Playoff Snapshot: Crazy NL wild-card race getting crazier

By Matt Snyder | Baseball Writer

The NL wild-card race is getting awesome. Here's a look at that and more.

Playoff Picture page | Saturday scoreboard | Three-day schedule

Saturday's top five games.

1. Brewers at Nationals, 1:05 p.m. ET

The Brewers have won 24 of their last 30. Before that happened, they were 12 1/2 games out of the second wild-card spot. They are now just 1 1/2 out. Thus, this is the biggest story in baseball.

2. Cardinals at Cubs, 1:05 p.m. ET

The Cardinals had Friday afternoon's game in hand, but a Darwin Barney two-run homer tied it in the bottom of the ninth with two outs and the Cubs went on to win in extra innings. The Cardinals then watched the Brewers win and trim their lead to 1 1/2 games. So Saturday's game takes on even more importance.

3. Dodgers at Reds, 4:05 p.m. ET

A Reds victory clinches the NL Central for Cincinnati, while a Dodgers win keeps them right in the thick of the NL wild-card race as they enter Saturday just two games out.

4. Braves at Phillies, 4:05 p.m. ET

Here we go again. The Phillies faltered last weekend in losing three of four to the lowly Astros, but they've now won four in a row and are just three games out of the wild-card spot.

5. Twins at Tigers, 4:05 p.m. ET; White Sox at Angels, 9:05 p.m. ET

The White Sox hold a 1 1/2-game lead over the Tigers in the AL Central, so these games are obviously huge.

Magic Numbers

NL Central: Reds, 1
NL West: Giants, 2
NL WC1: Braves, 5
NL East: Nationals, 7
AL WC1: Orioles, 8
AL WC2: Athletics, 9
AL West: Rangers, 9
NL WC2: Cardinals, 11
AL Central: White Sox, 12
AL East: Yankees, 12

Grim reaper watch

The Royals will be mathematically eliminated on Saturday with either a loss or a White Sox win. The next closest elimination number is four, which belongs to the Padres in the NL wild-card race.

The following teams have been mathematically eliminated from any playoff spot: Astros, Cubs, Rockies, Indians, Twins, Red Sox, Blue Jays, Mariners, Marlins and Mets.

Playoff chances, via coolstandings.com

AL East champion

Yankees 77.5%
Orioles 22.4%
Rays 0.1%

AL Central champion

White Sox 68.5
Tigers 31.5%

AL West champion

Rangers 88.1%
Athletics 11.8%
Angels 0.1%

AL wild card

Orioles 77.1%
Athletics 75.1%
Yankees 21.8%
Angels 12.3%
Rangers 11.6%
Rays 7%
Tigers 0.7%
White Sox 0.5%

NL East champion

Nationals 98.3%
Braves 1.7%

NL Central champion

Reds 100%

NL West champion

Giants 99.9%
Dodgers 0.1%

NL wild card

Braves 98.3%
Cardinals 56.6%
Brewers 28.9%
Dodgers 9.6%
Phillies 2.7%
Diamondbacks 2.2%
Nationals 1.7%
Pirates 0.1%

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