For much of the first half of the season, the NL West looked a decent bet to land two playoff teams. In fact, heading into action on August 6, this was the case, with the Dodgers leading the division while the Giants held onto the second wild card.
Now, well, they've been buried by the NL Central.
With the Cubs surging -- they've now won 21 of their last 25 -- while the Cardinals and Pirates continue to play great baseball, it would appear the writing is on the wall for only one team to come out of the NL West.
Consider this fun fact just for a quick second:
The Diamondbacks are closer to first place in the NL West than the Giants are to the Cubs' second wild card spot. The Padres are equally as close to first as the Giants are to the Cubs. This speaks to the gap in the wild card, sure, but also how much the Dodgers and Giants have let these two mediocre teams hang around.
The Dodgers are 17-17 since the All-Star break. They've only won six of their last 15. Since a six-game winning streak in late July, the Giants are 11-15. The champs have lost 11 of their last 18, and that's with a four-game sweep of the Nationals for a boost in the middle of said stretch.
While I think the D-Backs or Padres taking the West is a lot less likely than an NL West team taking the second wild card -- due to the playoff pedigree of the two NL West titans -- this is a point that illustrates how much this looks like a one-berth division right now.
So if we take that leap of faith, it's not like last year where it was both teams going to October. It's either/or.
On that front, the Dodgers' lead is 2 1/2 games, but the two clubs square off seven more times this season and the Giants own a 9-3 lead in the season series to this point.
How fun is that?
Please feel free to contact me with comments either on Twitter (@MattSnyderCBS) or via email: email@example.com. As always, allow me to remind you that if we disagree about something, one of us is either stupid or biased -- maybe both. It's probably not me, either. Please note that this was posted Wednesday, August 26 and won't be updated until September 2.