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MLB - US Sports: Who will win the NL East?

With the New York Mets holding a three-game lead over Atlanta in the National League East, are the Braves about to relinquish their hold on the Division over the past four seasons?

As for the other sides in the NL East, the Philadelphia Phillies, who are +3500 win it, are battling for a Wild Card place, and even the Miami Marlins, who are huge +35000 shots in the same market, are only five games back from a WC position.

The Washington Nationals are part of a huge rebuild and are probably about to lose their biggest star in Juan Soto, they may not be a team challenging for postseason glory for a number of years yet.

Mets set an unwanted record

Mind you, we said this last year as well. At the All-Star break, the Mets held a four-game lead over the third-placed Braves.

New York, who are -240 to win the NL East, managed to implode in the second half of the season as Atlanta overtook them, even without their superstar Ronald Acuna Jr, who on the July 10th had landed awkwardly at Marlins Park and tore his ACL.

The Braves went on to win the Division by 6.5 games over the Philadelphia Phillies, the Mets finished third with a losing record (77-85) and set a Major League Baseball record by spending the most days in first place (103) only to finish with a losing record.

This stunning reversal, probably attributed to the firing of manager Luis Rojas.

Injuries and out-of form batting talent

Losing Jacob deGrom was a huge factor, there is no doubt about that. deGrom was perhaps having his best season on record before getting hurt. Another was the inconsistent bats, particularly Francisco Lindor and Michael Conforto.

This year has been different though for the Mets, although they held a 10.5 lead on the June 1st, it's been whittled down to just half a game last week, the Mets have held on against the Braves.

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The two sides meet nine times alone in the month of August. There is a five-game series between the two sides starting on the 4th August and a four-game series later on in the month, which may give us a clue as to who is in line to win the NL East.

The Braves, +175 to win the NL East, could point to that Mets collapse and be ahead when they have finished the series. However, this is a different Mets team to last year.

One step further

The Mets last won the Division in 2015 on their way to winning the National League pennant, before losing to the Kansas City Royals in the World Series.

The Braves, however, have won the last four Divisional titles. Three times they succumbed in the playoffs, twice in the National League Division series and once in the Championship series to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The Braves gained revenge last year by taking the NL Pennant and defeating the Houston Astros 4-2 to win their fourth World Series title.

The Mets, meanwhile, await their first World Series success since 1986.

Resilience

The Mets have been a tough side to break down this campaign. They weren't fazed in the opening game in the Subway Series at Citi Field when their crosstown city rivals, the New York Yankees, took a two-run lead in the first innings, following back-to-back home runs from Aaron Judge and Anthony Rizzo.

The Amazins' just hit back with four runs of their own in the bottom of the first, which set up a two-game sweep of their city opponents.

Trade Deadline

What will the Braves do at the Trade Deadline to try and close the gap on the Mets to try and win their fifth successive NL East title?

Last year, they revamped their outfield by acquiring Adam Duvall, Joc Pederson, Eddie Rosario and Jorge Soler and that won Atlanta a World Series.

It's clearly asking a lot to repeat that, but what has Braves president of baseball operations Alex Anthopoulos got up his sleeve this year?

They have a need to replace Duvall, who has had season-ending wrist surgery, plus the Braves could use some pitching insurance for Ian Anderson and Spencer Strider.

They don't have much in the tank as regards to prospects, after using some to get Matt Olson in March.

Mets eye Ohtani

The Mets have talked with the Los Angeles Angels' two-way superstar player Shohei Ohtani, according to some online reports.

Sports Illustrated suggested that Mets' general manager Billy Eppler is the go-between with Ohtani's people as he is linked with joining the franchise.

Eppler signed the 28-year-old for the Angels when he was GM of the Anaheim club.

This would be a blockbuster of a deal for the Mets and would put them in a strong position to not only win the Division, but the World Series.

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