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N. L. East Race: Time to Call it for the Braves

Do you remember watching election results in November and how the news people would call the election with still a lot of precincts not having been counted yet? That is because they can see that there is no way the loser can possibly make a comeback. Only once have they been burned by doing this, that being in 2000 when they called the presidential race for  Al Gore because they thought he had Florida locked down.

Well, it is time to call the N. L. East race in 2013. The Atlanta Braves have this locked down, despite losing Tim Hudson this week to a gruesome broken ankle when he was stepped on covering first base by the New York Mets Eric Young. See the above photo of the play.

How do we know the Philadelphia Phillies or Washington Nationals won’t come back to overtake the injury riddled Braves? Well, that’s because we can’t be sure these teams can even hold off the Mets for second place. That’s right, as bad as New York is, a win today puts them only two games out of second place in the East.

The Braves have already clinched their weekend series with the St. Louis Cardinals, owner’s of baseball’s best record. So even as dinged up as they are, they can still hang with the best teams in the game.  So all we really have going on in this division is a three way battle for second place.

If you think the Mets have no shot, then think again. Take Matt Harvey’s stellar season for example. As good as he has been, the Mets ace has six games in which he has a no decision that he went seven innings or more while allowing only one run. The latest was in this series with Washington in which a throwing error by Daniel Murphy did him in. He went eight innings, no earned runs, and the Mets lost 2-1. So all the Mets need is just a little bit of offense and they might have the second place team in the N.L. East.  With Harvey, Zach Wheeler and Dillon Gee, they have the makings of a great pitching rotation in the future.

But as far as the playoffs go, pencil the Braves in from the East, and nobody else. The Braves will go for a sweep of the Cardinals tonight on Sunday Night Baseball. Kris Medlen takes the hill for the Braves while Shelby Miller goes for the Cards. Bovada has the Braves +1.5 -160 and the Cards -1.5 +140 ATS. Moneyline is Cards -118 and Braves +108. We will take St. Louis -118 but we also like the Braves +1.5.

The biggest game involving an N. L. East team in the afternoon will be the Pittsburgh Pirates at the Miami Marlins in the rubber game of their three game series. The Pirates are in the thick of the N. L. Central and N. L. Wild Card races. They need this game before they go on to face the Cardinals in a four game series starting on Monday. Gerrit Cole will pitch for the Pirates while Jose Fernandez goes for the Marlins. The Pirates are -1.5 +155 while the Marlins are +1.5 -175 ATS. Moneyline has the Pirates -105 and the Marlins -105. Since the odds makers see this game as even, it would be foolish to pass up the Marlins with +1.5. Fernandez is a good looking young arm. We also like the Marlins -105.

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