The Atlanta Braves play their biggest series of the year this weekend against the New York Mets with a ton of different playoff scenarios still out there.
One thing is for sure, the Atlanta Braves will be returning to the postseason for the fifth consecutive year.
What that will actually look like with MLB’s new postseason format and schedule will likely be decided during the Braves’ three-game series at home this weekend against the New York Mets.
Both teams are evenly matched and have set things up so their top starting pitchers will go in this series. Or, at least the ones that are healthy — missing Spencer Strider in this series is a huge loss for the Braves.
Atlanta has worked really hard after a slow start to even be in this position and they have everything right in front of them to win the NL East — but they have to get it done this weekend.
Braves Playoff Scenarios
Winning the NL East
Something to really keep in mind this weekend is that if the Mets just win one game over the Braves they will own the head-to-head tie-breaker.
That means if the two teams are tied at the end of the regular season, the Mets will be the NL East champs — no more game 163 to decide such things.
With that in mind, it’s not absolutely necessary for the Braves to sweep the Mets this weekend, but if they want to control their own destiny in the last three games then that’s what needs to happen.
If the Braves win the series this weekend, they would still need help from the Nationals and would likely have to sweep the Marlins in Miami.
But that’s the path to winning the NL East — Braves would likely have to go 5-1 the rest of the way and hope the Mets go 3-3.
If the Braves win the NL East, they’ll avoid the Wild Card round and wouldn’t play again until Oct. 11 — so five days off.
And their opponent would be either the St. Louis Cardinals, Philadelphia Phillies, or Milwaukee Brewers.
Winning Top Wild Card Spot
If the Braves miss out on winning the division, then they will be the top Wild Card seed, which means they’d play a three-game series at home against the San Diego Padres starting on Friday, October 7 — just two days after the final game of the regular season.
It’s not written in stone that it will be the Padres, but they have a 2.5-game cushion over the Phillies and have an easier schedule (CWS and SF) while the Phillies face the Nats (x4) and Astros.
The Brewers finish against the Marlins and Diamondbacks.
But at this point, it’s looking like the Padres who only lost three series in September and all of them were to the Dodgers.
San Diego came to Atlanta in May and won a series, while the two teams split a series in April.
The good news is, no matter who the Braves might face in that Wild Card round, every game will be at Truist Park where they are 52-26 this year. Please just don’t give the Braves a day game.