MLB wild-card standings, playoff picture, bracket update: Rockies take over NL West lead over Dodgers
The regular season is winding down, but there's still plenty to sort out, especially in the NL
The 2018 MLB regular season ends Sunday, meaning the postseason is now less than a week away. We pretty much know the AL playoff field, though the wild-card seeding could change. Over in the NL, the Braves are the NL East champs while the Cubs and Brewers have clinched playoff berths, but everything else is still up in the air with just four days of regular season play remaining.
With that in mind, let's update the current postseason picture. Here's the SportsLine Projection System, and here's what the postseason field would look like if the season ended today ...
- AL Wild Card Game: Athletics at Yankees
- ALDS: Wild Card Game winner at Red Sox
- ALDS: Indians at Astros
NL East champ: Braves (89-69)
- Games remaining: 1 at NYM, 3 at PHI
- SportsLine's pennant odds: 13.22 percent
- SportsLine's World Series odds: 4.06 percent
The loss with two NL Central wins Wednesday night hurt the Braves' chances pretty hard for the top NL seed. It's still possible, but they'd need a series of unlikely events in order to grab it. Instead, they'll be squaring off with the NL West champion in the NLDS. The remaining games will determine who gets home-field advantage.
NL Central leader: Cubs (92-66)
- Games remaining: 1 vs. PIT, 3 vs. STL
- SportsLine's pennant odds: 19.19 percent
- SportsLine's World Series odds: 7.95 percent
The Cubs have either led or been tied for first place since July 12. They've outright had the best record in the National League since Aug. 1, and yet, they are facing a very real possibility of having to play in the Wild Card Game with the Brewers just a half game back in the division. Given that the Brewers only have to face what's left of the Tigers, the Cubs' road is much tougher here. Still, the Cubs play twice before the Brewers play again and two wins would shave the magic number to two. It's in their hands if they take care of business.
NL West leader: Rockies (88-70)
- Games remaining: 1 vs. PHI, 3 vs. WAS
- SportsLine's pennant odds: 14.13 percent
- SportsLine's World Series odds: 5.09 percent
The Rockies have won six straight and have outscored the Phillies 34-4 so far in their first three games of this four-game series. In turn, the Rockies have taken back first place in the West. It's only a half-game lead, but it's good enough to see a magic number of four for their first-ever division title. The Rockies can't look at this, but we can: They are also just one game back of the Braves for home-field advantage in the NLDS. Things are incredibly fun out West.
NL wild card leader: Brewers (92-67)
- Games remaining: 3 vs. DET
- SportsLine's pennant odds: 13.46 percent
- SportsLine's World Series odds: 4.58 percent
The Brewers might hold a wild-card spot, but they are in an amazing position to be able to take the top NL seed. They await three games against a terrible opponent while the Cubs have to deal with the Cardinals (though those same Cardinals didn't really put up a fight against the Brewers these past three games). For Thursday, the Brewers can savor clinching a playoff spot while hoping to see the Cubs lose to the Pirates, which would tie things up in the Central.
NL wild card runner-up: Dodgers (87-71)
- Games remaining: 3 at SF
- SportsLine's pennant odds: 36.54 percent
- SportsLine's World Series odds: 22.35 percent
Boy, these computers really love them some Dodgers. Despite being the second NL wild card and the team with the worst record among those in playoff position, the Dodgers have the best World Series championship odds. In reality, it's not an easy road. The Dodgers just lost two straight to a previously dead Diamondbacks team and now face their rival Giants for three on the road to close. The Giants aren't good -- they are terrible right now, in fact -- but they'd love nothing more than to eliminate the Dodgers. The Giants lead the season series 9-7, for whatever it's worth.
In the short term, the Dodgers are off Thursday, so they'll be watching the Rockies in hopes that the Phillies actually show a pulse and help them tie things up in the NL West.
Teams on the outside looking in
- Cardinals (87-72, 28.9 percent postseason odds per SportsLine)
The Cardinals could use the Heimlich maneuver after getting swept in three games at home by the Brewers. It's caused the Cardinals to lose their hold on the second NL wild card and now they need to deal with the Cubs -- who desperately need to win all three games in order to hold the Central -- for three games in Wrigley Field. The Cardinals are just one game behind the Dodgers and 1 1/2 behind the Rockies, but they clearly face the biggest uphill battle here among the three still-alive teams that haven't yet clinched a playoff berth.
AL East champ: Red Sox (107-52)
- SportsLine's pennant odds: 31.81 percent
- SportsLine's World Series odds: 18.99 percent
The Red Sox have already wrapped up the AL East and home-field advantage throughout the postseason. They've also already set the franchise record for wins in a season, so they're focused on staying healthy and freshening up as the postseason looms.
AL Central champ: Indians (89-69)
- SportsLine's pennant odds: 22.98 percent
- SportsLine's World Series odds: 11.66 percent
The Indians are AL Central champs for a third straight year, and they're also locked in as the road team in their ALDS matchup against the reigning-champion Astros. One more win means they'll reach 90 victories for a third consecutive season.
AL West champ: Astros (100-58)
- SportsLine's pennant odds: 26.44 percent
- SportsLine's World Series odds: 14.11 percent
The Astros on Tuesday night wrapped up the AL West for a second straight season (thus giving a huge boost to their pennant and World Series percentages), and they also got to 100 wins. They're the second seed in the AL, which means a matchup with the dangerous Indians in the ALDS.
AL wild card leader: Yankees (97-61)
- Games remaining: 1 at TB, 3 at BOS
- SportsLine's pennant odds: 13.34 percent
- SportsLine's World Series odds: 7.73 percent
The Yankees have punched their ticket to the postseason, but they haven't yet clinched home-field advantage in the AL Wild Card Game. They lead the A's on that front by 1 1/2 games. They hold the tiebreaker over the A's thanks to intradivision record, but the remaining schedule -- Rays and Red Sox -- is pretty tough. This race isn't over.
AL wild card runner-up: Athletics (96-63)
- Games remaining: 3 at LAA
- SportsLine's pennant odds: 5.43 percent
- SportsLine's World Series odds: 2.29 percent
As noted above, the A's are still alive in the race for the top AL wild-card spot, but they trail by 1 1/2 games with less than a handful to go. The Yankees have the tougher remaining schedule, so it's still possible. Likely, though, they'll be headed to the Bronx for the AL Wild Card Game.
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