Following yesterday’s games, New York’s lead is 1.5 games in the NL East. With just 21 games left on the season, this will go down to the last week of the season, and it will likely be determined when the two teams meet at Truist Park to end September.
For the first time in five years, the Braves have a worthy foe inside the NL East. This very well might be the best team Atlanta has put together since their rebuild, including their World Series squad from last season, and the Mets have traded blows with them all season, refusing to relinquish the division lead.
In all honesty, it’s disappointing either of these squads has to finish in second place. They have each been two of the best teams in all of baseball and could both eclipse 100 wins on the season. But one of the Mets or the Braves will end up in the Wild Card series, where they will play a three-game series against a team that they will have won 10+ more games than.
It’s not necessarily fair, but life isn’t fair, and one of these teams will get the short end of the stick. Regardless, I expect both the Braves and Mets to be brilliantly prepared for playoff baseball. They’ve basically experienced it for the last month.
One thing I thought the Braves benefitted from last season was playing in games that mattered for the final two months. Atlanta wasn’t over .500 until early August. They were playing for their lives just to make the playoffs, let alone win the World Series. They entered October as the hottest team in baseball, and the rest is history.
This isn’t an uncommon theme. World Series champions come from everywhere, but they nearly all have one thing in common — they played their best baseball to end the season. Right now, the Braves and Mets are playing fantastic ball, and they’ll both be scraping and clawing for every win down the stretch. One of them won’t win the division, but both will benefit from playing under these circumstances come October.
Photographer: Jeff Robinson/Icon Sportswire
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