One month in: NL East Edition

As previously mentioned on this site, I picked the New York Mets as the favorite in the NL East with the Florida Marlins as the dark horse.

So far everything is going according to plan if you consider the improbable with the Fish holding a half game lead on the defending champs in what looks like a surprisingly mediocre division thus far.

I'm still quite confident this will be a three-horse race down the stretch but it seems like another choke job is in the works for the uber-talented Mets team.

It should come as no surprise the manager of that team is Jerry Manuel. He failed miserably with considerable talent as the Chicago White Sox skipper but does have an AL Central title to his name.

But sub-.500 baseball isn't going to get the job done in the Big Apple and it looks like the money spent on retaining starting pitcher Oliver Perez should have been spent on post season stalwart Derek Lowe.

However, let's get back to the Marlins for a minute. Why did I pick a dark horse team in each division?

To make myself look like a genius if said team did well? Okay, fine.

But there was some logic here. Let's call it the six-year plan as in 1997 Florida captured its first World Series championship and then grabbed its second six years later in 2003.

It's 2009 folks!

In all seriousness though, the Marlins have a terrible defensive team but if they add a piece or two throughout the season by dealing prospects there's no reason they can't make another run again.

And we're forgetting about the defending champs, too.

The Philadelphia Phillies are just a hair behind the Fish in the East and have all the pieces needed for another title run. Of all the problems shortstop Jimmy Rollins is having, the real key is getting the Phillies pitching staff healthy and righting the Joe Blanton ship.

Couple this with a potent offense and a solid bullpen and you've got yourself a three-team race.

I still stand by my preseason prediction though.

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