Atlanta Braves' Travis d'Arnaud, right, celebrates with teammate Dansby Swanson after hitting a home run during the fourth inning in Game 2 of a baseball National League Division Series against the Miami Marlins Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020, in Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Braves Look to Overthrow NL East Leading Mets

The New York Mets continue a three-game series Tuesday against the Atlanta Braves in a fight for the top spot in the National League East. The Braves had won eight of their last 10 games before Monday’s match up and have steadily closed the gap between their second-place standing and the NL East-leading Mets. The Mets improved to 54-33 after defeating Atlanta 4-1 at Truist Park on Monday, giving them a two and a half game lead over the Braves.

Dominance from Max Scherzer

The Mets climbed to the top of the standings while missing two arms from its starting rotation in Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer.  Scherzer has returned from seven weeks on the injured list due to a strained left oblique muscle. He got the start on the mound to open the series against the Braves and led the Mets to victory, retiring 20 of the first 21 batters he faced. In his seven innings pitched, Scherzer finished with nine strikeouts and no walks.

The Braves battle back

The defending World Series champions have chipped away at the Mets division lead, cutting what once was a 10 1/2 game deficit on June 1 down to just 1 1/2 games entering the three-game series. The teams have only seen each other once this season in early May when they split a four-game series. Atlanta will be looking to carry momentum at the plate from a few top performers. Shortstop Dansby Swanson is sporting a .299 batting average with 19 doubles, 14 home runs and 50 RBIs. Over the last 10 games, Austin Riley is 19-for-41 including five home runs and 16 RBI. Riley accounted for the only Braves run on Monday with a solo home run. The blast extended the third baseman’s home run streak across three-straight games.

Fight for NL East

Monday’s game also marked the first of 15 remaining games between the two clubs for the regular season. After pulling away from the rest of the NL East, whichever team wins more games in their head-to-head matchups will stand the best chance to claim the division title. If the Braves can come out on top, it’ll be their fifth straight NL East title.

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