Mets-Braves series: Everything you need to know

September 30th, 2022

The most significant regular-season series of the year -- likely in all of baseball, but certainly in the National League East -- has arrived.

The Mets and Braves are scheduled to play three games this weekend at Truist Park in Atlanta, in a series that will have significant implications on the division title. Although a clinch is relatively unlikely for either team, the winner of the series will come away with an excellent chance to win the NL East over the final three games of the season next week.

For the Mets, it’s a chance to legitimize their contention after half a decade away from the postseason. For the Braves, it’s a key element of their World Series defense.

When are the games?

The series is scheduled to take place Friday (7:20 p.m. ET), Saturday (7:20 p.m. ET) and Sunday (7:08 p.m. ET).

Where to watch:

Friday’s game will be a local broadcast on SNY in the New York market and on Bally Sports Southeast in Atlanta. Saturday and Sunday will be national broadcasts on FOX and ESPN, respectively. Fans can also watch the games on MLB.TV.

Each team’s radio affiliate (WCBS 880 in New York; 680 AM/93.7 FM The Fan in Atlanta) will also broadcast all three games.

What’s at stake?

If the Mets win all three games, they will clinch the NL East title. If they win two of three, they will have an effective magic number of 1, making them prohibitive favorites to win the division. Even if the Mets win only one of three, they’ll remain in control of their own destiny.

For the Braves, a three-game sweep would swing the division back in their favor, giving them a two-game lead with three to play. Atlanta needs to win at least two of the three games to have a realistic shot at a fifth consecutive NL East title.

The division winner is guaranteed to earn the No. 2 seed and a first-round bye into the NL Division Series, while the loser will be the No. 4 seed and host a best-of-three Wild Card Series against the Padres, Phillies or Brewers.

What’s the season series record?

The Mets have won nine of the first 16 meetings between these clubs, which is a significant detail. Unlike in years past, there will be no Game 163 tiebreakers to decide division races. If the Mets can earn even a single victory in Atlanta, they’ll win the season series and need only to tie the Braves for the NL East lead to win the division.

What are the pitching matchups?

The Mets rejiggered their rotation for the series, pushing up to start the series opener on Friday. The Braves also altered their rotation so that can start that game.

Here are the current probables, barring weather complications:

Friday: RHP Jacob deGrom (5-3, 2.93) vs. LHP Max Fried (13-7, 2.50)
Saturday: RHP (11-4, 2.13) vs. RHP (20-5, 3.18)
Sunday: RHP (15-8, 3.27) vs. RHP (9-6, 4.29)

What is the weather situation?

All week, the teams and Major League Baseball have been monitoring Hurricane Ian, but the latest forecasts indicate rain will not affect this series. The storm has shifted farther to the east than previously projected. But while there may not be any precipitation, there’s still a chance wind created by the storm could either benefit or frustrate some hitters during the weekend.

What are the keys for each club?

Mets: Just as the Mets believed back in Spring Training, it’s all about deGrom and Scherzer. If those two can both go deep into their starts and hand the ball directly to back-end relievers and , the Mets will be in excellent position to win the series.

Braves: With Cy Young Award candidates Fried and Wright -- MLB’s only 20-game winner this season -- the Braves have the high-quality frontline starters who can effectively match up against deGrom and Scherzer. Great pitching battles can often be decided by the long ball. The Braves have the deeper, more dangerous lineup. Eight Atlanta players have hit at least 15 homers this year.

Who’s hot and who’s not?

Mets: In crunch time, the Mets have been relying on their stars. Shortstop is riding a 13-game hitting streak, tied for the longest by a Met this season, while has five homers and 16 RBIs over his last eight games. The Mets will need production from the top of their order since they’ve received virtually nothing from their DHs and catchers in recent games.

On the pitching side, Scherzer has allowed three runs over his last four starts combined, while deGrom is coming off his worst start (4 IP, 5 ER) in more than three years. “Hot” may not be a strong enough word for Díaz, who has allowed three runs over his last 39 appearances.

Braves: has hit .340 with three homers and a .971 OPS over his past 15 games. Michael Harris II has strengthened his NL Rookie of the Year bid by posting a .929 OPS in September. has hit .134 with a .482 OPS over his past 28 games. But he’s shown some signs of a turnaround, going 5-for-14 with a double and two homers over his past four games.

What about Francisco Álvarez?

It's true, the Mets called up their top prospect in time for Friday's opener. Although Álvarez is a catcher, he will serve mostly as a DH for now and is likely to start against left-handed pitchers such as Fried. He's in the lineup tonight batting seventh.

Are there any injuries of note?

Mets: The most significant Mets injury is to outfielder , who has not played since fracturing his right middle finger when a Mitch Keller fastball struck him Sept. 6 in Pittsburgh. As of Wednesday, Marte’s finger was still immobilized in a splint; his attempts at throwing a baseball or swinging a bat ended in discomfort. Marte is unlikely to appear in the series and could miss the rest of the regular season.

Braves: would have likely gotten a start in this series had his left oblique not forced him to the injured list last week. The Braves are hopeful Strider will be available once the postseason begins.

has played just four games against the Mets and he will again be absent during this series. Albies fractured his left foot in June, returned in September and fractured his right pinkie one day later. The All-Star second baseman will likely be sidelined until at least the NL Division Series.