The most likely blockade to Atlanta Braves’ NL East greatness is finally reaching full form. Are the New York Mets for real?
The Atlanta Braves sit firmly atop the NL East, at least for now. At 18-9, they are eight games ahead of the lowly Washington Nationals, four ahead of the slow-starting Phillies, three ahead of the Marlins, and three ahead of the New York Mets.
If any team in this division stands in the way of Atlanta’s hopes of greatness this season, it’s sure to be the last of that group. The Mets spent heavily this offseason with the intention of building a team that could win a World Series.
These two teams could not be more dissimilar. The Mets have opened up the checkbooks to go out and get talent, and the Braves have developed players internally and signed them to team-friendly deals to keep payroll low.
The Mets have $346 million in payroll this year. The Braves have $201 million. Both are above the league average, but let’s be honest, the Mets are pulling that number way up, spending only more than the other NYC-located team… by $66 million.
We’re about to find out exactly how formidable a foe the Mets will be for the Braves.
New York Mets finally rolling out full pitching rotation soon
The Mets are finally getting both crown jewels of their starting rotation healthy and eligible to play at one time. Max Scherzer is getting a Wednesday start in the Mets’ next series, and Justin Verlander is making his Mets debut on Thursday after rehabbing with the Binghamton Rail Riders last week. Verlander suffered a teres major (a skeletal muscle in the chest/bicep area) strain in Spring Training.
This marks the real start of the season for New York, who have been waiting to get their full rotation out there.
The Braves won’t face the Mets until June 7, and then again in mid-August. But they’ll likely need to keep winning to pace with the Mets and keep on track for that division lead now that they have a two-ace rotation.
Atlanta, on the other hand, is winning now, and though there are some dud spots like Marcell Ozuna, they have a vast range of options to turn to in an effort to sustain their success.
While the Mets might have talent and an abundant payroll to point to, spending money doesn’t just flip a switch toward wins. There has to be cohesion, and a synchronized tune played between the pieces. The Braves have that. Do the Mets?