Atlanta Braves last game vs. Mets: what’s at stake

Matt Olson #28 of the Atlanta Braves scores during the 7th inning against the New York Mets on Friday night. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)
Matt Olson #28 of the Atlanta Braves scores during the 7th inning against the New York Mets on Friday night. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images) /

This pivotal series is not yet over.  Simply put, the winner of tonight’s game will have the upper hand in the NL East division race.

The Atlanta Braves have beaten Jacob deGrom, Max Scherzer, and their New York Mets on consecutive nights.  But their work isn’t yet done.

While Atlanta now holds a 1 game lead for the division, this game tonight is critical… arguably the most important matchup of the season.

Obviously, there are two possible outcomes tonight, but the importance of the game involves the implications for each possible victor:

If the Braves win…

  • Their lead will extend to 2 full games with 3 left to play
  • The Braves would own the head-to-head tie-breaker against the Mets, with 10 in-season victories to 9.
  • For the Mets to overcome this deficit, they would have to win all 3 remaining games against Washington and Atlanta would have to lose all 3 remaining games against the Marlins.
  • In other words, the Braves magic number would be one with three to play
  • Note:  normally, a magic number of 1 means that the team has clinched a tie, but as the status of the tie-breaker gets settled tonight, that part becomes moot.

If the Mets win…

  • The two teams go back into a technical tie for the division lead.  However
  • The Mets would own the head-to-head tie-breaker, with a 10-9 season series lead of their own.  That effectively would put them into first place.
  • For the Braves to overcome this deficit, they would need some help:  namely, they would have to regain the outright division lead.
  • To make this happen, Atlanta would have to gain 1 more win over the Marlins than the Mets get against the Nationals in the teams’ last 3 games.
  • In other words, the Mets’ magic number becomes three with three to play… this represents the total number of Mets wins plus Braves losses needed to give them the division title.

So while it’s not over if Atlanta loses tonight, it certainly puts them behind the 8-ball.

Likewise, while it’s also not mathematically settled if the Braves complete the sweep of the Mets tonight… it really makes life extremely difficult for the Mets… and for all practical purposes, the division would belong to the Braves at that point.

The rest of the National League’s playoff scenarios are not quite settled… but are getting close.

  • Milwaukee is trailing Philadelphia by a full game entering play today.
  • Philly won a lopsided, rain-shortened game against Washington this afternoon, making the margin 1.5 games.
  • The Brewers and Marlins are locked in a tie that has gone to the 11th inning. The Marlins failed to score in the top of the inning.  [So did Milwaukee… they’re going to the 12th]
  • A Milwaukee loss would effectively end their Wild Card chase, putting them 2 games behind and Philly owns the tie-breaker between those clubs.
  • A Milwaukee win gets them back to 1 game out, but… there’s that pesky tie-breaker working against them.
  • San Diego has a 1.5 games lead over the Phillies for the 5th seed (2nd of 3 wild cards).  A win today puts them up to a commanding 2-game lead, though the Phillies own the tie-breaker between these clubs as well.

dark. Next. Ranking your 2022 Braves

So that’s the up-to-the-moment update:  a Braves win means that the champagne can be put on ice.  A Braves loss means they will have to grind it out to the bitter end.  ESPN tonight if you don’t have tickets.