Washington Nationals: How Does Starting Pitching Rank In The NL East?

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Sep 7, 2016; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher Max Scherzer (31) looks on from the dugout during the second inning against the Atlanta Braves at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 7, 2016; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher Max Scherzer (31) looks on from the dugout during the second inning against the Atlanta Braves at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports /
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MLB: Philadelphia Phillies at New York Mets
MLB: Philadelphia Phillies at New York Mets /

1) NEW YORK METS

What tips the balance towards the New York Mets is age. If healthy, their oldest starter is 28.

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Like the Nats, health is the big issue. Matt Harvey returns from a disastrous 2016 ending with thoracic outlet syndrome. Zack Wheeler returns from his Tommy John injury while Robert Gsellman and Steven Matz are both expected to be ready Opening Day.

Although Colon departed for Atlanta, the Mets still have Noah Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom at the front of the rotation. Syndergaard’s stuff is as filthy as Scherzer’s while the ERA is lower. Both feature WHIP’s around 1.200 and pinpoint control. At spacious Citi Field, the ball rarely leaves the yard fair.

The true key is staying healthy. Matz has had a hard time avoiding the disabled list and deGrom tossed 24 out of 33 starts. Why the Mets earn the top spot is depth. Add Seth Lugo to the mix and you have a staff of pitchers capable of posting ERA’s under four.

You really do not think a healthy Harvey will boast a 4.86 ERA again, do you?

While the offense is riddled with questions and the bullpen is thin, the starting rotation is the Mets strength. With seven pitchers under 30 capable of shutting teams down multiple times through the lineup, New York is the strongest threat to Washington in the division. Syndergaard, at 24, might already be among the best starters in the game.

They can win this division alone, a claim no other staff can make starting the season.

Next: Where Does Murphy Rank In NL East At 2B?

That is our take, what’s yours? Tell us in the comments below.

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