The Atlanta Braves completed a weekend sweep of the New York Mets to all but clinch their fifth consecutive NL East title after trailing by as many as 10½ games earlier in the season.
Atlanta has a two-game lead – and the head-to-head tiebreaker – entering the final series of the season and its magic number down of one, meaning that a single win or Mets loss will secure the division crown.
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You can count on one hand how many days the Mets weren’t in first place this season, but none of that matters now and it looks like they’ll be relegated to a best-of-three series next weekend as the Braves get a bye to the NLDS.
Five of baseball’s six wild-card berths have been clinched heading into Monday, with the Phillies’ magic number at one for the third spot in the NL.
Here’s how USA TODAY Sports’ eight-person panel voted this week:
Rank (movement from last week)
1. Los Angeles Dodgers (–)
- Dodgers enter the final series of the year with a franchise-record 110 wins.
2. Houston Astros (–)
- Reminder to Astros’ ALDS opponents: Houston has won five years in a row.
3. Atlanta Braves (+2)
- Kyle Wright is the first Braves with 20 wins since Russ Ortiz in 2003.
4. New York Mets (-1)
- Jacob deGrom gave up more homers (9) than walks (8) in 11 starts – with 102 strikeouts.
5. New York Yankees (-1)
- Matt Carpenter (fractured foot) could return for the ALDS, which begins Oct. 11.
6. St. Louis Cardinals (–)
- Albert Pujols hits career home run No. 702 in his final regular-season game at Busch Stadium.
7. Toronto Blue Jays (–)
- Deadline acquisition Whit Merrifield batting .400 with 4 HR and 11 RBI in his last 15.
8. Cleveland Guardians (–)
- Cleveland will host the Wild Card Series as the AL Central champions.
9. Tampa Bay Rays (–)
- The Rays are back in the playoffs for the fourth year in a row.
10. San Diego Padres (–)
- Juan Soto getting hot at the right time, hitting .333 with a 1.070 OPS in his last 15 games.
11. Seattle Mariners (+1)
12. Philadelphia Phillies (-1)
- Did their best to blow it last week, but Phillies enter Monday on the verge of clinching their first playoff appearance since 2011.
13. Milwaukee Brewers (–)
- Fifth straight postseason trip exceedingly unlikely after after losing three of four vs. Marlins.
14. Baltimore Orioles (–)
- Orioles become first team since at least 1900 to post a winning record the year after losing 110 games.
15. San Francisco Giants (+2)
- 2022 bright spot: Second-year closer Camilo Doval proved he’s the real deal.
16. Minnesota Twins (–)
- Carlos Correa (.289 through Sunday) should finish 2022 with his best average since 2017.
17. Chicago White Sox (-2)
18. Arizona Diamondbacks (+1)
- Christian Walker’s 36 home runs are tied for fifth-most in Diamondbacks history.
19. Boston Red Sox (-1)
- Red Sox are 23-50 against the AL East, finishing 4-15 against Toronto.
20. Chicago Cubs (+1)
- Nico Hoerner’s 9 HR this year were more than his previous career major and minor league total combined (8).
21. Los Angeles Angels (-1)
- Shohei Ohtani sets (another) record with $30 million salary in third year of arbitration.
22. Texas Rangers (+1)
- Marcus Semien reaches 100 runs in his first year with Texas.
23. Colorado Rockies (-1)
- C.J. Cron enters the season’s final series sitting on 29 home runs.
24. Miami Marlins (–)
- Cy Young frontrunner Sandy Alcantara won’t start season’s final game vs. Braves.
25. Cincinnati Reds (–)
26. Detroit Tigers (+1)
27. Kansas City Royals (-1)
- With one more steal, Bobby Witt Jr. will be the fourth rookie ever with 20 HR and 30 SB.
28. Oakland Athletics (–)
- Seth Brown hit eight homers with 17 RBI and a .946 OPS in September.
29. Pittsburgh Pirates (–)
- Mitch Keller has a 1.80 ERA in his last five starts spanning 30 innings.
30. Washington Nationals (–)
- Juan Soto, who was traded two months ago, will finish as the Nats’ home run leader with 21.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism