Three straight late-inning rallies by the New York Mets have shaken up the odds to win the National League East.
The Philadelphia Phillies, who were overwhelming favorites to win the division before the season began, have lost three straight home games to New York and are just 1-5 in their last six contests. That skid has sunk the Phillies to the bottom of the NL East at 14-18 while the Mets are just a half game off the lead at 18-13.
The current standings are nearly a negative image of the opening MLB futures odds for the division.
The Mets, who are the biggest surprise to start the year, were massive
+7,000 long shots to win the NL East and have been trimmed to +3,200
with their recent tear. New York has won five in a row thanks to an
explosive offense that totaled 22 runs in the series sweep of
Philadelphia and is hitting a collective .264 on the year.
The Washington Nationals, who were priced at +1,200 back in March, share the lead in the NL East at 18-12 and are priced at +225 to remain there come the end of the season. Washington has the most promising pitching staff in the majors but its offense took a hit with a wrist injury to slugger Jayson Werth.
The Atlanta Braves, who entered 2012 at +900 to win the division, are currently tied for first at 19-13 and sit at +200 to claim the division title in the fall. Atlanta has leaned on its offense through the first month of the schedule, averaging 5.19 runs a night – fifth most in the majors.
The Miami Marlins were the most-hyped team heading into 2012, thanks to a new name, new stadium and some new faces acquired in big free-agent signings. Miami, which was +800 to win the NL East in March, stumbled out of the gate but has since righted the ship. The Marlins have won eight of their last nine to move above .500 (16-15) and are currently priced at +700 to win the division.
The Phillies have been hampered by injuries to their two biggest bats – Ryan Howard and Chase Utley – who have yet to take a swing in the regular season. Books still respect their stellar pitching staff, but a shaky bullpen has been Philadelphia’s undoing in recent losses. The five-time defending NL East champs opened the year at -400 to win their sixth division crown but can be had for as low as +188 heading into the weekend.
We know we're only 32 or so games into the season, but, just for fun, here's a snapshot of each team projected final record and the Vegas season win totals:
Washington Nationals: Current record 18-12. Projected record: 97-65. March Vegas season win total: 82.5
Atlanta Braves: Current record: 19-13. Projected record: 96-66. Season win total: 87.5
New York Mets: Current record: 18-13. Projected record: 94-68. Season win total: 70.5
Miami Marlins: Current record: 16-15. Projected record: 84-78. Season win total: 84.5
Philadelphia Phillies: Current record: 14-18. Projected record: 71-91. Season win totals: 92.5