Braves Vault Mets in Odds to Win NL East

New York Yankees v New York Mets
New York Yankees v New York Mets / Rich Schultz/GettyImages

The National League East enters the 2022 season as the division that has done the most renovating overall. Every team in the NL East made at least one major addition to their team, some more than just one. This is evidenced by glancing at the season win totals for these teams. The Mets, for example, are expected to win 87.5 games this year according to WynnBet. That is a 10 win spike from their 77-85 win year in 2021. The Phillies too, are expected to win 86.5 after an 82-80 year. 

The only team in the NL East to have a winning season last year was the Braves at 88-73. But, even their win total has jumped and is sitting at 89.5 wins. 

The Braves' projections are noteworthy because they just jumped the Mets for the highest expected win total in the division at 89.5. This is due in large part to two major injuries that the Mets are dealing with. The injuries themselves aren’t the big issue, but rather the two players that are dealing with them. Their projected wins have suffered as a result.

First off, Max Scherzer was scratched from a recent start due to hamstring issues that have been nagging him. He missed what would have been his last spring training start on Saturday. This leaves a lot of questions about the health of this rotation as the Mets prepare to break camp and start the regular season this week. While losing Scherzer on opening day would be a big deal, their other injury issue is much more significant. 

Just a day after the news broke about Scherzer, starter Jacob deGrom broke. He was diagnosed with a stress reaction in his right scapula. Basically, his shoulder is inflamed. Unfortunately, the two-time Cy Young Award winner will be shut down completely for up to four weeks before being re-evaluated. He could very well miss two months before returning. And that is not taking into account any setbacks in his recovery. 

As of right now, we have no idea who will be starting for the Mets on opening day. deGrom is a definite no-go, but Scherzer’s status is also up in the air right now. The 37-year-old Scherzer is scheduled to throw a side on Tuesday that will determine the next step in his recovery. If Scherzer does start, it will be against his former team, the Washington Nationals. 

With the bad news coming out of Queens, it’s no wonder the Mets have lost some of their luster in the eyes of the bookmakers. I think they were already being looked at through rose-colored glasses in terms of season wins and it wouldn’t surprise me to see them fall well below this mark again. Especially if both deGrom and Scherzer are forced to miss any significant chunk of time.