It's the point in the season where every night for the Phillies carries great importance, even when they're not playing.
The Phils were off Monday night while the Braves were in Miami and the Mets were in San Francisco.
The Braves have three-game series this week with the lowly Marlins and Orioles, while the Mets have three at the Giants and four at the Dodgers.
The Marlins did not cooperate Monday night, losing a 12-2 laugher to Atlanta. Freddie Freeman homered and drove in three runs, Ozzie Albies had a three-hit night and Dansby Swanson stayed hot with a multi-hit, multi-RBI game.
Since July 27, Swanson has hit .390 with four doubles, seven homers and 25 RBI in 19 games. The Braves' offense is locked in, with Austin Riley quietly having himself an MVP-caliber season.
The win increased the Braves' lead to 1½ games over the Phillies and 3½ games over the Mets. The Mets lost their series opener in San Francisco.
The Braves woke up with a 61.5% chance to win the NL East, according to Baseball-Reference, which had the Phillies at 35.6% and the Mets at 3.2%. Obviously, those percentages can change significantly in just one night, the same way a team's win probability in the eighth inning can change significantly with a home run. Atlanta gained about five percentage points Tuesday.
The Braves welcome back starting pitcher Huascar Ynoa Tuesday night. Ynoa was 4-2 with a 3.02 ERA in nine games this season before fracturing his right hand and going on the injured list three months ago today.
The Braves' upcoming schedule is unusual, to say the least. They have two straight scheduled off-days next week, which you hardly ever see, especially for a team playing at home. No team has had two consecutive scheduled off days not related to the All-Star break since 2019, when the Yankees and Red Sox had time off after a trip to London. The Braves host the Yankees Monday and Tuesday, then are off Wednesday and Thursday before hosting the Giants.
The Mets are in the midst of a gauntlet. They were completely outplayed and swept at home by the Dodgers, and they still have nine more in a row against the teams with the two best records in baseball. They've had enough already of L.A. but get the Dodgers again this weekend. They could be buried by this time next week.
The Phillies and Braves both have very easy remaining schedules. The Phils play 27 of their final 44 games against the six worst teams in the National League (D-backs, Nationals, Marlins, Rockies, Cubs, Pirates) and the worst team in the American League (Orioles). The Braves have six series left against those same cellar-dwellers.
The Phillies don't see the Braves again until September 28-30 in Atlanta.