Entering the series against Colorado, the Braves had a golden opportunity to take control of the NL East before the stretch run, including a ten-game road trip out West before coming home to play six divisional games against the Phillies and Mets. Atlanta was 4.5 games up with the worst road team in baseball coming to Truist Park, but they couldn’t take advantage. On Tuesday, their comeback attempt fell just short, and on Wednesday, they fell in extras — missing a plethora of opportunities to put the game away. Thursday’s series finale was postponed due to rain.
Meanwhile, the Phillies took full advantage against the Cubs. After losing Game 1, they walked-off in Game 2 on a wild pitch and then overcame a seven-run deficit in Game 3 to win. Now, the Braves are in a dogfight. They’re only three games up in the NL East, and they’re headed to San Francisco to take on the team with the best record in baseball, who is also fighting to win their division over the Dodgers.
There’s no questioning the Phillies have the schedule advantage the rest of the way. The Braves do get a little break after the Giants as they play four games against the Diamondbacks — arguably the worst team in baseball. But then they travel to San Diego to play another team fighting for their playoff lives.
While the Braves are doing that, the Phillies play the Mets, Orioles, and Pirates. New York should pose a threat, but the Phillies should still be favored in that series, even on the road. Still, it should surprise nobody if the Phillies went on to win six of seven against the Orioles and Pirates, which would set up a showdown at Truist Park that very well may decide the division.
You can never assume anything in baseball, but because the Braves didn’t take care of business against the Rockies, it’s beginning to look more and more likely that the second to last series of the season against the Phillies will decide the NL East. Hopefully, they’ll have a little cushion when that time comes, but they’ll have to play their best ball starting today against the Giants.