Thursday, August 4, 2022

Mets & Braves Battle For First Place This Weekend At Citi Field

Citi Field on Thursday afternoon. Photo by Jason Schott.

Let's party like it's 1999! This weekend at Citi Field, the Mets and Braves will play a five-game series to see who will reign supreme in the National League East, arguably the biggest games since they faced off in that season's National League Championship Series.

The Mets (66-38) have led the National League East all year, and they enter this series with a 3 1/2-game edge over the Braves (63-42). The largest lead the Mets had over Atlanta was on May 31, when the Mets were 34-17, and the Braves were 23-27. 

Since then, Atlanta has been red hot, going 40-15 in the past two-plus months, which is not a shock since they get hot later in the season, as they did last season on their way to a world championship. The Braves pulled to within a half-game on July 23 before the Mets have shown tremendous resiliency since then, as they have won eight of their last nine games and built the lead back to 3 1/2 games.

The Mets and Braves have only played each other seven times this season, with the Mets winning four of them. They split a four-game set at Citi Field in early May, and a few weeks ago, the teams played a three-game set in Atlanta from July 11-13 that the Mets took two of three in a massive statement since they went down there with just a 1 1/2 game edge. They got a win from Max Scherzer, in his second game back after coming off the injured list, in the series opening 4-1 win on the 11th, and then Atlanta took the middle game by the same 4-1 score before Chris Bassitt had his best outing of the season the Amazin's rolled to a 7-3 win.

The Mets are a season-high 28 games over .500 at 66-38, and is the second-best record through 104 games to the 1986 team's 70-34. The 28 games over .500 is the most since they finished the 2006 season with a record of 97-65. Their 66 wins are second in the National League to the Los Angeles Dodgers, who are 71-33, which is the best-record in Major League Baseball.

A big reason the Mets' record is so good is they are 33-13 against their National League rivals this season. Their .717 division winning percentage is the best in baseball, and they have not lost a series in the division this season. The 14 series in the division that they have won or tied is the third-longest streak by a team to start a season since divisions were created in 1969.

Information For The Five-Game Mets Braves Series:

Tonight, Thursday, August 4, first pitch 7:10 p.m. - starting pitchers - Mets: Carlos Carrasco (11-4, 3.79 earned run average (ERA)), Braves: Kyle Wright (13-4, 2.93)

Friday, August 5, first pitch 7:10 p.m. - starting pitchers - Mets: Taijuan Walker (9-2, 2.79 ERA), Braves: Ian Anderson (9-6, 4.99 ERA) - It will be a "blackout" at Citi Field and all fans will receive a Max Scherzer black T-shirt

Saturday August 6 will be a day-night doubleheader, with Game 1 at 1:10 p.m. and the second game at 7:10 p.m. The Mets pitchers will be Max Scherzer (7-2, 2.13 ERA) and David Peterson (5-2, 3.54 ERA), and Atlanta's will be Max Fried (10-3, 2.58) and Jake Odorizzi (4-3, 3.75). It will be Odorizzi's Braves debut, as he was acquired from Houston on Tuesday. Who will pitch each game for each team is still to be determined.

Sunday, August 7, first pitch at 4:10 p.m. - starting pitchers - Mets - Jacob deGrom (0-0, 1.80 ERA), Braves: Spencer Strider (5-3, 2.91 ERA). It will be deGrom's home debut, as he made his first start of the season on Tuesday in Washington, when he went five innings, and allowed one run on three hits and no walks, with six strikeouts, in a game the Mets went on to lose, 5-1.

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