“That’s where it starts,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “They’ve always had that potential. Now they’ve got them all back, and they’re healthy and pitching the way they’re capable of. That’s the key. You look at any team’s run and more than likely it’s because the starting pitching has been consistent and getting teams deep into games.”
Washington had its own poor start, yet the Nationals have a case as the most dangerous NL team east of Los Angeles. Like the Mets, their rotation is eye-popping, headed by the three-headed monster of Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg and Patrick Corbin.
Don’t count out the Phillies, who’ve had their share of silliness yet stayed within six games of the Braves. Bryce Harper’s first season hasn’t gone as the team hoped, and the Andrew McCutchen injury was as impactful as any, but the Phillies still have a chance to reach the postseason for the first time since 2011.
The NL East is rounding into form. The Braves took advantage of their circumstances and built a sizable lead. It’s up to them to keep it – and that doesn’t look to be an easy task, even with the team’s recent 4-2 trip to Washington and Philadelphia fresh on the mind.