As Kurt Suzuki said, “if you want to be the best, you have to beat the best.”
The Braves are getting another chance at it.
The Braves hosted the Red Sox in the second of a three-game series at SunTrust Park on Tuesday. The Red Sox entered the game with a 95-44 record, easily the best in major league baseball. The Yankees have the next-highest win total in both leagues, with 86 wins.
Braves manager Brian Snitker and several players acknowledged a playoff-like atmosphere for the series between division-leading clubs so late in the season.
The Red Sox won the series opener 8-2 on Monday as they broke open a one-run game with two runs in the eighth and three runs in the ninth innings.
The Braves were 1-2 in a series in Boston in May.
Even with a long 162-game regular season, series such as these can be measuring sticks.
“When we went there in May, I was excited to get there and see how we stack up,” Snitker said. “This is a really deep, solid team. You know that going in. Their record speaks for itself. They are the best. It’s exciting to play them.”
The Braves, at 76-61, lead the National League East with a lead of 3-1/2 games over the Phillies entering play Tuesday.
Since 2006, the Braves have lost 13 of 16 games against the Red Sox in Atlanta, including four consecutive.
“I like where we were, just one inning got away from us,” Snitker said of Monday’s loss. “It felt good at 3-2 and where we were.”
It remains to be seen if there will be another series between the teams, say in October.