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NL East Picks: July 22, 2013


While the Atlanta Braves have started their second half of the regular season cold, so have most of the other teams in the NL East, leaving Atlanta in complete control of the division – at least for now.

With more than 60 games remaining, we can’t consider the Braves’ 6.5 game lead in the NL East safe, especially if they continue to scuffle. We’ll see if they can halt the New York Mets‘ two-game win streak today and get things back on track. Here’s a closer look at that contest and the two others in the East today:

Pittsburgh Pirates +1.5 at Washington Nationals -1.5

Just when we thought the Washington Nationals might be poised to make a run in the East, they stumbled into another losing skid.

The Nats briefly eclipsed the .500 mark recently, but have slid back to 48-50 on the season after getting swept by the Dodgers. And unfortunately for them, things won’t get any easier as they begin a four-game set with the second best team in the NL.

They’ll face off against Pirates starter Charlie Morton (1-2, 3.19 ERA) – who they’ve had success against in the past – but by putting Dan Haren (4-10, 5.61 ERA) on the mound, it’s hard to say they really have an advantage. I’d be confident to take the Pirates on the moneyline, but you should at least take them to cover +1.5 today.

Atlanta Braves -1.5 at New York Mets +1.5

As we previously mentioned, Atlanta has struggled a bit recently, bit with Jason Heyward returning to the lineup today, the Braves should get a lift against the Mets and their starter Dillon Gee (7-7, 4.32 ERA).

Gee has pitched well recently and is coming off one of his best starts of the year, but Heyward has had his number in the past, going 8 for 19 in his career against Gee with one home run.

More important to the Braves’ cause is starter Julio Teheran (7-5, 3.35 ERA), who is in a bit of a slump lately, but has been solid in 2013 overall. He also pitched well last time out against the Mets, giving up just one run in six and two-thirds innings of work.

With the Mets having the hotter hands and the hotter bats at home, this one should be close. Look for the Mets to cover +1.5, even in defeat.

Miami Marlins +1.5 at Colorado Rockies -1.5

After a successful June (for them anyway), the Miami Marlins are back in another offensive funk as losers of their last four games. Fortunately, they’ll be up against Colorado’s Drew Pomeranz (0-3, 8.76 ERA), who has struggled lately as well.

Miami will send out Tom Koehler (1-5, 4.70 ERA), who hasn’t been much better, so he’ll likely need some support from the Marlins’ bats.

With two less-than-stellar hurlers headed to the mound, I’d lean toward the hotter hitting team and take the Rockies to cover -1.5 today at home.

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