Welcome to the dog days of August, baseball fans. The All-Star Game and trade deadline have come and gone, and now all that's left is the daily grind of baseball, with the added bonus of increasingly intense postseason races.
Throughout the season the CBS Sports MLB scribes will bring you a weekly roundtable breaking down, well, pretty much anything. The latest news, a historical question, thoughts about the future of baseball, all sorts of stuff. Last week we debated which team needed to do more at the trade deadline. This week we're going to tackle baseball's most wide-open division.
So which team is going to win the NL East?
Dayn Perry: I'm going to say the Braves. If you look at the underlying run differential, they've been the strongest team in the division by a substantial margin. As well, they have an easier schedule than the Phillies (their chief competitors in the NL East, it says here) over the remainder of the regular season. As well, I think the front office did a solid job in trades designed to compensate as much as possible for the loss of Ronald Acuña Jr. to injury.
R.J. Anderson: I keep waiting on the Braves to swoop in and win the division, too. As Dayn mentioned, they have by far the strongest run differential in the East. Obviously not having Acuña hurts, but they added enough outfielders at the deadline that I have to believe one or two will perform well down the stretch and help them pull it off.
Matt Snyder: I'm gonna go with the Phillies. Am I caught up in the moment? Absolutely! Guilty as charged. I just love the idea of the Phillies surging and taking this thing home while Bryce Harper wins MVP in the face of so much misguided "overrated" talk from people who resent him for whatever reason. Zack Wheeler in en route to a Cy Young, too. It's true that the Hot Hand Theory often doesn't work out, but I'm riding it here.
Mike Axisa: No one will win it, one team will just lose it less. It's really, really bad division. In all seriousness, I picked the Mets before the season, and I'm going to stick with them. They've struggled the last few weeks and the whole always seems to be less than the sum of the parts with this team, but the Phillies aren't exactly known for rising to the occasion either, and the Braves have been spinning their wheels all season. No Acuña will be tough to overcome. I'm going with the Mets against my better judgment.