1. There is something special about the 2022 Braves: With their backs against the wall, they play their best. The games and moments are never too big for the team who continues to conquer them.
“That’s exactly what we do,” A.J. Minter said. “That’s the recipe for a great team, a World Series team.”
The Braves have done the unlikely – and we’re not calling it the “impossible” because this club has proven it isn’t your average bunch.
Not only did the Braves sweep the Mets, beating New York’s top three starting pitchers, but Atlanta is on the verge of erasing its largest deficit in the division era to win a title. (The 1993 team was 10 games behind first-place San Francisco). After play on June 1, the Braves trailed the Mets by 10-1/2 games. The Braves are 76-32 since then.
The Braves knew they needed a sweep to take control of the division and capture the tiebreaker (which is head-to-head record).
As they have all season, they delivered again.
“We’re a win away from accomplishing our goal when we left spring training,” manager Brian Snitker said. “This is about as exciting and emotional of a series as I’ve ever been a part of, even all the playoff series and everything. This was something else.”
2. A few months ago, the Braves struggled to gain momentum. Some wrote them off, calling their World Series run a fluke, saying they were dead this season.
It all turned.
“I don’t think there was one thing – I really don’t,” Matt Olson said. “I think everybody knew that we were kind of underperforming when we were floating around that .500 range. It was one of those things where it was trust in the talent we had in there and the guys in the clubhouse.
“I think a big part of it was not panicking. It’s easy to get halfway through the season, not be where you want and try to mix stuff up. Through and through, everybody was just solid, head down, keep doing your work, it’ll turn around.”
The Braves had been there before. They’re hardened.
They have tasted success and experienced the adversity necessary to attain it.
“It’s become just kind of surreal how we’ve been playing over the past five years,” Minter said. “You never take it for granted because it’s so hard to win a division.”
3. In the bottom of the third inning on Sunday, Travis d’Arnaud put together one of the best at-bats you will ever see to deliver the go-ahead blow against his former team.
“Probably the turning point of the game, if you go back and really look at it,” Olson said.
With the bases loaded, two outs and Atlanta trailing by a run, d’Arnaud put a two-run single into center field to win an eight-pitch battle with Chris Bassitt, ending the pitcher’s night. D’Arnaud fell behind 0-2 and eventually spoiled three tough pitches before giving the Braves a lead they never relinquished.
4. With his home run, Dansby Swanson became the first Brave to homer in every game of a three-game series versus the Mets since Andruw Jones in 2006. Swanson held this honor for about two hours.
Now he shares it.
In the bottom of the sixth inning, Olson launched a solo home run, his third in as many games this weekend.
If you want a simple sentence on this series, here goes: The Braves’ stars showed up, the Mets’ stars did not.
5. The Braves’ bullpen completely dominated the Mets, allowing one run over 12-2/3 innings across three games.
“We believe that we were one of the best bullpens last year,” Minter said, “and that we could carry it over to this year.”
The lone run? It scored in garbage time in the first game.
The Braves’ bullpen finished the Mets again on Sunday as Atlanta put itself an inch away from another division crown.
“We know where we stand and what this series meant,” Minter said. “We had to come in here and sweep ‘em, and that’s exactly what we did. I’m just still at a loss for words about how well everyone executed. Everyone did their job. There were no flaws whatsoever.”
Stat to know
100 - The Braves have won 100 games for the ninth time in franchise history and the first since the 2003 Braves won 101 games.
“Oh man, it’s something you talk about in spring and hope for in spring. Obviously, it’s your goal and mindset when the season starts. For us to now have a good shot of winning the East now, it’s a good feeling, especially when both us and the Mets are tremendous teams.”-d’Arnaud on being a win away from another NL East title
Bryce Elder will start Monday’s game in Miami, which begins at 6:40 p.m.