The Braves have good pitching. Who knew? They traded away Craig Kimbrel, the best closer in baseball, the day before the season opener. That did not seem to affect them at all, as they went on to sweep the Marlins with dominant pitching. And offensively, after trading away players who produced 72.3 percent of their home runs and 61.8 percent of their RBI, they used small ball to rack up runs while only hitting one home run in their season-opening series. Simply putting the bat on the ball without striking out can certainly hold up for the next 159 games. This ball club is way better than expected.
Giancarlo Stanton and Christian Yelich cashed in over the offseason, and Dee Gordon is supposed to add an explosive element to the Marlins’ offense. Well, on Opening Day, Gordon tripped 60 feet from first base while attempting to run out a bunt, he was caught stealing, their power hitters gave them a whole lot of nothing, and they went on to be swept by the Braves. They only scored three runs in the series, they did not hit any home runs, and the only extra base it came from a pitcher. For a young and talented team that is supposed to shock the world, losing to the Braves, who are supposed to be in the NL East basement, is not a good sign. This is not good at all.
New York Mets
Crown them! Crown them now! After being dominated by the Nationals last season, the Mets called their shot over the offseason, repeatedly. Who cares if the Nationals entered this season with a loaded roster? Certainly not the Mets, who believe that they will win the NL East. Well after the first series of the season, the Mets are right! They rolled out 41-year-old Bartolo Colon and shut down the Nationals’ offense on Opening Day, and they went on two win two out of three in the series. Matt Harvey made his triumphant return, and the Mets watched the Nationals’ defense make a comedy of errors in the field. Who would have thought that it would be the Mets and Braves battling for first?
H.Darr Beiser-USA TODAY SportsH. Darr Beiser
That certainly will not be a good surprise, because 'they are who we thought they were.' Anybody who had any illusions of grandeur that this team would some how not be the worst team in the league, yeah, forget about that. Their only stud player, pitcher Cole Hamels, was rocked by the Red Sox on Opening Day. If that’s the best that the Phillies have to offer, this team may be worse than expected. Surprisingly they won a game in the opening series, which puts them on pace for a 1-161 season.
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY SportsBill Streicher
The Nats were supposed to steamroll their way through the regular season, win the most games, collect the NL MVP and Cy Young awards, and make a mockery out of the NL East. Three games in, that certainly doesn’t appear to be the case. That brash team from Queens punched them in the mouth on Opening Day. It was all bad. Outside of Bryce Harper, they couldn’t hit. Pitcher Max Scherzer did not allow any earned runs, and carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning. But all the Mets had to do was put the ball in play and watch the Nats defense become the Keystone Cops. It was not a great start for a ‘super team,’ and the series did not get much better after that, as their offense and fielding continued to struggle and they lost two out of three games.
Getty ImagesRob Carr
Back to reality
After putting things into perspective, the first few games do not define a season. Chances are that the Nationals will dominate this division. The Mets and Marlins will make it interesting, and will probably battle for a wild-card playoff spot. Small ball will not carry the Braves’ offense all season. As for the Phillies, they are who we thought they were, so go ahead and panic, Phillies fans.