Braves Royals Baseball

Atlanta Braves' Dansby Swanson, left, Billy Hamilton (9) and Ozzie Albies (1) celebrate after scoring on a double by Josh Donaldson during the eighth inning of a baseball game against the Kansas City Royals on Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2019, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

The Atlanta Braves head to New York to face the Mets in the final regular season series of the year.

The Braves come in with a 97-62 record, having already wrapped up the National League East and the No. 2 spot in the NL behind the West Division champion Los Angeles Dodgers.

Meanwhile, the Mets played well during the second half of the season, but they headed into Thursday night's game against the Miami Marlins with a 83-75 record, a distant 13½ games behind Atlanta. New York was eliminated from playoff contention Wednesday night when the Milwaukee Brewers secured a wild-card spot.

Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson finally looked like the player he was in the first half of the season Wednesday night, collecting a career-best four hits and driving in two in Atlanta's 10-2 win over the Kansas City Royals. The former Marietta High School standout has struggled since coming off the injured list, hitting only .183 with no homers and eight RBIs in his last 30 games.

Swanson will be a key player going into the playoffs next week, as will Freddie Freeman.

The All-Star first baseman missed the two-game series against Kansas City, but he is expected to be ready to play this weekend. Freeman has been suffering from bone spurs in his elbow, with the ailment causing him to be removed from a couple of games in the last month.

The Mets are led by rookie phenom Pete Alonso. The first baseman is hitting .261 with team-record 51 home runs, and he has also driven in 118. Right fielder Michael Conforto has hit 33 homers and driven in 92, giving New York a pair of big bats in the middle of the lineup. 

After the series concludes the regular season, the Braves will return home to play the NL Central champion in the division series. Heading into Friday's games, the St. Louis Cardinals held a one-game lead over the Brewers. The Cardinals close the season at home against the Chicago Cubs, while Milwaukee is on the road to face the Colorado Rockies. 

PITCHING MATCHUPS

Dallas Keuchel (8-7, 3.59 ERA) will open the series for the Braves, looking to end a personal two-game losing streak. In his last outing, he threw six innings, allowing six hits and two earned runs in a 4-1 loss to the San Francisco Giants.

The Mets are expected to counter with Marcus Stroman (9-13, 3.23). The right-hander was taken out after 4 2/3 innings in his last start, giving up three hits and two runs in the Mets' 6-3 win over the Cincinnati Reds.

Mike Foltynewicz (8-5, 4.46) will try to continue his recent revival Saturday. Foltynewicz was dominant last time out against the Giants, pitching eight shutout innings and allowing only three hits. The Braves have won the last 12 games he has started.

The Mets are scheduled to throw Steven Matz (10-10. 4.37), who is coming off two rough starts in which he has allowed a combined 13 runs and 15 hits over nine innings. In those starts, his ERA jumped from 3.84 to 4.37.

Mike Soroka (13-4, 2.60) will get his final opportunity to impress the Cy Young Award voters Sunday. New York is scheduled to pitch Noah Syndergaard (10-8, 4.30).

ON THE AIR

Friday's and Sunday's games will be on Fox Sports South. Saturday's game will be broadcast on Fox. Friday and Saturday's broadcasts will begin at 7 p.m., with Sunday's at 3 p.m. The games can also be heard on 680 AM The Fan and Rock 100.5 FM.

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