A common thread within the division

PHILADELPHIA - A little over a month into the 2014 regular season, there isn’t a single National League East team with a sub-.500 record.

Wait, what?

The Marlins, who lost 100 games last season, are now 14-14 on the season after finishing off a three-game sweep of the Braves.

Wait, what?

The Mets, who were seven games under .500 last year and are without ace Matt Harvey, are 15-12 on the young season and actually have a positive run differential.

Wait, what?

The Phillies, who decided to combat the problems they were experiencing due to an aging roster by signing more players in their mid-30s this offseason, are 13-13 this season and took three of four from the Dodgers in L.A.

Say it with me, everyone: Wait, what?

The NL East has been surprisingly solid from top to bottom so far this season. Small sample size, yes, but I don’t think anyone could have expected this type of start from all five of these teams.

The Marlins have lots of young pitching talent, the Mets have some key veterans and a few emerging pieces and the Phillies have a few quality, proven arms in their rotation. But consider me shocked that this is the one division without a team owning a losing record.

Do I expect those three teams to keep it up and compete with the Nationals and Braves over the course of a full season? No, I don’t.

I like the arms that the Marlins have stockpiled, and Giancarlo Stanton is a monster. But I don’t think they can score enough to contend this season. The Mets could end up hanging around .500 for much of the season, but I don’t see them as a true contender. And the Phillies, well, I wouldn’t be shocked if they end up in the NL East basement when the 2014 season is complete.

We’ll get our first look at the Phils in this three-game set starting tonight. The Nats will send Stephen Strasburg, Tanner Roark and Gio Gonzalez to the mound, while Cliff Lee, A.J. Burnett and Cole Hamels are scheduled to go for the Phillies.

Talk about some quality pitching matchups.

To this point, the Nats are 8-1 against NL East teams not named the Braves. We’ll see if they can pad that number here in Philly.

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