The New York Mets and Atlanta Braves just completed a three-game series that had massive implications on the NL East race.
The Mets entered the series with a one-game advantage over the Braves, and they were looking to create some additional separation.
The Braves had other plans.
Atlanta took all three games from New York and stole the division lead in the process.
Now, with just a few days remaining in the MLB regular season, the Braves are on the verge of winning the NL East, and the Mets are going to need a miracle to win the division crown.
There’s Only 1 Way The Mets Can Still Win The Division
The Mets now trail the Braves by two games in the NL East.
Each team has three games remaining in the regular season.
The Mets will host the Washington Nationals for three, and the Braves will face the Miami Marlins on the road for three.
The Braves won the season series over the Mets, so if the two teams were to finish tied atop the division, Atlanta would win the crown.
That means New York needs to finish the season a full game ahead of Atlanta in order to win the NL East, and there’s only one scenario in which that happens.
The scenario looks like this:
- Mets sweep Nationals
- Braves get swept by Marlins
Both of those things need to happen for New York to win the division.
If the Mets lose a single game or the Braves win a single game, the NL East will belong to Atlanta for the fifth straight season.
BRAVES SWEEP THE METS 🧹
Magic number to clinch the NL East: 1⃣ pic.twitter.com/KqqEtbt85o
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) October 3, 2022
Needless to say, New York’s hopes are hanging on by a thread, and the NL East could be a done deal by Monday night.
The Mets do have what it takes to sweep a bad Nationals squad, but the Braves will almost certainly win at least one game against the 67-92 Marlins.
The Good News For The Mets Is…
New York has already clinched a playoff spot.
Even if the Braves do finish the job and win the NL East, the Mets will still find themselves in the playoffs by virtue of a Wild Card bid.
That’s certainly not an ideal outcome for New York, but for an organization that hasn’t been to the playoffs since 2016, any sort of postseason baseball is a beautiful thing.
Still, the Mets shouldn’t give up on their division hopes until they’re officially eliminated from NL East contention.
Stranger things have certainly happened.
A Brutal Playoff Road Ahead?
Unfortunately for the Mets, if they do end up as a Wild Card team, they may have an extremely difficult playoff journey.
The Braves sweep the Mets, own the NL East tiebreaker, have a two-game lead with three to play and have likely sent the Mets to a three-game wild card series vs. a great Padres staff and, if they win that, a DS vs. the 110+ win Dodgers with deGrom and Scherzer going just once.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) October 3, 2022
New York has had the fortune of playing a relatively easy schedule this season (the squad has played the 19th toughest schedule out of all 30 teams, per Power Rankings Guru), but there are no easy opponents in the postseason.
The Mets will need to flip a switch and get hot once the playoffs arrive.
They’ve lost six of their last nine games, and they’re going to need to leave those struggles in the regular season.