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NL East showdown on tap, final Wild Card spot still up for grabs

A pivotal three-game series begins Friday night at Truist Park.

MLB: SEP 27 Braves at Nationals Photo by Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

All eyes will be focused on the NL East Friday night when they Atlanta Braves begin a pivotal three-game series against the New York Mets at Truist Park. Atlanta enters the series a game back of New York in the standings and has little margin for error with six games remaining in the regular season. Below is a look at where the National League’s playoff picture stands heading into play Friday.

The Division Race

The Braves are 7-9 against the Mets this season and therefore need to sweep the three-game series in order to take the tiebreaker advantage. If Atlanta takes two of three, then they would still need help in order to come out on top in the division. Friday’s series opener will feature a marquee pitching matchup between Atlanta’s Max Fried and New York’s Jacob deGrom.

The Wild Card

The Wild Card race in the National League is still unsettled heading into the weekend. The Braves or the Mets are assured of the first wild card spot. The San Diego Padres currently hold the second and are 2.5 games up over the Phillies despite two straight losses to the Dodgers. The Padres will begin a three-game series against the White Sox on Friday.

The Phillies are currently hold the final wild card spot, but are just a half game ahead of the Milwaukee Brewers entering play Friday. Philadelphia dropped a 2-0 decision to the Cubs Thursday while the Brewers came up short in a 4-2 loss to the Marlins. Philadelphia is currently scheduled to play a doubleheader in Washington that looks iffy given the current weather situation with Hurricane Ian. The Brewers will continue their series against the Marlins with a heavyweight pitching matchup between Sandy Alcantara and Corbin Burnes.

Playoff Picture

The National League’s playoff picture hasn’t changed, but the Phillies’ grip on the final wild card spot is precarious and the Braves and Mets could swap places depending on the outcome of this weekend’s series.

The NL East winner will receive a bye in the first round of the postseason. If the playoffs began today, the Braves would host the Padres in a best-of-three series that would be played at Truist Park starting on October 7. The winner of that series would then head to Los Angeles to begin the best-of-five Division Series on October 11.

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