Brave New World


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The recent heat wave unequivocally ensures that no one will mistake this for October, but [this week’s series] pitting the NL East-leading New York Mets against the second-place Atlanta Braves—which begins tonight—certainly has a playoff feel to it.


Although the Mets [currently lead the Braves] by 4.5 games, the kings of Queens have lost six of nine games to Atlanta this season and realize the importance of these next three contests. “I don’t know the history of it, but I’d be willing to guess that there haven’t been too many division champs that didn’t beat the second- or third-place team in a series over the whole season,” Mets third baseman David Wright said.


Atlanta is especially primed to cut into New York’s lead [after upgrading] both their lineup and bullpen before last week’s trade deadline. The Braves struck last-minute deals to acquire Texas slugger Mark Teixeira and Kansas City reliever Octavio Dotel, which bolstered an already strong squad that currently ranks second in hitting and seventh in pitching in the National League. Still, Mets manager Willie Randolph said his team wasn’t worried about Atlanta’s transactions. “We don’t react to other people,” he said. “We take care of our own business.” Well this week’s business seems especially important, Willie, so your team best be ready.


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