If you are a true baseball fan, then this season is like manna heaven. Not only is there more than one exciting drama-filled race, but no less than four of the six divisions have very intense competitions raging. Today we review the National League playoff races.
Even individual races, like
the Cy Young and MVP, are changing favorites almost on a daily basis. For instance, it was once a near certainty that Andrew McCutchen would win the National League MVP award. Now, it has probably turned into a three-man race McCutchen, Buster Posey and Ryan
Both Posey and Braun are on teams surging big-time up the standings, and both have played a large part in
their respective teams' success. Unfortunately for McCutchen, he can’t win games all by himself, and the lack of depth on the Pirates roster is glaring right now.
The Phillies are playing as a complete team right now with any player on the
roster capable of becoming the star on a given day.
National League Update
Mathematically speaking, Pittsburgh,
Philly and Milwaukee all have slim chances of getting the second wild
card berth. The Atlanta Braves have just about sewn up the first wild card.
Yet, we all remember how the Phillies swept them in Philadelphia on the last
weekend of the season, thus allowing the Cardinals to
gain entry to the playoffs. Naturally, the Cardinals did not show Philadelphia any respect
or gratitude at all, eliminating the Phillies en route to a World Series championship.
Angeles has by far the most difficult path to the playoffs, but may have the
best roster among wild card contenders. They have 18 games left, with nine each
home and away. The average win percentage of the upcoming opponents is .534.
They are chasing down the Giants, who lead the NL West and have a
solid 7 1/2 game lead entering Friday action. The Giants remaining 19 games are split as follows: 10 home and 9 away, with the opponents winning percentage averaging just .478. So, it is a near certainly that the
Giants will make it into the playoffs and win the NL West.
The Dodgers are playing the
second of a four-game set against the Cardinals Friday. They lost 2-1 Thursday
and desperately need to win at least two of the next three games against the
Cardinals to earn a split in the series. Thereafter the road gets even tougher as they play a three-game set at Washington followed by a three-game set at Cincinnati,
and then the final three road games at San Diego. They conclude the season
with a three game set hosting the San Francisco Giants, which theoretically
could be for the division crown and/or a wild card berth.
The hottest team in the NL right
now is the Phillies, who have have won eight of ten games. They had a seven
game winning streak snapped by the league’s worst team in Houston Thursday. They
will play Houston three more times and they will be glad when they leave as
they have not done well, getting swept there four times since Minute Maid
Park opened and are just 17-24 overall. The Phillies have only played worse at
AT&T Park in San Francisco and NC Park in Pittsburgh. Houston moves to the
American League next season.
The Phillies then travel to New York to play a three-game set against the Mets. After this
series, they will play the Nationals in six of the remaining nine games with
three at home, September 25-27, and then at Washington October 1-3. Sandwiched
between these games is a three-game set at Miami.
So, the most optimistic record
for the Phillies would be to post a 14-4 mark over the remaining 18 games. This
would put them at 86-76 for the season, and I think 87 wins will be the number
to get the second wild card berth.
This will conclude this installment for the Wild
Card race, but please check in each day for a continued updates in the American
and National League races.