MLB Playoff Picture: Get ready for a dramatic finish in the National League postseason race
With just three days left, the NL Central, NL West and NL wild card races are unsettled
Just three days remain in the 2018 Major League Baseball regular season. Lots of races are sewn up, but there's plenty of drama here this coming weekend. Let's take a look.
(World Series probabilities are via SportsLine)
Current playoff bracket
The Red Sox (107-52, 17.93% World Series champs) are the AL East champs and top seed. The Astros (100-58, 13.15%) are the AL West champs and No. 2 seed. The Indians (89-70, 12.54%) are the AL Central champs and No. 3 in the AL. The Yankees (98-61, 8.79%) and Athletics (96-63, 2.37%) are the two AL wild cards.
What's almost done
With just three games to play, the Yankees hold a two-game lead over the A's for the first wild card, so it's overwhelmingly likely that the game will be played in Yankee Stadium. The A's visit the Angels for three games while the Yankees are at the Red Sox (who, again, don't have anything to play for).
Everything else! We'll go by team:
The Cubs (93-66, 9.43%) are clinging to a one-game lead over the Brewers in the NL Central, which will provide the top NL seed. The Cubs host the Cardinals for a three-game series to end the season. It might seem like the Cubs have "choked" away a big lead, but they have won nine of their last 14 games and sit at 93-66. They haven't clinched this because ...
The Brewers (92-67, 4.94%) have been amazing since a mid-August funk. Since Aug. 18, they are 24-10, which is easily the best mark in the NL in that span. They come home with a four-game winning streak to face a hapless Tigers team. If the Brewers can't pass the Cubs, they'll be the top wild card.
The Rockies (89-70, 4.43%) have won seven games in a row to seize control of the NL West from the Dodgers. Much like in the Central, this is a one-game lead with three to go, so nothing can be clinched earlier than Saturday. The Rockies host the Nationals for a three-game series this weekend.
The Dodgers (88-71, 21.80%) are currently in the second NL wild card slot, holding a one-game lead over the Cardinals. More importantly in that clubhouse, though, is finding a way to come back from the one-game deficit and win the NL West for the sixth straight season. Standing in the way? A three-game series in San Francisco against the hated Giants, who would love nothing more than to prevent the Dodgers from even making the playoffs. If they don't ...
It'll be the Cardinals (87-72, 0.78%). The Cards were just swept at home by the Brewers and are now on the outside looking in. They are one back with three to play and it's a tall order. They face the Cubs in Wrigley Field and the Cubs need to lock down the Central. It'll be a playoff atmosphere for at least two days and likely all three.
We know on the NL side that the Central champion will be the top seed and host the wild card winner. We know the Braves will play the NL West champion, but we don't know which division champ there will have home-field advantage. Only three games remain, but we have lots of options as to how this shakes out. It's all kinds of fun and, for fans of teams involved, nerve-wracking. It's what you sign up for as a fan.
In fact, for the teams in the "In Play" section here, it's basically already the playoffs. Expect the managers to treat the games as such in terms of personnel (bullpen, pinch hitters, pinch runners, etc.) management.
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