Entering the final days of the 2021 baseball regular season, there are only two division races up for grabs: The National League East and West. The Atlanta Braves have a slight lead over the Philadelphia Phillies in the NL East with Atlanta a -210 favorite on the MLB odds and the Phillies +155. The teams do have three games remaining against one another from Sept. 28-30 in Atlanta.
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The Braves are one of just four teams in baseball to not have a losing streak of more than five games this season. The Dodgers, Giants and Phillies are the others. Atlanta has not lost five straight games since dropping six straight spanning the 2020-21 seasons, and five straight spanning the 2018-19 seasons. The Braves have not lost five straight within a single season since six such spells in 2017.
Each of the Braves’ last 11 losses have been by one or two runs. They have seven one-run losses in this stretch and four two-run defeats. The Braves run differential in losses this season is -206, which equates to an average defeat of 2.94 runs. That average margin of defeat is the second lowest in baseball. Only Los Angeles (NL) is lower at 2.44. Atlanta has 29 one-run losses of the season, the second-most such defeats in the majors. Only the Mets have more with 32.
The Braves are just 37-45 in games decided by one or two runs this season, a .451 winning percentage. From 2018-20, Atlanta went 96-66 (.593) in these games.
Since July 1, the Phillies are 36-8 (.818 win %) in games in which they score at least four runs and they have won 13 of their last 14 when doing so. Since July 1, the Phillies are 3-23 (.115 win %) when they score three runs or fewer and they have lost each of their last 13 when doing so. Overall, the Phillies are 62-22 (.738 win %) this season when they score at least four and they are 14-50 (.219 win %) when held to three or fewer.
The San Francisco Giants hold a one-game lead over the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West with the Giants as -125 favorites and the Dodgers +105. Those teams have finished their season series.
If they finish with the same record, the Giants would host a one-game playoff on Oct. 4 because they won the season series 10-9. The loser would host the NL wild-card game Oct. 6, meaning that club would play three games in four days. The two NLDS are scheduled to begin Oct. 8. Here’s how close these clubs played in 2021: The Dodgers outscored the Giants head-to-head 80-78.
Dodger starting pitchers lead the Major Leagues in ERA (2.79), WHIP (1.02), opponents’ average (.205) and opponents’ OBP (.264). The Dodgers’ overall ERA is 2.54 in the second half, which is the club’s best post-All-Star break ERA since posting a 2.26 mark in 1976.
The Dodger pitching staff boasts three of the top arms in the Cy Young race with Walker Buehler, Max Scherzer and Julio Urías. The Dodgers trio is trying to join the 1927 Yankees as the only teams ever to have the top 3 pitchers in MLB in winning percentage at the end of a season (min. 15 decisions).
The Giants have 49 victories at Oracle Park this season. The last time the Giants won at least 50 games at home was 2009 when that club went 52-29. Since Oracle Park opened in 2000, the most victories a Giants team has accumulated at home during the regular season is 57 by the 2003 Giants.Expert Picks Braves win NL East, Dodgers take West
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