Can the Atlanta Braves Clinch the Division This Week?

The Atlanta Braves are closing in on their Major League-leading 23rd division title and have a slim chance of clinching a division title earlier than any team in the 147-year history of the franchise.
On September 7, 2002,  the Atlanta Braves shut out the Expos 4-0 behind Greg Maddux.
On September 7, 2002, the Atlanta Braves shut out the Expos 4-0 behind Greg Maddux. / Brian Bahr/GettyImages
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On September 7, 2002, the Atlanta Braves shut out the Expos 4-0, and the Pirates helped them out by defeating the Marlins 4-1 to end the Marlins chances of catching Atlanta, leaving the Phillies as the only team with a mathematical chance of catching Atlanta.

On September 8, the Mets stomped on the Phillies 11-3, but the Braves couldn’t close the deal, losing to the Expos 7-0. The Phillies were 20.5 games back with 21 to play, but as the Braves relaxed at home on September 9, the Mets put them out of their misery, beating them 6-4 to sweep the series. 

How Soon Can the Atlanta Braves Clinch?

Today’s magic number is 12, so any combination of Atlanta Braves wins and Phillies losses would seal the deal for Atlanta.

After this afternoon’s game with the Dodgers, the Braves are off on Monday, playing three games against the Cardinals and four games against the Pirates in Atlanta before going to Philadelphia for three games.

The Phillies face the Brewers this afternoon, then head to San Diego to face the surging Padres for three. They have an off day on Thursday before meeting the Marlins for three in Miami.

It’s possible, but highly unlikely, that the Braves will clinch on Friday, September 9. Sealing the deal by next Sunday is possible if the Braves win six of eight and the Phillies lose six of eight, but it’s far more likely the Braves will get to seal the deal at Citizens Bank Park next week.

That’s a Wrap

The only days after September 9 that the Atlanta Braves franchise hasn’t clinched a postseason spot are the 10th,11th,15th, 16th, 17th, 25th, and 28th.

They seem to prefer popping the champagne cork on September 23 (three). September 24 (four) and September 30 (5). I favor September 10 or 11 this year, how about you?