There has been something of a power shift taking place in the NL East over the past couple of seasons, with the Washington Nationals suddenly looking like the teams to beat, while the Atlanta Braves and Philadelphia Phillies look as though they are about to slip into a rebuilding period. It is the Nationals who MLB odds favorites to walk away with the division, and they will have a chance to flex some muscle when they start a 3-game series with the Phillies on Friday.
Quick Look at the MLB Odds Preview & Pick on Washington at Philadelphia & Game InfoDate: Friday, April 10, 2015Time: 7:05PMVenue: Citizens Bank ParkOpening Line: Washington -159
Should the #Phillies trade Cole Hamels? Vote: http://t.co/W9ClQbTTAd— Phillies Nation (@PHLPhilsNation) April 9, 2015The Nats will actually face Philadelphia in 7 of their next 10 games, with a 3-game series versus the Red Sox wedged in between. The starting rotation that Washington has in place right now makes them a prohibitive favorite to be the World Series champs once this season is all over, but playing on the field is a whole lot different than playing on paper. It may be a little bit of rocky start for Washington, as they are currently missing a few of their regular starters, but this is a team that is deep enough to be able to make up for that. As I write, they are currently playing the rubber match against the Mets, having split the first two games of the season. The pitching, particularly that of Max Scherzer, has been excellent, and with Stephen Strasburg going today, you have to think that they have a solid shot at landing in Philly with a 2-1 record.It has been fire sale time in Philadelphia, as the team dumps players and salaries as they look to retool. This does not seem like a happy place to be right now, and Cole Hamels has made it abundantly clear that he wants out of town as quickly as possible. It’s easy to forget that this is a team that won the World Series a few years back, but it must feel like ancient history to the fans who are now seeing the team being gutted wholesale. This promises to be an incredibly long season in Philadelphia, and the Nationals have a chance to put them behind the 8 ball very early on.