Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Brandon McCarthy
Somehow, the National League East has turned into a gauntlet. We all figured the Braves and Phillies would be better, but the fact that they are contending is definitely eye-popping.
As a neutral observer, it would be fun to see the Braves, Phillies and Nationals keep up the pace and give us a proper battle going down the stretch.
Washington Nationals (-124) @ Atlanta Braves (+104) | O/U: 9
4:10 p.m. ET
Gio Gonzalez (6-2, 2.10 ERA) vs. Brandon McCarthy (5-2, 5.02 ERA)
For Real? The Braves’ offense has been surprisingly good this year. Atlanta ranks fifth in the league with a .329 wOBA (weighted on-base average) and 107 wRC+ (weighted runs created plus). Going off those two stats, the Nationals’ offense has paled in comparison and is sitting in the middle of the pack with a .313 wOBA and 97 wRC+.
However, if you look at expected wOBA (xwOBA) you’ll notice that the Nationals have been a bit unlucky this year, as their .341 xwOBA outruns their actual mark by .28 basis points — the fifth-largest disparity in the league. Meanwhile, the Braves’ xwOBA is only .07 basis points off their .329 wOBA, which is the second-smallest margin in the league. In short, we should anticipate that the Nats’ offense will keep improving, while the Braves’ offense is more in line with their expected performance. — Michael Leboff