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Austin Riley’s comments may have lit a fire under Mets in NL East race

Austin Riley warned the Mets that the Braves were coming for them but New York has seemingly just been motivated by those comments. 

On July 23, Atlanta Braves MVP candidate and All-Star third baseman Austin Riley hit a home run in a winning effort for the club and he issued a warning to the NL East-leading New York Mets. Simply put, Riley said, “We’re coming for them.”

There was every reason to believe that at the time too. New York was middling a bit while Atlanta was making its move up the standings to try and take the division crown again.

However, it appears that what Riley had to say at that moment might’ve been the bulletin-board material that the Mets needed to spark their second half of the regular season.

Braves: Austin Riley’s warning may have just motivated Mets more

As one Reddit user noted after the Mets took both games in a Saturday doubleheader against the Braves, New York has gone 11-2 and built their NL East lead up to 5.5 games over Atlanta since Riley made his declaration.

There is some context to that situation, it should be said. Before dropping three out of four games to New York in their current five-game series that concludes on Sunday, the Braves were playing extremely good baseball in their own right. But at the same time, the Mets also got a massive boost with the returns of their two aces, Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer, over the past month.

And to be sure, the Braves aren’t going anywhere in this race. Yes, the widened gap makes Sunday’s series finale and the looming future matchups this season with New York exponentially more important, but it’s not a race that they’re out of by any stretch.

Having said that, Riley seemingly ignited the Mets to go on their current run, which is probably the exact opposite of what he wanted in that situation.

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