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The 2012 NL East in Retrospect
This article is part of the series "2013 in the Major Leagues: The Shoot-Outs in the East".
By the mid-point of the 2012 season, the pennant of the NL East was pretty much a two horse race between the Braves and the Nationals, but the Nats maintained their lead consistently throughout the season, playing some of the finest baseball in the majors. St. Louis proved to be the kryptonite to the NL East's post-season success, however.
The Braves easily procured the top wildcard spot with a healthy 6 game lead, but that all amounted to nothing when they lost to the Cardinals in the brand new 1 game wildcard playoff. Washington threatened to make a deep playoff run but were ousted in the divisional round, blowing a six-run lead to the scrappy Cardinals in Game 5.
2012 showed the effects of time on the aging Phillies. After trading away pitcher Joe Blanton as well as outfielders Shane Victorino and Hunter Pence, the Phillies showed a second half resurgence that proved to be too little too late for a late playoff run. The Phillies briefly threatened to finish off a very impressive come back from the bottom of the NL East to take the second wildcard spot in September, but they were unable to unearth themselves from the monumental hole they had dug between April and August.
The Mets and the Marlins, well, they ate dust. Despite a Cy Young year by R.A. Dickey and a strong first half, the Mets' record dwindled from 7 games over .500 at the All-Star Break to 15 games under by the end of the season.
The Fish came into the season with high expectations to reclaim the success they had in the early 2000s, boasting a new stadium, new manager, and a massively expanded payroll with star power to boot from the likes of Giancarlo Stanton, Jose Reyes, and Hanley Ramirez. The season started off with some success that quickly incinerated as the Fish closed with an NL East-worst record of 69-93, resulting in the fire sale of almost all the star power that made Miami seem so promising at the beginning of the season.