The Washington Nationals and Los Angeles Dodgers have clinched their divisions and the NL Central is more competitive than anyone anticipated, although it looks as if the Chicago Cubs are on their way to their second straight title. The Arizona Diamondbacks clinched the top Wild Card spot with a walk-off win over the Miami Marlins yesterday afternoon, meaning only one team can clinch the last playoff spot.
Colorado Rockies (84-72, Lead 2nd Wild Card by 2 games)
The Rockies had to settle for a split in a four-game series with the San Diego Padres this weekend but thanks to the Cubs, they gained ground in the race for the second Wild Card spot.
The Rockies haven’t reached the playoffs since 2009 and haven’t had a winning season since 2010. A dominant pitching staff full of rookies and an offense led by MVP candidates Nolan Arenado and Charlie Blackmon have helped the team keep pace in the race and secure a winning season. Yes, their division rival Diamondbacks secured the top Wild Card spot, but the Rockies went 5-5 at Chase Field this season. If that turns out to be the wild card matchup, it could be one of the best in the Wild Card era.
The Rockies return home to end the season with matchups against the Marlins and Dodgers. It’s likely Los Angeles won’t play all of their starters a full nine innings at Coors Field this weekend, so the Rockies need to take advantage of a free opportunity if they expect to play in the NL Wild Card Game. It starts with coming out strong against the Marlins this week though and keeping Giancarlo Stanton in the ballpark.
Milwaukee Brewers (82-74, 2 games back in 2nd wild card)
Boy, do the Brewers wish they played the Cubs at Wrigley Field last weekend. The Brewers dropped three out of four games last weekend against the Cubs, making a division title seem out of question with six games left this season.
At Wrigley, the Brewers went 6-3 this season but went 3-7 at Miller Park against the Cubs. Chicago now leads the NL Central by five-and-a-half games and Milwaukee trails Colorado by two games for the second wild card.
They only lead the Cardinals by half a game in the Central, meaning this week’s series against the Reds is a must win series if they want to keep the Cardinals out of the postseason picture.
St. Louis Cardinals (81-74, 2.5 games back of 2nd wild card)
It’s no surprise the Cardinals are in the talks of a possible postseason berth yet again but the road to October won’t be easy. They close out their season with the Cubs and Brewers, the two teams ahead of them in the standings and playoff picture.
They lost the three-game series to Pittsburgh this past weekend, hurting their chances of potentially clinching the second Wild Card spot, but the Brewers didn’t help their cause by losing three out of four to Chicago. So, the Cardinals aren’t out of it either.
Like the Brewers, the Cardinals need the Marlins to be at their best against the Rockies in order to keep the race as close as possible going into the final weekend of the season, when the Cardinals clash with the Brewers and the Rockies clash with the Dodgers.
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