washington currently trails New York by 1.5 games. The Nats are 4-6 in their previous 10 games, while the Mets are 8-2 in their last 10. For both teams, these series are ones that should be won, if not swept. The Rockies are sitting in last place in the NL West at 45-61, while the Rays are currently in fourth place in the AL East at 54-55. Washington split a four-game series with the Arizona Diamondbacks, who are 52-55 and third in the NL West, after being swept in the Big Apple. Washington is hoping that a returning Stephen Strasburg will be able to help them down the stretch. He returns Saturday after not pitching since July 4 and being put on the disabled list after suffering an oblique injury. With Strasburg returning, Doug Fister will move to the bullpen, where he could help this team get to new closer Jonathan Papelbon, who the Nationals acquired from the Philadelphia Phillies at the trade deadline.
The Mets have the baseball world buzzing as it has been a while since we have seen them contend for the playoffs. Before the season, the front runner to win this division was Washington, but now that’s not a for-sure thing. The Mets have a ton of momentum and excellent pitching. While Washington has good pitching of their own, they are on the wrong end of the momentum train. The Nationals want to get back on the right track this weekend against Colorado before heading out west for a tough 10-game road trip, with series against the Los Angeles Dodgers and the reigning, defending World Series champion, San Francisco Giants, before concluding with three against the Rockies. The Mets will start a seven-game home stand against the Rockies and Pittsburgh Pirates. These two teams will square off for one more series against one another in September, when the Nats play host to the Mets for three games.
Nobody thought that this division would be much of a discussion come August, but the Mets are proving a ton of people wrong. The Nationals still have plenty of time to gain back control of this division, but the Mets are not going to make that task easy whatsoever. The Nationals are limping into this series against the Rockies in hopes to get back on the right track. Teams like the Rockies are teams the Nationals cannot afford to lose to down the stretch. Buckle up, because we are in for a fun ride in the NL East between these two teams.