There are things in life that we dread. Or at minimum, we don’t look forward to doing. And sometimes, it’s just a small part of something we REALLY like/want to do. In your mind, you “psyc yourself up” for a really bad experience. You prepare for the worst and hope that it doesn’t go sideways. But sometimes it goes as planned. Sometimes, it runs smooth like butter. Sometimes, it REALLY is “that easy”. You prepare for a presentation and it goes so much better than you thought. You go to the doctor to get vaccinated and you say, “that shot wasn’t too bad at all”. You take a road trip and it doesn’t seem to take as long as you thought it would. It truly is a great feeling. I know it’s early and I TOTALLY remember September of 2011, but I have a feeling the Atlanta Braves might be running away with the NL East pretty soon. And it might JUST be “that easy”. I understand they just took first place yesterday. I know the Mets are playing well, the Marlins are streaking, the Phillies are the defending champs and the Nationals have been the first place team for most of 2012. Please, hear me out.
New York Mets – The Mets are playing well right now. David Wright is hitting .400 as of today. Johan Santana looks like the Santana of a few years ago (like Minnesota Twins Santana). They’re playing .500 ball on the road and they didn’t look too shabby in their games against the Bravos. But when your second best offensive player is Kirk Nieuwenhuis and your second best pitcher is R.A. Dickey (no offense to Dickey, I think he’s a solid pitcher), the success just can’t last. They’ll eventually get fatigued from changing into one of their 14 different uniform combinations and fade soon enough. Remember, they were in good shape until All-Star break last year.
Washington Nationals – I know their pitching has been lights out (I have Ross Detwiler on my fantasy team). I know they have ESPN’s new golden boy, Bryce Harper. And they have ESPN’s old golden boy, Stephen Strasburg. But Jayson Werth is out for the next 8 weeks. Their catcher, Wilson Ramos (who is awesome by the way), is out for the season. Strasburg is on a 160 inning watch list this year. And their best offensive player NOW is Adam LaRoche. Yep, Adam LaRoche. So while the start of 2012 looks good for the Nats, they’ll go back to being the “Natinals” (uniform joke) by August.
Miami Marlins – BOOM goes the dynamite! I don’t care what they are doing, how they are playing, the talent they have on the roster or the experience of the manager. This team is Plutonium 239. They are one day away from Jose Reyes doing something stupid. One game away from Hanley Ramirez going postal. One press conference away from Ozzie Guillen killing any mojo the team has. And Josh Johnson looks more like Josh Groban in 2012. So I have NEVER worried about the Marlins this year. They don’t need anybody to beat them. They’ll do it to themselves.
Philadelphia Phillies – WOW. This team looks bad. Really bad. And I don’t think it’s going to get better this year. Even when Ryan Howard and Chase Utley come back, who knows what they’ll get from them. The “world greatest rotation” lasted ONE year and came up empty. I’ve never been sold on Cliff Lee being anything but the pitching equivalent of Larry Brown. ESPN has moved on from Roy Halladay to Justin Verlander as their “slurp-able” pitcher in MLB. And I’m not scared of Shane Victorino anymore. All good news coming out of Philly these days.
The Atlanta Braves have a long way to go. And we know it can go south REALLY quick. This year just has THAT feeling. The way the Braves are playing just screams of playoff baseball. Every game that I felt last year they would have lost, they are winning. They are winning with the bats and I LOVE that. They have some slight issues in the bullpen, but I give Fredi Gonzalez credit. His use of the bullpen has been different and it’s been working for the most part. So don’t hold me to it, because anything can happen. But I feel better about these Braves then I’ve felt about any roster in the past 10 years.
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