The 10 storylines that will shape the rest of this MLB season

AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh

Back in March, it looked like one of the most important series of the season would be the Atlanta Braves at the New York Mets in the dog days of August, battling for the National League East title, a jam-packed Citi Field hoping to see Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander shut down the powerful Atlanta lineup.

Well, one of those things is true: The Braves' lineup is definitely powerful. With 217 home runs through their first 113 games, the Braves are on pace for 311 home runs, which would break the 2019 Twins' major league record of 307.

Scherzer and Verlander, on the other hand, will not be in attendance when Atlanta travels to New York for a four-game series this weekend. The flailing Mets traded their Hall of Fame veteran pitchers ahead of the trade deadline after watching their season -- and World Series aspirations -- slip away.

Even though the Braves are running away with the NL East and the Mets are a whopping 20½ games back, both are still fascinating teams to watch down the stretch. How many home runs will Atlanta hit? What does the rest of the season hold for New York and its record-breaking $364 million payroll?

Here are a few things to watch as we head into the final third of the season.