With a devastating loss to the Washington Nationals in extra innings on Wednesday night, the Atlanta Braves are 1.0 games out of first place. This loss is going to prove to be very significant. If the Braves had won that game, they would be tied for first place with the Mets in the NL East. But since they lost, they are once again behind the Mets and are going to have to fight very hard in this upcoming series.
The Mets have been a tough opponent for Atlanta this year, and this series is going to be no different with two first-place-worthy teams going head to head in the final week of the season. The Braves will be on their home field and the games have been sold out for months It will feel like major postseason games over this weekend.
Unfortunately, the Braves are at a small disadvantage. They have to win more games to have a chance to clinch the Division. This is where that loss against the Nationals is really starting to bite, because if they had won we wouldn’t be 1.0 games out of first. If they Mets were to sweep the Braves, they would clinch, and the Braves would be in the Wild Card. If the Mets won two out of three of the games, their magic number would be at one going into a series against the last place Washington Nationals. Even if the Mets were to win just ONE of the games in this series, they will win the series season and if it were to come down to a tie breaker (which that looks like what is going to happen) then the Mets would be given first place.
If the Braves were to sweep the Mets, the division title would swing back into the Braves’ favor with a 2.0 game first place lead over the Mets. If they were to win 2 out of three of the games, they would have a realistic shot of clinching the division for a fifth straight year. However, it will all depend on how the Braves play against the Miami Marlins after the Mets leave town, and how the Mets play against the Washington Nationals.
The pitching for this series is going to be something else. Atlanta’s best vs the Mets’ best. The starting rotation for this series will look like this unless something were to change:
FRIDAY: Max Fried vs. Jacob DeGrom
SATURDAY: Kyle Wright vs. Max Scherzer
SUNDAY: Charlie Morton vs. Chris Bassitt
This is going to be a very stressful, very exciting series. It’s games like these that make baseball such a great sport. You can play an entire season and have a truckload of wins, but it all comes down to a few, high-intensity games against your rival to determine who will come out on top.
Yes, if the Braves don’t win the division, they will still be guaranteed Postseason berth via the Wild Card. However, you want to win the Division because, not only does it prove your capabilities as a team, but it also gives you a week’s worth of rest since you wouldn’t have to play in a three game Wild Card series to move on in the Postseason. Instead, after the break you would go straight to the NLDS and play the winner of the first NL Wild Card. Also, if the Braves were to win the Division, they would not have to play the Dodgers in the NLDS. The Braves would play the winner of the second NL Wild Card and wait and see if they would end up playing the Dodgers in the NLCS if both teams make it that far.
Overall, there is some big advantages to winning your Division. I’m not quite sure how things are going to play out, but I have faith that the Braves are capable of winning the Division and proving themselves once again in the Postseason. However, if they were to sadly not win the Division for the fifth straight year, I also have faith that they can take care of business in the Postseason. After all, we’ve seen them do it before. 😉