With a new CBA in place, several rule changes were implemented this season and many more significant ones are coming next year. One that very well could play a substantial factor in determining the NL East champion is the doing away with Game 163. Beginning this season, there will be no Game 163 to determine playoff spots. Things will be decided by tiebreakers.
For the division race, that tiebreaker is the head-to-head matchup, in which the Mets currently lead 9-7. So essentially, New York has a two-game lead over the Braves. However, the tiebreaker could shift in Atlanta’s favor this weekend.
If the Braves can sweep the Mets at Truist Park, they will lead the season series ten games to nine. So not only will they have a two-game lead in the division, but they will also own the tiebreaker, giving them a magic number of just one to clinch the NL East. With that being said, sweeping a team like the Mets, who are on pace to eclipse 100 games this season, is much easier said than done, even if the Braves are playing at home, where they are 52-26 on the year.
If the Braves were to win two out of three, the division would be tied, but the Mets would technically be in the lead because of the tiebreaker. If the Mets win two out of three, they will be two games up with the tiebreaker in hand, needing just one win to clinch. And if the Mets sweep, they will be NL East champions.
Personally, I hate the tiebreaker. If two teams battle for 162 games and end up tied, there should be a one-game playoff to decide the winner. There’s no reason the league can’t push things back one day. Unfortunately, though, it doesn’t matter what I think. The Braves must win at least two out of three this weekend if they want to have any chance of capturing their fifth consecutive NL East crown.
Photo: Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire