Two weeks ago, the New York Mets enjoyed a stranglehold on first place in the NL East. While the Mets are still on top of the division, both the Atlanta Braves and Philadelphia Phillies have stormed back into the race, setting up the potential for a two- or three-way showdown over the summer.
The Braves are currently riding an 11-game winning streak, while the Phillies won nine in a row before losing 13-1 to the Arizona Diamondbacks on Sunday.
Braves cut into NL East gap while Mets struggle out West
The Mets battled through a 10-game West Coast road trip during that time, going a respectable 5-5. But with Atlanta and Philadelphia beating up on opponents over the past two weeks, New York’s lead in the NL East shrunk considerably.
The Braves have now closed to within 5.5 games of the Mets. Meanwhile, the Phillies are now nine games back and have climbed back to the .500 mark.
The Mets remain the -245 favorite to win the NL East at DraftKings Sportsbook. The Braves are now a +255 pick to take the division, with the Phillies (+1400) still hanging around in the race.
“We’ve got a good thing going,” Braves outfielder Adam Duvall said after Sunday’s 5-3 win over the Pirates, in which he hit two home runs. “There’s a good clubhouse and good energy. When we don’t play how we want, we don’t panic. We just trust the process, and it all works out.”
The Phillies have far more ground to make up than the Braves, though their nine-game winning streak put Philadelphia back in the thick of the playoff race. The Phillies are now just 3.5 games behind Atlanta and San Francisco for the last two NL wild-card berths with more than 100 games left to play in the season.
Phillies focused on winning series
The Phillies know they don’t have to win every game to make the playoffs.
“Obviously, we didn’t play the sharpest today,” Phillies outfielder Kyle Schwarber told reporters. “We won the series. There’s things that you take away, you learn from and you move on. But there’s still a lot of positives in what we’ve been doing. And I think that’s going to be the biggest takeaway – it’s the positive stuff from what we’ve been doing here the last 11 days. It’s playing really solid baseball.”
The Phillies still have work to do. FanGraphs only gives Philadelphia a 33.6% chance of making the playoffs, and just a 4% shot at winning the division.
|NL East Odds (via DraftKings Sportsbook)
|New York Mets: -245
|Atlanta Braves: +255
|Philadelphia Phillies: +1400
|Miami Marlins: +7000
|Washington Nationals: +100000
On the other hand, Atlanta has thrust itself into the mix. Fangraphs projects the Braves to have a 33.3% shot at winning the division, and an 11.1% chance of winning the World Series – better even than the Mets (10.6%). DraftKings largely agrees, making Atlanta a -350 pick to end up in the postseason, while Philadelphia sits at +155 to get a playoff spot.
Still, new Phillies manager Rob Thomson says his team is on the right path.
“That’s the message to the guys. Just move forward,” Thomson told reporters. “Just keep winning series.”