Baseball is mathematically past the halfway mark already, but many teams don’t see the first half as history.  Many teams still have many big games in the first half. 

There are 162 baseball games in baseball’s regular season, so 81 games is the mathematical halfway point in the season.  Even though that is true, many people look at the All-Star Break as the ending of the first half.

With that said, there are quite a lot of teams who have big series left in the “first half” of the 2010 MLB season.  Two of these teams are the New York Mets and Atlanta Braves.

The Braves and Mets top the National League East, with the Braves in first place by three games over the Mets, who currently stand in second place. It’s a very close race so far in the season.

The Mets are welcoming in the Braves Friday, for a three game set in Citi Field.  This will be a crucial series for both teams.

The Braves will try to extend their lead over the Mets, and the Mets will do their best to prevent that from happening.  If any team sweeps than it will dramatically change the landscape of the National League East going into the All-Star Break.

With a bit of simple math, if the Braves sweep the Mets than the Mets would fall to six games back, and if the Mets sweep they will be tied for the first.  This series holds many possibilities for both teams.

The Mets have played phenomenal at home this season and the only team with a better record at home is the Braves.  The Mets swept the Braves earlier in the season, but that was when the Braves were in their nine game losing skid.  They are a totally different team now.

If the Mets win the series then they will be trailing the Braves by two games going into the break.  If the Braves win the series then they will be leading the Mets by four games going into the break. 

The question is, is this a must win series for the Mets?  My answer to that question would be no.  I do think that it is a critical part of the season so far, and it would be fantastic to cap off a great first off with a big series win. 

However, a series win is not mandatory, but something is.  The Mets have to avoid getting swept.  If the Braves sweep the Mets it could really change things up.  The Phillies might swap places with the Mets, and two good teams in front of you in the standings is never good.

With that said, I do believe that the Mets will win two out of three in this big series.  They are currently going with a four man rotation and that means that Mike Pelfrey and Johan Santana will be on the mound for the second and last game of the series.

R.A. Dickey will lead off the series for the Mets, and Jerry Manuel likes to have his knuckleballer lead off series because he believes it might throw off the team for the rest of the series. 

The Mets also have a hot David Wright, and if Jose Reyes is feeling good enough to swing from his left side again then he’ll be strong in this series too.  The Braves are a tough opponent, but if the Mets play good baseball then they can beat anyone.  I’m predicting a big series win for the Mets that would send them to the break in great shape.

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