The Atlanta Braves won’t have to worry about the results of the final series of the year against the New York Mets, who come to town to begin a three-game series on Friday.
The Braves removed all the intrigue when they swept the Philadelphia Phillies and nailed down their fourth straight NL East championship with a 5-3 win on Thursday.
“This one is really big,” Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said after the clinching win. “Last year we were really good and that showed, coming one game away from the World Series. This has been different with all the mountains we’ve had to climb.”
The Braves (86-72) have won six straight and 10 of their last 11, and they are 42-27 since the All-Star Game. The Mets (76-83) were in sole possession of first place in the East from May 8 through Aug. 5, but they collapsed to go 28-43 after the break.
The Mets won three of four against Miami after losing all five games of their previous road trip.
Atlanta and New York have split the 16 games played this season.
Atlanta trailed the Mets by six games on July 28 and didn’t surpass .500 until Aug. 6. A nine-game winning streak helped elevate the team into first place to stay on Aug. 15.
“It was awesome,” said Atlanta pitcher Ian Anderson, who won the clinching game. “It’s a tribute to the guys in the locker room. We knew it wasn’t going to be easy.”
The Braves will send Huascar Ynoa (4-5, 3.98 ERA) to the mound on Friday against New York’s Tylor Megill (3-6, 4.78).
Ynoa will have a hard act to follow. The three Atlanta starters against Philadelphia — Anderson, Charlie Morton and Max Fried — limited the Phillies to four runs, three earned, in 20 innings.
Ynoa will be making his 17th start and is trying to recover from his worst outing of the year. The right-hander allowed a season-high seven runs in 4 2/3 runs against San Diego on Sept. 25. He has never faced the Mets.
Megill allowed four runs in four innings against Milwaukee in his last start on Sept. 24. He gave up five hits, walked four and matched a season low with just two strikeouts. Of 28 rookies to throw at least 70 innings, the right-hander ranks sixth in strikeouts per nine innings (9.89).
Megill allowed one run in 5 1/3 innings in his last start against Atlanta on July 28. He does not have a decision against the Braves in three appearances, with a 3.68 ERA.
The Mets erupted for a 12-3 win against Miami on Thursday and finished 47-34 at home. The game may have been the last in a New York uniform for popular outfielder Michael Conforto, who will be a free agent after the season. Conforto was 3-for-5 and received a standing ovation from the fans after making a shoestring catch in the ninth inning.
“There was a lot of emotion taking the field,” Conforto said. “It all hit me close to the end of the game. … Standing there, hearing my name, them telling me, ‘Don’t go.’ It was a stressful night. It’s tough to put into words, but the emotions were definitely there.”
–Field Level Media