Atlanta – Of course it came to the regular season finale between the division contenders.
The Mets have made significant progress in the Eastern National League to begin the 2022 season. As they cooled off, they won 59 percent of their games from June 1 onwards – a good enough rate to win the central division in both leagues.
The problem, of course, is that the Mets play in the Pacific Northeast, and they simply haven’t done enough. Starting in June, the defending world champion Atlanta Braves They woke up early He won 71 percent of their games, including all three games in the crucial final weekend of the regular season.
The Atlanta Mets tied the class race with a win on Friday. served with Another win on Saturday. On Sunday, Atlanta completed the sweep with a 5-3 victory, earning the right to control their own destiny with the assurance that the Mets would play in the wild cards round of the playoffs, likely against the San Diego Padres.
With three games left before the start of the next season on Friday, Atlanta are two games ahead of the Mets, and their magic number is one. In other words, the Braves need only one win or one Mets loss to win their fifth consecutive title. Sunday’s Atlanta win secured the season series over the Mets, 10-9, and an advantage in the tiebreak if teams held the same record as Wednesday, the last day of the regular season.
If the Atlanta completes its mission, it will be overtaken by a stunning turnaround and scratch-off by the Mets, who led the division by a season-high 10½ games on June 1.
“They hit us hard this weekend,” said Pete Alonso, the Mets’ number one baseman. “They played well. Good for them. Tilt your hat.”
The Mets return home to face the Washington Nationals, the worst team in baseball. And they may suddenly root with another division rival: the humble Miami Marlins, who are slightly better than the Nationals, as they host Atlanta for their last three games.
Why the section title matters so much: The prize is a first round goodbye. The Atlanta and Mets had already asserted themselves a place in the post-season, but the difference is that they get five days off and advance directly to the best of five series in exchange for a day off before playing in the top three riders. Round card. The Los Angeles Dodgers are waiting in the Division Series for a wild card track, the best team in baseball with 110 entry wins on Monday and other first-round holders of the NL.
“It’s not like they’re not going to get a chance,” Mets manager Buck Showalter said of his players. “They gained something regardless.”
He later added, “I’m proud of everything they’ve done. It’s not conditional. It’s unconditional, support. And if I knew these guys, they would bounce back and look forward to making someone feel their pain.”
The Mets had reason to be confident entering the series against Atlanta. They had their top three starting bowlers: Jacob Degrom, Max Scherzer, and Chris Bassett — with the first two being baseball’s top bowlers. Instead, they each stumbled against the third-highest offense in baseball. On a combined 14 runs, DeGrum, Scherzer and Bassett coughed up 11 throws and six home runs.
Most of the damage came from Atlanta’s all-star shortstop, Dansby Swanson, and first baseman, Matt Olson. Swanson attacked every bowler at the start while Olson shone in every game.
“Everyone understood what was at stake during the series, and we definitely rose to the occasion,” Swanson said.
On Sunday, Swanson gave Atlanta a 1-0 lead with a blast from Bassett in the first half. The Mets recovered quickly, taking a 3-1 lead in the third inning at home by right-back Jeff McNeill and single-scoring by designated hitter Daniel Vogelbach, who had also been back in the previous frame.
But Atlanta’s hits and throws were simply too much. In the third inning, Olson drew a rule-bound walk against Bassett, then Travis Darno lifted Atlanta to a 4-3 lead single-handedly from two rounds. Three rounds later, Olson smashed his fifth home career in the last six games, and added more misery for Mets fans.
On the hill, the Atlanta bullpup only surrendered once over the course of 13 turns in the series. Closer Kenley Jansen got a save on every win.
“When I looked at the schedule in spring training, we had here against the Phillies for three and here against the Mets for three,” Darno said, referring to another Northeastern competitor, the Philadelphia Phillies, the third and last place in the Premier League. “You knew we were all going to be great teams and it would be up to us. It’s amazing how it turned out to be what it was in the past three days.”
Given the high stakes in the game, Atlanta manager Brian Sneaker said he joked with his wife on Friday that the playoffs would start on that day and not October 7.
He said, “This has been an absolutely thrilling and emotional series that I’ve been a part of, even the whole qualifying series and everything.” “
After catching McNeill’s volleyball in Sunday’s final, Atlanta’s right-hander Ronald Acuña Jr raised his fist and shrieked as the crowd roared. It was Atlanta’s 100th win of the season and their first 100-win campaign since 2003. The Mets, who had 98 wins after Sunday and their first post-season trip since 2016, were waiting to push Atlanta over the edge.
“They’ve been a great team all year,” Olson said. We knew there was nothing to take lightly. They’re about to win 100 games, too.”
But as Alonso said: The Mets played well, but the brave ones played better.
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