The schedule is set up perfectly for the Braves to take hold of first place

Braves: Ten over/under predictions for 2020

In case you missed it, one swing from Ozzie Albies catapulted the Braves into a tie with the Phillies for first place last night.

It’s about time one went the Braves way. It seems like every close game this season has gone against them, but slowly and surely, normalcy seems to be installing itself back into the NL East.

The new additions have come up with timely contributions game after game, and it’s almost as if a colossal amount of pressure has been lifted off the shoulders of Freddie Freeman, Austin Riley, Ozzie Albies, and Dansby Swanson. These guys are back to playing loose baseball again, and when the Braves do that, they’re one of the most dangerous teams in Major League Baseball.

Much has been made about the Phillies second-half schedule, and deservedly so. It’s easy, but the upcoming stretch is actually beneficial to the Braves. After they wrap up their series with the Reds today, they hit the road to play Washington, Miami, and Baltimore — three of the worst teams in the league. Now, all of those games take place away from home, but the Braves could easily come away with seven wins over that stretch.

Meanwhile, the Phillies will try to avoid a sweep at the hands of the Dodgers before facing the Reds, Diamondbacks, Rays, and Padres. The Diamondbacks might be the worst team in baseball history, but those other three teams should show us just how serious the Phillies are about contending. They were able to string together eight straight wins and briefly take over first place, but those wins came against the Pirates, Nationals, and Mets — not exactly world-beaters. This stretch should be much more indicative of whether or not they can handle the pressure of a pennant race.

Of course, we can’t forget about the Mets just yet either. They’ve played awful baseball of late, but they still remain just a game back in the division. However, they are about to embark on one of the toughest stretches I have ever seen on a schedule. After they wrap up their series with the Nationals today, they play the Dodgers and Giants — who own the two best records in the National League — for 13 games in a row. All I have to say is good luck.

In baseball, you can never take anything for granted, which is why I often don’t even pay attention to the schedule. Generally, I believe the team playing the best ball will take home the division, regardless of who you put in front of them. But at least on paper, this is a perfect opportunity for the Braves to give themselves a little cushion before the final six weeks of the season.

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