The Mets and the Braves will play what is almost inarguably the most important single series of the MLB regular season Friday through Sunday. With the Mets holding a one-game lead in the NL East, both teams are looking to come out of this weekend with the division lead.
It's going to be all-marquee all weekend, with Jacob deGrom and Max Fried starting on Friday. The lights are going to be shining just a little brighter at Truist Park, as both of these teams have been jockeying all year. With just six games left on the year for both these teams, this series will be pivotal in determining the outcome.
The Mets have a bit less work to do than the Braves do. Even if the Braves take two of three in this series, the Mets own the tiebreaker. So the Braves have to sweep to enter the final series of the season with a division lead. The Mets are 9-7 this year against the Braves heading into this series, but they are coming off a series in which they lost three of four.
Here's what to know about the potential outcomes of this huge series.
MLB playoff picture: Mets vs. Braves series scenarios
If the Braves sweep, it would be a massive swing of the season series. Not only would that give Atlanta the division lead heading into the season's final series, but it would also give them a 10-9 win of the season series, effectively making it a two-game lead over the Mets. Their magic number would be one.
If the Mets sweep, they would clinch the NL East title with Sunday's win. Simple.
Braves win 2-1
If the Braves take two of three from the Mets, they would go into the final series of the season tied but still behind in the tiebreaker (the Mets would have it 10-9 at that point). They would have a bit of control, but they would need the Mets to lose their final series of the season and the Braves would have to win theirs.
Mets win 2-1
If the Mets win the series but don't sweep, they enter the final series of the season up on the Braves in the division with a magic number of one as well.
In essence, the winner of the series gets a leg up, but the Braves don't truly come out ahead unless they sweep. The Mets, meanwhile, can come out relatively tidy if they manage to win the series in any capacity, but they'd undoubtedly like to clinch in their division rival's park.
Pitching matchups for Mets vs. Braves
This series features some serious firepower in the pitching department, beginning with deGrom and Fried. DeGrom was touched up in his last start against the Athletics, so he'll be trying to bounce back.
It doesn't get any easier for the batting orders from there, with Max Scherzer on the rubber against 20-win Kyle Wright Saturday and Chris Bassitt taking on Charlie Morton Sunday.
Game 1: Friday
Game 2: Saturday
Game 3: Sunday
Something else to look out for Sunday: Morton leads MLB in hit batsmen at 18, and the Mets just set an MLB record with 106 batters hit by pitches this year. They're now at 110. If that happens Sunday, this series could get testy.
Remaining Braves schedule
Here's a look at who the Braves have left.
|9/30||New York Mets|
|10/1||New York Mets|
|10/2||New York Mets|
|10/3||@ Miami Marlins|
|10/4||@ Miami Marlins|
|10/5||@ Miami Marlins|
Remaining Mets schedule
And on the Mets' end:
|9/30||@ Atlanta Braves|
|10/1||@ Atlanta Braves|
|10/2||@ Atlanta Braves|
Luckily, both teams will finish their seasons against teams who checked out a long time ago this season. So there's not really a leg up there.
The main thing to know coming into this weekend: The Mets have an advantage right now, but the Braves have the talent to close that gap. With these pitching matchups, it's appointment viewing for anyone who wants to get a playoff baseball appetizer before the main course.