Mets vs. Braves: Three things to know, how to watch and what we predict when NL East’s rivals meet in Atlanta

The main series of the 2022 MLB regular season is taking place this weekend at Truist Park. Defending World Series champion Atlanta Braves will host NL East rivals New York Mets for three games with the division title very much at stake. The two clubs have been practically next to each other in the table for weeks.

Here is the top of the NL East rankings. The Marlins, Nationals, and Phillies are already out of the division race, so it’s up to these two teams:

  1. meads: 98-58
  2. Brave: 97-59 (1GB)

Wednesday was a monumental day for the NL East race. The Mets came back from a 4-0 deficit to beat the Marlins while the Braves lost to the lowly Nationals in 10 innings. For a few hours it looked like the Braves and Mets would enter the series with identical records, then Eduardo Escobar led the Amazin’ Mets’ comeback.

“They try not to look at the scoreboard, but where we are in the season, six games to go, neck and neck with these guys, we’re also here looking at it.” Mets righty Taijuan Walker told after Wednesday’s win. “Winning the game is huge.”

It should be noted that both the Braves and Mets have already secured a postseason spot. The NL East winner becomes the No. 2 seed and receives a Wild Card Series bye. They go straight into the NLDS while the runner-up is stuck playing a best-of-three wildcard series, though they will host all three games. Obviously the bye has tremendous value as skipping an entire round is tremendous.

Here are the details for this weekend’s massive three-game streak at Truist Park. Games on MLB Network, Fox and ESPN can be streamed fuboTV (Try it for free).

Friday 30 Sept

7:20 p.m. ET

LHP Max Fried (13-7, 2.50) vs. RHP Jacob deGrom (5-3, 2.93)

Bally Sports Southeast, SNY, MLB

Sat 1 Oct

7:20 p.m. ET

RHP Kyle Wright (20-5, 3.18) vs. RHP Max Scherzer (11-4, 2.13)


Sun 2 Oct

7:08 p.m. ET

RHP Chris Bassitt (15-8, 3.27) vs. RHP Charlie Morton (9-6, 4.29)


You couldn’t ask for better pitching matchups (at least as long as Spencer Strider is on the injured list). The Braves pushed Fried back to field him for that series earlier this week and the Mets rearranged their rotation to allow deGrom to start the opener. Each team will start this weekend with their top three and with both clubs having a day off on Thursday both bullpens will go into the series well rested. It’s really like a postseason series.

“It’s going to be a really exciting series” Braves midfielder Michael Harris II told on Wednesday. “Going into the series we still feel good regardless of the loss (on Wednesday). We’re trying to go in there, win the series and win the rest of the games so we can get first place in the East.”

Here are three things to know about this weekend’s all-important series at Truist Park, with a prediction in good measure.

1. The weather should be OK

MLB has prepared contingency plans in the event of Hurricane Ian, originally forecast for a Friday in Georgia, disrupted this weekend’s series. Thankfully, the forecast has improved and it appears the storm won’t be a problem.

MLB considered moving Friday’s game to the afternoon to avoid that night’s storm and moving Saturday’s game to Sunday with a doubleheader. The weather is unpredictable and things can still change, but for now it looks like none of that will be necessary. You can play the three games as planned.

2. What’s at stake

Oh, just the NL East title. The Mets may actually win the division title this weekend. The Braves can’t do that. Here are all the possible results of this weekend’s series:

  • Mets Sweep: Mets claim the NL East title on Sunday.
  • Mets win two out of three: Mets have a two-game lead with a magic number of one.
  • Braves win two out of three: Tie with 99-60 records but Mets hold tiebreaker.
  • Good Sweep: Braves have a two game lead with a magic number of one.

Until the Mets are swept, they will let the series take control of their destiny. The Braves need to win at least two of the three games this weekend to have any realistic shot at their fifth straight NL East title. The season streak has been fairly even so far, with the Mets holding a 9-7 lead despite being outplayed 76-67.

After this weekend’s series, the Mets return home for three games against the Nationals and the Braves travel to Miami for three games against the Marlins. There’s no real schedule imbalance there, as both will finish their three-game regular seasons against a poor team that will have one foot in the batter’s box and the other on the plane for their off-season vacation.

3. Who’s hot, who’s not

The long marathon of the regular season is reduced to a sprint. At this point, it’s not necessarily about which team has the best players, it’s about which team has the hottest players. Timing is everything in this sport. Here are three Mets players who entered this series with strong performances over the past 14 days:

Escobar has also been in a groove for the past few weeks after a mostly disappointing regular season. The Mets go into the weekend averaging 6.1 runs per game in their last 10 games, although beating the Athletics, Marlins and Pirates inflates those numbers a bit. Still, there’s nothing wrong with building confidence against bad teams. The Mets have been swinging it well lately.

Now, here are three Braves players who have ripped their sleeves off the ball in the last 14 days:

Atlanta’s Hottest Players haven’t been as hot as New York’s Hottest Players over the past two weeks, and in fact they have some key players who are in deep slumps. Matt Olson has been one of the worst players in baseball in recent weeks and the midfielder combination of Dansby Swanson and Vaughn Grissom has also struggled a lot in the last fortnight.

Mets outfielder Starling Marte and Braves second baseman Ozzie Albies will both miss this series with broken fingers after the former was hit by a pitch and the latter slid hard into second base. Marte has been among New York’s best players this season, while Albies, who previously missed almost three months with a broken foot, can make the difference.

4. Prediction

We’ll close with a prediction because why not? CBS Sports’ official prediction for this weekend’s series: Braves win two out of three. I’ll admit that’s more of a hope than a prediction because I want the NL East race to finish out of selfishness and Atlanta winning two out of three is the best result for maximum drama. Also, the Mets are oddly only 9-8 in deGrom and Scherzer starts as both have returned from injuries. They are impressive, but not invincible. Mets vs. Braves: Three things to know, how to watch and what we predict when NL East’s rivals meet in Atlanta

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