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Can the Braves catch the Mets, win NL East title?

We take a look at the race in the NL East and whether the defending champions can overtake New York in the final month of the season.

Dansby Swanson #7 and Ronald Acuna Jr. #13 of the Atlanta Braves celebrate a 6-1 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on August 23, 2022 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

The Atlanta Braves have had quite a follow-up season to their 2021 championship campaign. Coming into Friday, they have won 17 of their past 22 games and sit 30 games over .500, giving them the fourth-best record in baseball.

But they don’t even have the best record in their own division. The New York Mets just won a series against the Dodgers — the best team in MLB — and entered the night with a three-game lead over Atlanta in the NL East. Can the reigning champs catch the Metropolitans?

MLB playoff picture

NL East standings

Mets: 84-48
Braves: 81-51

Braves/Mets schedule breakdown

The Mets have the easiest remaining schedule of any team. Beginning Friday’s home game versus the lowly Nationals, New York is embarking upon a stretch with 16 consecutive games versus sub-.500 clubs. Of their 30 remaining games, only six will come against teams who currently have a winning record.

The Braves, at least on paper, have a much tougher road ahead. Their September slate includes seven games versus the Phillies and three against the Mariners, two teams who are in the thick of their league’s respective Wild Card race. On the lighter side, 14 of Atlanta’s final 30 games come against the Nationals and Marlins.

NL East division odds

Mets: -650
Braves: +450


DraftKings Sportsbook lists the Mets as big favorites to hang on in the East. But if the Braves can remain within striking distance by Sept. 30, all eyes will be on their three-game home series versus New York, beginning that night.

However, given the Mets’ cushy future matchups and the fact that they have their rotation horses — Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer — both healthy and dominating, they should take home their first division crown since 2015.