MLB playoff standings: Where things stand in the NL East as the Washington Nationals, Atlanta Braves, Philadelphia Phillies, Miami Marlins and New York Mets battle for the postseason.
Though they've been overshadowed by the Astros' hot start, the Dodgers' summer-long domination and the Indians' late-season winning streak, the Nationals have been more consistently excellent than any of those clubs. They've been in first place for all but three days, the last of which was April 15, and they could wind up with one of the biggest margins of victory in divisional play history.
Washington has taken advantage of a division in which the Braves and Phillies are in rebuilding mode and the Mets have dealt with a cataclysmic series of injuries that derailed their hopes of a third straight postseason berth, which would have been a franchise first. The Marlins were somewhat surprising thanks to the exceptional slugging of Giancarlo Stanton but the most important thing to happen to Miami this year may have been the sale that will transfer ownership to a group headed publicly by Yankees icon Derek Jeter.
Because of the realignment that would come, the first year of NLCS play actually featured two division winners that would later become rivals, as the Braves (then in the NL West) faced the Mets. New York won that round en route to its miraculous World Series title, and as it advanced toward its second and most recent championship in 1986 it did so by first winning a division in which only one of the five other teams (the Phillies) remains in the NL East.
The three-division format shifted the Cardinals, Cubs and Pirates to the NL Central and brought the big, bad Braves to the more geographically appropriate NL East from the NL West, where they had just won three straight titles from 1991 to '93. Atlanta would eventually run that streak to an incredible 14 in a row, with only the 1994 player's strike able to stop them. The Mets finally broke through in 2006, but they blew a huge lead down the stretch in '07, enabling the Phillies to kickstart a streak of five straight division crowns of their own.
The Nationals, who had moved from Montreal to Washington D.C. for the 2005 season, won the first of their four flags in 2012 but have yet to advance past the Division Series. They'd gladly trade places with the Marlins, who have never won a division title since debuting in 1993 but who have won two World Series, in 1997 and 2003.
Division Titles: 17 (1969, 1982, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2013)
Division Titles: 0
New York Mets
Division Titles: 6 (1969, 1973, 1986, 1988, 2006, 2015)
Division Titles: 12 (1976, 1977, 1978, 1980, 1981, 1983, 1993, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011)
Division Titles: 4 (2012, 2014, 2016, 2017)