Sunday night, the Atlanta Braves completed the mission for the weekend: sweep the New York Mets. While the collapse was more than monumental for the Metropolitans, the 5-3 victory has reduced Atlanta’s magic number to one. The Braves could clinch the division with a single victory in the upcoming three-game series against the Miami Marlins or a Mets loss in their upcoming series against the Washington Nationals. 

Moreover, the Braves, barring something unforeseen, will complete a turnaround that was equally improbable when they were 10.5 games out of first place on June 1. It was not lost on the mind of Atlanta Braves manager Brian Snitker.

“When we were flirting around that .500 range and it was one of those things where it was, it was trust and you know, the talent in here and the guys in the clubhouse and I think a big part of that was not panicking,” said Braves first baseman Matt Olson.

Truist Park was sold out for all three games of the series. Also, the Braves closed out the regular season with more than 3.1 million fans passing through the gates this season. Additionally, it was the first time the Braves have won 1o0 or more games in a season since 2003.

“This place has been electric all weekend,” said Snitker. “You know, with NFL football, college football, and everything else, this place was packed. I mean it was just as electric as it was all year.”

Dylan Lee picked up the victory for the Braves, his fifth of the season. Chris Bassitt took the loss for the Mets. Kenley Jansen, who has been the center of controversy outside of the clubhouse, earned his 40th save of the season. Snitker spoke to the whispers regarding Jansen’s performance and he says Jansen is unbothered by the outside noise.

Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Charlie Morton throws in the first inning of a baseball against the New York Mets, Sunday, Oct. 2, 2022, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Hakim Wright Sr.)

“I mean, everybody expects these guys to be perfect,” said Snitker of Jansen. “It’s not perfect. It’s the most strenuous inning of the game that these guys pitch. And there’s a reason why we give them the ball in the ninth inning. It doesn’t bother Kenley, I know that I mean, like I said the other day, the fans are going crazy and he’s probably the most calm guy out there and he’s been throwing the ball extremely well. He’s made the adjustments. He’s been willing to do that and he’s throwing the ball really well right now

Shortstop Dansby Swanson and first baseman Matt Olson each hit a home run in every game of the series. According to ESPN Stats and Info, they are the 2nd pair of Braves teammates to hit a HR in each game of a 3-game series, joining Eddie Matthews and Lee Maye, who did so against the Giants in 1961.

“You know, when the game’s on the line… big at bats… you know… I didn’t know if anybody did that play in the ninth inning was unbelievable,” Snitker said of Swanson. That bad hop grounder that he fields off his chest and then you know throws out a fast runner. I mean, that’s why he’s so special. And so important to us. Just that right there in itself.”

Regarding Olson, who arrived in the clubhouse as the new first baseman, replacing a legend and a fan favorite in Freddie Freeman, had every single reason to run away from the expectations that the former MVP left behind. However, Olson has 33 home runs and 101 runs batted in. His production was more than reputable this season. It was outstanding considering the circumstances. 

With the loss, the Mets will likely have to face the Padres and if they advance, the Los Angeles Dodgers, the team with the best record in baseball, having won 110 games to this point. Adding more salt to their misery, the Mets would start ace pitchers Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer only once in the first round and later in the Divisional Series. 

“I am proud of everything they have done,” said New York Mets manager Buck Showalter. “This is not conditional. It’s unconditional, the support, and if I know these guys they will rebound and make somebody feel their pain.”

Meanwhile, Snitker isn’t resting on his laurels.

“When it’s all said and done, you’re sitting there on a Saturday afternoon watching football on your chair or whatever,” said Snitker. “Maybe I’ll reflect at two in the morning when I can’t sleep and I will go out and watch TV.”

Itoro Umontuen currently serves as Managing Editor of The Atlanta Voice. Upon his arrival to the historic publication, he served as their Director of Photography. As a mixed-media journalist, Umontuen...