It’s been a great week for the Atlanta Braves extending their lead in the NL East, but their work is not done yet with three weeks left to play.
While it hasn’t always been a pretty homestand for the Atlanta Braves, they’ve won their first two series and got some help from the Colorado Rockies to extend their lead in the NL East to 4.5 games over the Philadelphia Phillies.
We have to start mentioning the New York Mets as well who are only 5 games out and are playing much better baseball with a dramatic win on Sunday Night Baseball against the New York Yankees.
Suddenly Francisco Lindor is playing like a $300 million player, which is bad news for the Braves.
Meanwhile, Bryce Harper is doing all he can to keep the Phillies afloat.
To continue that trend of the top player for each team carrying the load, Freddie Freeman has got it going again with 9 hits on the homestand so far, including a pair of homers.
It’s pretty cool to see three superstars like this trying to lift their respective teams to the postseason coming down the stretch.
Braves Magic Number (16)
As mentioned, the Braves enter Monday with a 4.5 game lead over the Phillies with 20 games to go giving them a magic number of 16.
The Phillies only have 19 games left, while the Mets only have 18 games left.
After Monday, the Braves and Phillies only have one off-day the rest of the way, while the Mets have three.
I said last week the Braves need to have at least a three-game lead before heading out West for 10 tough games.
Hopefully they’ll have an even bigger lead than that after this Rockies series.
As we know, the Rockies are a tough team to play right now. We split four games with them in Denver and they just took three-of-four in Philly.
We’ll also be facing their three best pitchers right now in Jon Gray, Antonio Senzatela, and German Marquez.
But if the Braves can win that series, they’ll head out West with at least a 3.5 game lead.
The Phillies will be playing the Cubs who had won eight-of-nine before getting swept by the Giants over the weekend. We really just need the Cubs to find a way to win one of those games.
New York will play the red-hot St. Louis Cardinals who have won four-of-five and are just a game out of the second NL Wild Card spot — two games head of the Mets.
That will be a big series for the Wild Card standings.
And then the Phillies and Mets face-off over the weekend for another big series.
Following an afternoon game against the Rockies on Thursday, the Braves head out West to start a three-game series with the Giants who have the best record in baseball and are trying to hold off the Dodgers in the NL West.
The Giants have a four-game series with the Padres this week and have won seven in a row. Hopefully they’ll cool off in time for the Braves series with them.
This is a week where I think you’re fine with the Braves just going 3-3.
As many people have said recently, the Braves really just need to play .500 baseball the rest of the way and they should be fine.
If the Braves went 10-10 to finish off the year, the Phillies would have to go 14-5 to tie.
That would put the Braves overall record at 86-76, which doesn’t seem great for a division winner, but if that’s what gets it done I’ll be just as happy.
The goal this week, win the series against the Rockies, win a game in San Francisco and Atlanta should be alright.