The New York Mets lead the NL East by a game with 8 games left in the season. The Atlanta Braves are the team on their tail. The showdown will come this weekend when the Mets travel to Atlanta for a 3 game set with the Braves.
The Mets are coming off an interesting series in Oakland. New York took 2 of 3 from the A’s, but alarm bells went off in the second game for Mets fans. Jacob deGrom got hit hard and wasn’t able to make it into the 5th. He ended up getting the loss, which was his second straight start recording a loss against a team destined to lose 100+ games.
Mets fans shouldn’t worry too much about deGrom. As long as he’s healthy, he’s going to give opponents a hard time. He’ll have another crack at it this Saturday in Atlanta.
What Mets fans saw from their bats over the weekend was encouraging. The offensive explosion was led by Francisco Lindor and Pete Alonso. Lindor went 6 for 13 with 4 RBI, bringing his season RBI total to triple digits for the first time in his career. Alonso erupted in Oakland, hitting two home runs and also capturing the Mets single-season RBI record.
Mark Canha also had a great series against his former team. The left fielder went 5 for 13 with 2 doubles. Getting Canha hot as the postseason nears would be huge for the Mets.
The Division’s At Stake
The series against the Braves will be the biggest series of the past 6 seasons for the Mets. There will be a playoff atmosphere in Atlanta as the NL East division’s on the line.
What’s important to remember for Mets fans is the rule change this year. There will be no game 163 if these two teams finish tied. Instead, it will be decided by their head-to-head record during the season.
The Mets hold the season series lead at 9-7. Barring a Braves sweep over the Mets this weekend, the two teams finishing in a tie would mean the Mets would go through to the postseason with a first-round bye.
Both the Mets and Braves will be looking to take advantage of their easy schedules while hoping that the other doesn’t. Outside of their head-to-head matchup, they will each play the Nationals and Marlins before the season ends.
The Head to Head Matchup
The series will begin on Friday between the Mets and the Braves with Chris Bassitt taking on Max Fried. Both pitchers have fared well against each other’s opposing lineups, so expect a low-scoring game.
On Saturday, deGrom will take the hill looking for a bounce-back performance. He’ll take on the only 20-game winner in the league, Kyle Wright. Wright has made two starts against the Mets this season and has recorded a loss in each of them.
Sunday’s game will be on National television and will feature Max Scherzer and Charlie Morton on the hill. If everything goes right for New York, they could be looking to clinch the division in this one. However, the much more likely scenario is that they will be looking to put themselves in a better position to do so in their following series in Queens.
The Mets should be getting a huge boost during this series, as veteran outfielder Starling Marte is expected to return against Atlanta. Marte has been out since early September with a right middle finger injury. He will replace Tyler Naquin in the starting lineup upon his return.
NL East Division Winner Betting Odds
Surprisingly, not every NY Sportsbook has odds listed for who will win the NL East. It’s the only division that has yet to be decided and a head-to-head series still remains.
The Mets have held minus money to win the NL East for a good portion of the year. On August 10th they even held -2000 odds to win on PointsBet. PointsBet is now the best place to bet on the Mets. They hold -325 odds, which is an implied 72.8% chance that the Mets will win the division.
Sportsbooks still see New York as big NL East favorites. With 8 games left, the Mets would have to screw up to relinquish the division. All it takes is one bad loss though. Most Mets fans would tell you that they’ve seen their team let them down once or twice before.
They’d also probably tell you that they haven’t seen a Mets team as talented as the one looking to go on a deep run this year.