Braves fighting for home-field advantage

September 8th, 2023

This story was excerpted from Mark Bowman’s Braves Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

The likelihood of the Braves clinching their latest division crown in Philadelphia lessened as they lost the first two games of this week’s series against the Cardinals. But there’s still a possibility they get to celebrate on the Phillies’ home field. 

With Thursday night’s win against the Cardinals, the Braves’ magic number for clinching a sixth straight National League East title dropped to 10. They host the Pirates while the Phillies host the Marlins this weekend. 

When the Braves begin a four-game series in Philadelphia on Monday, that magic number could range anywhere from 4-10. If the number drops to eight by the end of play on Sunday, a sweep of the Phillies would end the NL East race. If the number drops to six before the series begins, the Braves would need to take three of four in Philly to clinch before heading to Miami.

There certainly wouldn’t be anything wrong with the Braves clinching in Miami for a second straight year. Heck, it would require enduring a rough stretch, but there also wouldn’t be anything wrong with clinching in Atlanta after the road trip.

But, there are probably plenty of fans who might want to see them celebrate in Philly, where last year’s season ended in disappointing fashion.

As for thoughts about clinching too early, the Braves will still have meaningful games. Home-field advantage during the postseason is determined by regular-season winning percentage. The Braves own a three-game lead over the Orioles in the battle for MLB’s best record and they have a six-game lead over the Dodgers in the battle for the NL’s best record.