By: Ross Sutton
There are only a few days left in the MLB regular season, so only a few teams are left that have a chance to punch their ticket to October. The only thing up for grabs in the American League is who gets to play at home in the Wild Card game, the A’s or the Yankees. Other than that, it is pretty cut and dry, the Indians are going to play the Astros, and the Red Sox will play the A’s/Yankees. The most interesting storyline left in the majors is the NL playoff race. The five teams that are in this discussion are the Cubs, Brewers, Dodgers, Rockies, and Cardinals.
Unfortunately for the Cubs or Brewers, the team that plays in the Wild Card game will very likely have the second best record in the National League, but will still be forced to play in a one-game playoff to make it to the NLDS. Fortunately though, with only three or four games left in the regular season, the NL Central team that plays in the Wild Card game will be playing that game at home. The Cubs only have a half game lead over the Brewers right now, so the division is still very much up in the air. The Cubs have one game left in their series against Pittsburgh and then three games against St. Louis in Chicago. The Cardinals will be fighting tooth and nail for that second Wild Card spot, so this series will not be easy for the Cubs. The Brewers on the other hand, will play their final three games of the regular season against the Tigers, who are currently 64-94 this season, so the Brew Crew has a great opportunity to sweep the series and put themselves in a good spot to win the NL Central.
Now for the NL West race, which now only features the Rockies and Dodgers due to the Diamondbacks late season collapse. The Rockies currently lead the Dodgers by a half a game in the NL West. The Dodgers will play their final three games of the season in San Francisco against the Giants while the Rockies will finish their home series against the Phillies tonight and then stay at home to face the Nationals in a three-game series. The Rockies and Dodgers should be able to take two of three from either of these teams, but the Nationals are an above .500 team and the Giants are sure to try their best to spoil the playoff hopes of their division rival Dodgers. This means that anything could happen in these series, so it is tough to predict who will finish on top of the NL West.
NL Wild Card:
As I said earlier, the Cardinals have a three-game series in Chicago against the Cubs to end their regular season, and with the Cubs fighting for the NL Central crown, it is sure to be a hard-fought series by both teams. The Cardinals also face the reality of being a game behind the Dodgers for the second Wild Card spot, so they will probably need to sweep the Cubs in order to play for a chance at the NLDS. Coincidentally, if the Cardinals were to sweep the Cubs and sneak into the playoffs, then the Brewers would likely win the NL Central. This means that the Cardinals would then play the Wild Card game against the Cubs, who they play in their final series of the regular season. There is clearly a lot left to be settled in the National League, so these final few days will be must-watch television for MLB fans.
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