Things are subject to change in the National League playoff bracket but something that is unlikely to look any different is the only shot the New York Mets and Atlanta Braves have at playing each other in the postseason.
These two longtime rivals that have built up bad blood many times in the past and seen each other in the postseason twice before could once again look across the diamond and see each other.
Only a single scenario exists where the Mets and Braves could play each other in the postseason. It’s in the NLCS.
The Mets vs. Braves playoff matchup can only happen in the NLCS
Regardless of who takes the division, the Mets and Braves will not get a chance to meet in the postseason aside from an NLCS matchup. By then, one of the clubs will have already had to win a best of 3 and a best of 5. The other, we’re biasedly hoping for it to be the Mets, will only need to have gotten through the winner of the St. Louis Cardinals versus whoever they end up playing.
It’s two very different paths these two teams could have prior to potential NLCS clash. The wild card spot would give New York or Atlanta three tries at home to go against whoever has the second wild card—the San Diego Padres look like the safest bet there. From there, they would then play a best of 5 against the Los Angeles Dodgers who will have had a chance to rest up and have their best arms ready to start.
Meanwhile, the division winner will play the victor between the St. Louis Cardinals and whoever their wild card opponent is—possibly the Padres but maybe also the Philadelphia Phillies or even the Milwaukee Brewers.
The Mets and Braves have squared off twice before in the postseason. The first was in 1969 when the Braves represented the National League West in a geographically poor placement that was never corrected when they moved eastward from Milwaukee. In 1999, the Braves had their vengeance by winning the second match between the two.
An increased number of wild card teams should set up for some future opportunities for the Mets and Braves to see each other in the postseason in future years. This season, with both teams locked up with at least an appearance, we’ll need to wait until the NLCS before the rubber match takes place.