With just four games left on the schedule — including a final head-to-head — the Braves have taken a one-game lead over the Mets in the hotly contested NL East race. Saturday was the second game of the three-game series between the two World Series hopefuls and the Braves edged out Mets ace Max Scherzer in a 4-2 win.
Power hitting was once again key for the Braves. They hit three homers in their 5-2 win over Jacob deGrom and the Mets on Friday, and this time it was a crucial Dansby Swanson shot and a solo homer from Matt Olson to provide some safety. It’s a common offense formula for the Braves, who lead the NL this season with 239 homers.
Here’s the Swanson homer that turned a 2-1 lead for the Mets into a 3-2 lead for the Braves:
On the mound, Kyle Wright allowed two earned runs in five innings of work, which was good enough to earn his MLB-best 21st win of the season.
The win puts the Braves at 99-59 while the Mets sit at 98-60. Whoever wins the division bids farewell to the NLDS round with the second NL seed, while the loser is the top wild, fourth seed in the NL, and fifth seed in a three-game streak at home in the wild -Card plays rounds.
Also of great importance: In the event of a tie, there is no more game 163. There are now tiebreaks, with the first being a head-to-head match. And this is where it gets even juicier, because with the Braves win on Saturday night, both teams went into this series this season 9-9. That means whoever prevails on Sunday night wins the tiebreak.
Should the Braves win, they would have a two-game lead and three to play and hold the tie break, so it would be pretty difficult to break that. On the other hand, a Mets win would create a tie at the top with three players to play while the Mets would hold the tiebreaker.
After that series finale, the Mets have three home games against the hapless Nationals. The Braves will head off to play a rather sad Marlins team and won’t have to contend with Cy Young frontrunner Sandy Alcantara.
All of this means that if both teams go about their business and sweep in the final series, whoever wins Sunday night will win the division. How fun is that?