We are less than one month into the MLB season and the old rivalries are intense as ever. Some teams are proving that they should have been called contenders while others are punishing those who overlooked them. The bookmakers are having a tough time keeping up with the action and those looking to place bets are turning to a site like Livebets.ca with the latest baseball headlines in Canada.

One of the biggest surprises has been MLB’s National League Eastern Division. The New York Mets currently have a 5 game lead over the pre-season favorite Washington Nationals who some have picked to win the World Series. Many are questioning whether the Mets can maintain their torrid pace. Here are some thoughts about if they can keep the Nationals at bay:

Why Everyone Was Picking Washington
Washington was thought to be unbeatable after keeping intact their strong offensive core which includes all-stars Bryce Harper, Ryan Zimmerman and former Met Daniel Murphy and their top level pitchers Gio Gonzalez and Steven Strasburg. When they added Max Scherzer who some argue is the greatest pitcher in the game right now, everyone figured Washington would crush the division from the start. But an injury to Murphy and uncharacteristic light hitting has done them in early.

Why are the New York Mets so Hot?
The hottest team in the National League East is the New York Mets, who were projected to finish out of the playoffs and far behind the Washington Nationals. At the moment however the team has a 5 game lead on the Nationals and although they have slowed down from their earlier hot pace, they have maintained the lead on last year’s eastern conference champs.

The secrets to their early success have been revealed lately. It started with their off-season. While many teams were waiting for the market to cool down, the Mets were signing players. Their off-season was definitely a good one, but not just for the great additions including 3rd baseman Todd Frasier, 1st Baseman Adrian Gonzalez, Outfielder Jay Bruce, and relief specialist Paul Sewald, but also for the players that got back on the roster.

This of course starts with their starting pitching. The Mets have the most highly touted pitching staff in baseball, but over the past few seasons none of them have been able to stay healthy. This year marks the first time when all five starters have pitched in the rotation together. This year the fabulous five, with Noah Syndergaard and Jacob DeGrom leading the way, has been all that the team has hoped for and more.

They also got back their closer Jeurys Familia who sat out most of last year on a drug suspension. He is in top form and currently leading the league in saves.

Finally the hired a new manager Mickey Calloway who has lots of experience keeping pitchers healthy, and reaching their potential. Also he has instilled new confidence in the players.

If their pitching remains strong and their timely hitting continues, the Mets might just be around come September. Perhaps not as the conference winner but surely as a wildcard team that can win it all.