MLB - US Sports: New York Mets @ Atalanta Braves preview
The Atlanta Braves host the New York Mets in a four-game series at Truist Park knowing this is a pivotal series in the Braves' quest for a fifth successive National League East Division title and back-to-back World Series crowns.
The Mets are divisional leaders with the Braves some 5.5 games back from them. New York has led the division since 11th April and while the Braves have whittled down their lead at times to just half a game on 23rd July, the Mets have been able to push away.
New York Mets versus Atlanta Braves, Game one of Four
Truist Park, Atlanta, Georgia
00:20 BST Tuesday 16th August, 2022
How to watch
BT Sport, bet365's live streaming service
NY Mets 2.45, ATL Braves 1.60
Braves' push for the Title
There is one thing you can say about the Atlanta Braves and that they are 'relentless'. The Braves' pursuit of the Mets in the National League East Division and their desire not to give up the World Series title is very admirable, but have they finally met their match in the NL East Division?
The Braves collected their first four-game sweep over divisional side the Miami Marlins for the first time since 2018 and means the Braves are now six unbeaten coming into the series against the Mets.
Since the start of play on 1st June, the Braves' record is, 47-19 (.712 win percentage) is the second best in the Major Leagues, trailing only the Dodgers. This is the best 65-game span by the Braves since June to September 2004 when Atlanta was 48-17.
The Braves are about to enter a stretch of games where they will play three first-placed teams over four series - the Mets, Houston Astros and St.Louis Cardinals with the Pittsburgh Pirates in the middle.
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Mets on course for first NL East title since 2015
The Mets' 6-0 win over the Philadelphia Phillies meant the Mets won the series 2-1 after losing the first game 1-0 on Friday night.
A Jacob deGrom/Edwin Diaz masterclass on Saturday night meant the deciding game on Sunday was expected to be tight. Mets' pitcher Chris Bassitt was electric and picked up his 10th win of the season with the former Met pitcher taking his sixth loss of the season for the Phillies.
That win enabled the Mets to keep their record of 5.5 games over the Braves, if the Mets can square the series, they will have knocked the confidence of Atlanta of overtaking them.
If the Mets can win the series they will have effectively won the NL East. They are currently 17.00 to win the Division.
At the start of September the Mets will play 16 consecutive games against sides that are not competing for a Divisional title or even a Wild Card spot; it is the easiest run-in of any of the number one placed Division sides.
The Mets are now 35 games over .500 their highest mark since 2006. Only four Mets teams have exceeded that limit. In 2015, (the last time they won the NL East title) the Mets took control of the NL East Division in early August, but didn't wrap things up till mid-September.
Speaking to the official New York Mets' website, second baseman Jeff McNeill said: "It's a big week for us, playing the Braves and then the Phillies and then the Braves and then the Phillies again.
"We're going to go out there and do the same thing we've done all year; come out ready to play, take one game at a time, and then we'll see where we are at the end of the week.”
Head to Head
The Mets lead the Braves 8-4 in the wins column this season with seven games to come all at Truist Park.
If the Braves are going to close down the Mets, they will probably be required to win all four games of this first series.
The Mets have won five of the last six matchups, four of those wins coming at Citi Field though.
On the mound
The Mets will send up Carlos Carrasco to pitch game one. The 35-year-old has a 13-4 record with a 3.76 ERA.
The Braves will have their star rookie Spencer Strider on the mound. The 23-year-old has a 6-4 record with a 3.11 ERA.