Posted by New Law Era
It’s that time of year. August is winding down. The time for contending teams to get themselves into gear and make that final push has come.
In the National League, the playoff picture looks to be both very intriguing and nail biting. Let’s take a look at the division races so far.
In the West, barring some crazy 2007-2008 Mets-like collapse, the NL best Padres seem to be the most comfortable of all the NL division leaders in terms of winning the division. The Giants are six games back of the Friars so it looks like the wild card will be San Francisco’s only chance at a playoff birth. The two teams do have a four game series against each other next month, so depending on how things play out, that series could drastically change the playoff picture out west. The most likely outcome though is that the Pads wrap up this division. My what a surprise team they have been.
In the East, despite some critical injuries to some of its star players (Chase Utley, Ryan Howard), the resurgent Phillies have really impressed in the second half of the season and are only two-and-a-half games back of the Atlanta Braves. Unlike the other two division races, the Phillies and Braves actually have two more series against each other. If, for the most part, things stay as they are, both series are certain to determine the ultimate outcome of the NL East and possibly the Wild Card. The series finale between these two teams is in fact the final games that these two teams will play for the regular season. This is by far the most cut-throat and exciting division race in the NL
As for the Wild Card, tonight is a must win series for St. Louis against the Pirates. The Cardinals are tied with the Giants at one-and-a-half games back of the Phillies. Unfortunately for the Cardinals, the Giants and the Reds square off against one another in a series that begins this evening, so Cardinal nation is most certainly torn on who it wants to win or lose. The Cardinals are only three-and-a-half games out against the Reds, so it is possible for the Cardinals to catch up if they continue to win and the Reds continue to lose. The Phillies, on the other hand, are well within reaching distance of winning the NL East, so it can be assumed that they are in the most enviable position as far as Wild Card contenders are concerned. With the Giants six games out against the Padres, we can assume the San Francisco has its eyes set on the Wild Card as its only ticket to the playoffs.
So what say you, readers? How do you think the races are going to play out? Can the Braves hold onto the East, or will the Phillies dethrone them and reach the playoffs again for the fourth consecutive season? Will the Reds become the first NL Central champion not from St. Louis or Chicago in over a decade, or can Albert Pujols and Matt Holliday carry the Cardinals to another NL Central title? What about out West? Will the surprise Padres be able to hold onto the division lead and make the playoffs for the first time since 2006, or can the Giants surprisingly dethrone the Friars and reach the postseason for the first time in the post-Barry Bonds era?
And what about the NL Wild Card? Discuss away, boys and girls. I don’t think we’ve seen a playoff race this cut-throat and this exciting in quite a long time.