Oct 01, 2012; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals mascot Screech and fans celebrate after clinching the National League east title at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Going into All-Star Break, NL East Heating Up


With the first half of the 2014 season officially in the books, the standings in the National League East are finally starting to resemble what was predicted before the season began. The Nationals and Braves are battling it out for first place, while the Mets, Marlins and Phillies have, at least for now, faded out of contention.

These are the standings in the NL East going into the All-Star break:

 

East W L PCT GB
Washington 51 42 .548   -
Atlanta 52 43 .547   -
NY Mets 45 50 .474  7.0
Miami 44 50 .468  7.5
Philadelphia 42 53 .442 10.0

 

It should be a heated battle between the Nationals and the Braves for the division title down the stretch and barring a second-half surge from the Mets, Marlins or Phillies, those two could further separate themselves from the pack and battle it out until the very end.

As they stand right now, the Nationals and Braves are tied for first place in the NL East and both are tied with the Giants for first place in the NL Wild Card race as well.

After a May slump for both the Nationals and the Braves that saw their records hover around the .500 mark, both teams have improved substantially and have reestablished themselves as the teams to beat in the National League, just as many predicted before the season began. The Nationals and the Braves are one game back of the Dodgers for the best record in the National League and seven games back of the Athletics for the best record in baseball.

These are the standings for the best record in the National League going into the All-Star Break:

 

NATIONAL W L PCT GB
LA Dodgers 54 43 .557 -
Milwaukee 53 43 .552 .5
Washington 51 42 .548 1
San Francisco 52 43 .547 1
Atlanta 52 43 .547 1
St. Louis 52 44 .542 1.5
Cincinnati 51 44 .537 2
Pittsburgh 49 46 .516 4
NY Mets 45 50 .474 8
Miami 44 50 .468 8.5
Philadelphia 42 53 .442 11
San Diego 41 54 .432 12
Chicago Cubs 40 54 .426 12.5
Colorado 40 55 .421 13
Arizona 40 56 .417 13.5

 

While both teams look impressive in the standings, the head-to-head battle between the Nationals and the Braves has been rough for Washington as Atlanta has taken seven out of the 10 games the teams have played against each other this season. The good news for the Nationals is that they are finally healthy and have yet to play the Braves at full strength. If the Nationals want to earn back the NL East title, they’ll need to reverse this season’s trend in their nine remaining match ups against the Braves, six of which are scheduled for September — a pivotal month for all contenders.

But, like all things in baseball, it’s impossible to predict how the rest of the season will play out. Injuries, losing streaks and the looming non-waiver trade deadline could all have a significant impact on the division standings. There’s still a lot of baseball to be played and the scope of the division could change between now and the end of September.

The Mets appear to be onto something as they’ve won three games in a row and eight of their last 10, three of which came against the Braves. But, for all we know, the Marlins and Phillies could be the teams battling it out for the division title come September. Extremely unlikely? Sure. Impossible? No.

For this reason, it’s essential that we keep an eye out on news not only from the Braves, but also from the Mets, Marlins and Phillies. We’ll continue to monitor what is shaping out to be a heated battle between the Nationals the Braves down the stretch, but for now, checkout some NL East articles from around FanSided below and enjoy the All-Star Break, because right now, it sure looks like it’s going to be a stressful second half.

Atlanta Braves

Tomahawk Take – Atlanta Braves Trade Rumors: A Mystery Scout Luring In David Price?

Tomahawk Take — The Dann Uggla Situation

New York Mets

Rising Apple – Jon Niese threw from mound, likely to return in Seattle

Rising Apple – David Wright received planned cortisone shot on Sunday

Miami Marlins

Marlin Maniac – Miami needs not to take Stanton for granted after LeBron James sudden departure

Marlin Maniac – Revisiting the Blockbuster with the Toronto Blue Jays

Philadelphia Phillies

That Ball’s Outta Here – Jonathan Papelbon is a huge jerk for wanting the same thing as Philadelphia Phillies fans

That Ball’s Outta Here – TBOH Debate: Philadelphia Phillies at the trade deadline and Chase Utley in the All-Star game

Tags: Featured NL East Popular Washington Nationals